Advancement to Candidacy Presentation: “Modeling Returns to Education for High School and College Graduates”, Emma Joergensen

Date and Time


Emma Joergensen, PhD Student, UC Santa Barbara


Emma is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include macroeconomics, labor, and decentralized finance (DeFi). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Mathematics, and a Master of Arts in Economics, both from UCSB.


I study the impact of education on earnings to examine the hypothesis that people miscalculate the effect of education on earnings by failing to consider factors such as the actual fraction of their lives they spend unemployed. I create a simple search model to examine the returns to education for college versus high school graduates. I find that college graduates have higher reservation wages and a higher value function, implying higher expected utility and welfare for an individual with a college degree. I use this to pinpoint the mass of people who would have benefited from attending college but chose not to. This suggests policy should be aimed at encouraging this group to attend college.

JEL Codes: I260, J31

Event Details

Emma will be presenting her Advancement to Candidacy paper, “Modeling Returns to Education for High School and College Graduates”. To access the Advancement paper, you must have an active UCSB NetID and password.

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