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(Mis)Information and the Value of College Names

Hundreds of colleges have changed their names to signal higher quality. We estimate how this affects college choice and the labor market performance of college graduates. Administrative data show that name-changing colleges enroll higher-aptitude students, with larger effects for attractive-but-misleading name changes and among students with less information. A resume audit study shows that employer callbacks respond to the increased aptitude of recruited students at these colleges. We broaden these results using scraped online text data, survey data, and other administrative data. Our study demonstrates that signals designed to change beliefs can have real, lasting impacts on market outcomes.

Education; information; college choice; labor market returns; behavioral economics
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EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Eble, Alex, and Feng Hu. (). (Mis)Information and the Value of College Names. (EdWorkingPaper: 20-329). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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