Title of Work
Returns to Higher Education for American Indian and Alaska Native Students
Policies aimed at increasing higher education attainment are central to efforts to eliminate racial gaps in earnings, employment, and labor force participation. We use data from the American Community Survey spanning 2008–2016 to investigate the increases in these labor market outcomes associated with obtaining a bachelor's degree—what economists term “returns to higher education”—by racial groups with particular attention to the returns realized by American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIs/ANs). We find that AI/AN college graduates reap larger returns in terms of labor force participation and employment but experience smaller gains in earnings than otherwise similar White college graduates. These results suggest that policies promoting higher education are necessary but not sufficient to address White-AI/AN labor market disparities.
Keo, Caitlyn; West, Kristine; and Peterson, Amy, "Returns to Higher Education for American Indian and Alaska Native Students" (2019). Economics & Political Science Faculty Scholarship. 119.