Study Finds That Women Who Attend Highly Selective Colleges Are Less Likely to Marry

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that women who attend highly selective colleges and universities are more likely than their peers to have higher incomes. But they are less likely than their peers who attended less selective educational institutions to get married.

The study looked at women who entered college in 1976. The authors found that attending a  highly selective college increased women’s average pay by 13.9 percent compared to women who graduated from a less selective school. The researchers also found that attending a selective school increased the likelihood that women would go on to earn a graduate degree.

The study also found that women who graduated from a selective college were nearly four percentage points less likely to have been married by the time they reached their late 30s than women who attended less selective schools.

The authors state that “these results argue against applying a causal interpretation to the popular descriptions of women with elite educations ‘opting out’ of the paid labor force to devote more time to their families.”

The full study, “Elite Schools and Opting-In: Effects of College Selectivity on Career and Family Outcomes,” may be accessed here. Two of three authors of the study are women: Suqin Ge, an associate professor of economics at Virginia Tech and Amalia Miller, a professor of economics at the University of Virginia.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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