Examining the Earnings Trajectories of Community College Students Using a Piecewise Growth Curve Modeling Approach
Policymakers have become increasingly concerned with measuring--and holding colleges accountable for--students’ labor market outcomes. In this paper we introduce a piecewise growth approach to analyzing community college students’ labor market outcomes, and we discuss how this approach differs from Mincerian and fixed-effects approaches. Our results suggest that three assumptions underpinning traditional approaches may not be well founded. We then highlight how insights gained from the growth curve approach can be used to strengthen evolving econometric analyses of labor market returns, as well as to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the relatively simple models required by policymakers and practitioners.
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