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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mapping your Future: Do College Locations Impact Future Earnings and Job Placement?


This paper analyzes the effects of urbanization on college graduates’ future earnings and job placement rates. I hypothesize that students attending institutions in urban areas benefit from local knowledge spillovers through greater exposure to human capital and R&D at nearby firms, which translates to higher future earnings and job placement rates. Using data from the 2016/2017 Baccalaureate and Beyond data set (National Center for Education Statistics), I employ three regression models to investigate the relationship between urbanization and annualized salaries, employment, and employment requiring a bachelor's degree. I find that urbanization does not have a significant effect on earnings or job placement. Due to limitations in my model design and data, this study warrants further research. Examining state and county characteristics (e.g., percentage of college graduates in the labor force, average incomes) will help account for the variation of human capital among urban areas and will likely affect future results.

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