Sociology

Amanda Mireles

Amanda Mireles
The Constraints of Progress: Examining Women’s Educational Advantage and Its Unintended Consequences
2018 Dissertation Fellowship

Amanda's project asks whether women's gains in earning college degrees leads to a devaluing of a college degree, such that college degrees become increasingly less important for securing high paying jobs. If so, women's gains in education might lead to unintended disadvantages in the labor market. Past research has found that occupations with higher proportions of women have lower average wages for both women and men. Does a similar process occur when women earn a higher proportion of college degrees? More specifically, this project seeks to improve our understanding of how the gender composition of colleges and universities may impact the value Americans assign to the four-year college degree. By examining the relationship between college degrees earned by men and women and the value of the college degree, the project will enhance our understanding of the complex and unintended ways in which social progress can lead to social disadvantage. 

Understanding Changing Perceptions of College Value
2018–19 Survey Lab Project

In the United States, women have made significant gains in education over a time period in which men’s educational gains have stagnated. These trends have contributed to the decline and subsequent reversal of the longstanding gender gap in education. Due to a combination of factors, as early as the 1980s women began to earn more bachelor’s degrees than men, a trend that has continued to the present. In 1960, roughly 15 percent of men ages twenty-six to twenty-eight had earned bachelor’s degrees compared to only 8 percent of women. By 2010, women had surpassed men’s college completion rate by over eight percentage points. In this follow-up project, I examine the mechanisms behind perceptions of the changing value of the college degree in the labor market.

Perceptions of College Value in an Era of Growing Female Advantage
2016–17 Survey Lab Project

In the United States, women have made significant gains in education over a time period in which men’s educational gains have stagnated. These trends have contributed to the decline and subsequent reversal of the longstanding gender gap in education. Due to a combination of factors, as early as the 1980s women began to earn more bachelor’s degrees than men, a trend that has continued to the present. In 1960, roughly 15 percent of men ages twenty-six to twenty-eight had earned bachelor’s degrees compared to only 8 percent of women. By 2010, women had surpassed men’s college completion rate by over eight percentage points. In this project, I examine the ways in which women’s college completion rates in the United States influence public perception of college value and how it is associated with labor market consequences. This original survey experiment will enhance our understanding of our gender progress can become an unintended disadvantage in the labor market. Moreover, the project will be valuable research evidence for policymakers aimed at understanding and addressing persistent inequality between women and men.

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