Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Race, Class, Gender, and the Happiness of College Students

Owen, Ann L. and Handley-Miner, Isaac (2015): Race, Class, Gender, and the Happiness of College Students.


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Using data from students at 25 selective colleges from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshman (NLSF), we estimate regressions with college-specific random effects and find that males, white students, those who have at least one parent who completed college, and those with higher family incomes relative to others at their college report higher levels of emotional well-being and life evaluation. We also investigate college characteristics that are correlated with student happiness and find that students report higher levels of happiness at schools that are more racially homogeneous, have lower tuition, and fewer students that have financial need. We show that fraternity dominance reduces the negative impact of greater racial diversity on student happiness, possibly because fraternities allow students to reduce the incidence of cross-racial interactions.

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