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The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain

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  • Dearden, Lorraine, et al

Abstract

This paper uses data from the 1991 sweep of the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the 1998 Labour Force Survey (LFS) to provide a comprehensive analysis of the labour market returns to academic and vocational qualifications. The results show that the wage premia from academic qualifications are typically higher than from vocational qualifications. However, this gap is reduced somewhat, when we control for the amount of time taken to acquire different qualifications. This is particularly important for vocational courses, which generally take shorter time periods to complete. In the paper we also investigate how returns vary by gender, subsequent qualifications, and the natural ability of individuals. Finally, by comparing the NCDS results with those from the LFS, we estimate the bias that can result from not controlling for factors such as ability, family background and measurement error. The results reveal that the estimated returns in the NCDS equations controlling for ability, family background and measurement error are similar to the simple OLS estimates obtained with the LFS, which do not control for these factors. This suggests that the biases generally offset one another. Copyright 2002 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the Board of Trustees of the Bulletin of Economic Research

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Bulletin of Economic Research.

Volume (Year): 54 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 249-74

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Handle: RePEc:bla:buecrs:v:54:y:2002:i:3:p:249-74

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References

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  1. Stewart, Mark B, 1982. "On Least Squares Estimation when the Dependent Variable is Grouped," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 207, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Lorraine Dearden, 1999. "Qualifications and earnings in Britain: how reliable are conventional OLS estimates of the returns to education?," IFS Working Papers W99/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Paul Bennell, 1996. "General versus vocational secondary education in developing countries: A review of the rates of return evidence," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 230-247.
  4. Peter Robinson, 1997. "The Myth of Parity of Esteem: Earnings and Qualifications," CEP Discussion Papers dp0354, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Neuman, Shoshana & Ziderman, Adrian, 1991. "Vocational schooling, occupational matching, and labor market earnings in Israel," Policy Research Working Paper Series 683, The World Bank.
  6. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  7. George Psacharopoulos, 1985. "Returns to Education: A Further International Update and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 583-604.
  8. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  9. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  10. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  11. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  12. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
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