Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Mathematics BS


Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Edward Sayre, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs


What are the economic returns to attending a more selective college? This thesis adds to the growing literature on college choices and economic returns by analyzing the effects of graduate school ranking on the annual earnings of economics professors in the United States. In order to answer this question, the author collected an original data set using publicly available salary information from a number of US-based institutions. The data in this paper uses McPherson’s ranking of US Economics Departments, h-index, and other factors collected from the individuals’ CVs to estimate the economic returns. The results from Ordinary Least Squares regression analysis and simultaneous equation modeling indicate that graduate school rankings affect their earnings in conjunction with the current institutions; the higher-ranked the graduate school they attended, the higher their income. Additionally, regardless of their graduate school or current institution, a professor’s research output (as measured by the h-index) is also a significant determinant of their economic returns, which shows that higher productivity is associated with better pay.

Included in

Econometrics Commons