The Effect of College Networks on Immigrant and Minority Labor Market Outcomes

Dylan Conger , The George Washington University
Lesley J. Turner, University of Maryland
Colin Chellman, City University of New York (CUNY)

We examine the effect of same-race/same-nativity networks on the annual earnings and employment of college students using data from multiple cohorts of students entering New York City’s public university system merged with state unemployment insurance records. We identify network effects from small changes in same-race/same-nativity shares across cohorts within college-majors. We find substantial earnings and employment benefits for white native-born, black native-born, and black immigrants who enroll in cohorts with larger shares of same group peers. Among Hispanic immigrants, the effects of same-group peers on earnings are negative in the years immediately after college entry, while the effects on employment are large and positive, suggesting that Hispanic immigrant cohortmates refer one another to low-paying jobs. Among Hispanic native-born, network effects on earnings are small and close to zero but network effects on employment are largely negative. These results highlight substantial heterogeneity in network effects that may partially explain earnings gaps.

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 Presented in Session 92. School Diversity and Student Outcomes