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This paper presents new evidence that increases in college enrollment lead to a decline in the average quality of college graduates between 1960 and 2000, resulting in a decrease of 6 percentage points in the college premium. A standard demand and supply framework can qualitatively
account for the trend in the college and age premia over this period, but substantial quantitative adjustments are needed to account for changes in quality.
The American Economic Review is a general-interest economics journal. The journal is published quarterly and contains articles on a broad range of topics. Established in 1911, the AER is among the nation's oldest and most respected scholarly journals in the economics profession.