The heterogeneous impact of college education on happiness by gender

Haeil Jung, Jung ah Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examines the heterogeneous impacts of college education on happiness by gender. Methods: To yield unbiased impact estimates, we take advantage of a natural experiment known as the graduation quota program, which suddenly and massively expanded the opportunities to attend college in the early 1980s in South Korea. Using whether the birth cohorts were exposed to the graduation quota program as an instrumental variable (IV), this study estimates the longer-term effects of college education on happiness by gender. Results: The estimated local average treatment effect by the IV analysis indicates that men who were induced to attend college by the graduation quota program became happier. However, there was no noticeable impact on women's happiness. Conclusions: Considering that the subjective happiness in our study was measured in their late 30s and 40s, the impact of college on happiness seems to be long-lasting for men but not for women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-326
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the Southwestern Social Science Association.


  • college education
  • gender
  • graduation quota program
  • happiness
  • natural experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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