College & Workforce Readiness Opinion

The Demographic Bulge and BA Attainment

By Eduwonkette — January 15, 2008 1 min read
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On Sunday, the NYT wrote about admissions anxiety stemming from a larger than average senior class in Connecticut. It turns out this isn’t just another case of helicopter parent mania - economists John Bound and Sarah Turner analyzed 50 years of data and found that the size of the cohort in a state actually does affect the percentage of students getting a BA (Paper here). After ruling out competing explanations for this outcome – for example, that larger cohorts are less prepared for college – Bound and Turner concluded that a 10% increase in the size of the college cohort within a state leads to a 4% decrease in the college completion rate within that state.

If there’s a lesson here, perhaps it is that luck, and states’ failure to fully adjust for these bulges, matter.

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