Returns to Education

Comparable estimates of returns to schooling around the world

Montenegro, Claudio E. & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2014. “Comparable estimates of returns to schooling around the world,” Policy Research Working Paper Series 7020, The World Bank.

Rates of return to investments in schooling have been estimated since the late 1950s. In the 60-plus year history of such estimates, there have been several attempts to synthesize the empirical results to ascertain patterns. This paper presents comparable estimates, as well as a database, that use the same specification, estimation procedure, and similar data for 139 economies and 819 harmonized household surveys. This effort to compile comparable estimates holds constant the definition of the dependent variable, the set of control variables, the sample definition, and the estimation method for all surveys in the sample. The results of this study show that (1) the returns to schooling are more concentrated around their respective means than previously thought; (2) the basic Mincerian model used is more stable than may have been expected; (3) the returns to schooling are higher for women than for men; (4) returns to schooling and labor market experience are strongly and positively associated; (5) there is a decreasing pattern over time; and (6) the returns to tertiary education are highest.

Returns to investment in education: a further update

Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. “Returns to investment in education : a further update,” Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.

George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. “Returns to investment in education: a further update,” Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.

Returns to investment in education based on human capital theory have been estimated since the late 1950s. In the 40-plus year history of estimates of returns to investment in education, there have been several reviews of the empirical results in attempts to establish patterns. Many more estimates from a wide variety of countries, including over time evidence, and estimates based on new econometric techniques, reaffirm the importance of human capital theory. The authors review and present the latest estimates and patterns as found in the literature at the turn of the century. However, because the availability of rate of return estimates has grown exponentially, the authors include a new section on the need for selectivity in comparing returns to investment in education and establishing related patterns.

Rates of Return to Education in Greece: a discussion of results and policy implications, by Harvey Leibenstein, 1967, Harvard University, Center for International Affairs, Development Advisory Service.

 

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