Publication Date

January 2004


This paper examines the impact of college quality and academic major on the earnings of a nationally representative sample of baccalaureate recipients. We extend previous work in this area by analyzing the magnitude of change in the influence of these factors at two points in the early career of these graduates. Our results demonstrate that, despite significant variation, graduates from higher quality colleges enjoy a greater rate of growth in earnings during their early career. We also show that growth in earnings varies significantly by the graduates’ major field of study. Wage growth for women and racial minorities is also examined.


Suggested Citation
Thomas, S. L. & Zhang, L. (2004). Post-baccalaureate wage growth within four years of graduation: The effects of college quality and college major (CHERI Working Paper #62). Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
Published by the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Cornell University.