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Reconciling the Returns to Education in Off-Farm Wage Employment in Rural China

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  • Alan de Brauw
  • Scott Rozelle

Abstract

Previous studies have found that the returns to education in rural China are far lower than estimates for other developing economies. In this paper, we seek to determine why previous estimates are so low and provide estimates of what we believe are more accurate measures of the returns. Whereas estimates for the early 1990s average 2.3 percent, we find an average return of 6.4 percent. Furthermore, we find even higher returns among younger people, migrants, and for post-primary education. The paper demonstrates that, although part of the difference between our estimate and previous estimates can be attributed to increasing returns during the 1990s, a larger part of the difference is due to the nature of the data and the methodological approaches used by other authors. Copyright � 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation � 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 57-71

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:12:y:2008:i:1:p:57-71

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  1. Jian Zhang & Linxiu Zhang & Scott Rozelle & Steve Boucher, 2006. "Self-Employment With Chinese Characteristics: The Forgotten Engine Of Rural China'S Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 446-458, 07.
  2. Yang, Dennis Tao, 1997. "Education and Off-Farm Work," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 613-32, April.
  3. meng, xin, 1994. "An examination of wage determination in China’s rural industrial sector," MPRA Paper 1344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Samuel P.S. Ho & Xiao-Yuan Dong & Paul Bowles & Fiona MacPhail, 2002. "Privatization and enterprise wage structures during transition: Evidence from rural industry in china," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 10(3), pages 659-688, November.
  5. Yang, Dennis Tao & An, Mark Yuying, 2002. "Human capital, entrepreneurship, and farm household earnings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 65-88, June.
  6. Brown, Philip H. & Park, Albert, 2002. "Education and poverty in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 523-541, December.
  7. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1993. "Estimates of the Returns to Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons and Brothers," NBER Working Papers 4491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Yaohui Zhao, 1997. "Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1278-1287.
  9. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
  10. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2001. "The Two-Tier Labor Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 485-504, September.
  11. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Wang, Meiyan, 2008. "The great proletarian cultural revolution, disruptions to education, and returns to schooling in urban China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4729, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Sylvie Démurger & Li Shi, 2012. "Migration, Remittances and Rural Employment Patterns : Evidence from China," Working Papers 1230, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  2. Sylvie Démurger & Martin Fournier & Yang Weiyong, 2010. "Rural households'decisions towards income diversification: Evidence from a township in northern China," Post-Print halshs-00550457, HAL.
  3. Chyi, Hau & Zhou, Bo, 2014. "The effects of tuition reforms on school enrollment in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 104-123.
  4. Cui, Yuling & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2013. "Earnings Differentials and Returns to Education in China, 1995-2008," IZA Discussion Papers 7349, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Hongyun Han, 2010. "Trends in educational assortative marriage in China from 1970 to 2000," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(24), pages 733-770, April.
  6. Hou, Linke & Wang, Xiaobing & Yu, Xiaohua, 2011. "Rational Expectation and Education Rewarding: The Case of Chinese Off-Farm Wage Employment," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114530, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  7. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00744438 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Vendryes, Thomas, 2011. "Migration constraints and development: Hukou and capital accumulation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 669-692.
  9. Lee, Soohyung & Malin, Benjamin A., 2013. "Education's role in China's structural transformation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 148-166.
  10. Yitao Jiang & Xiaojun Shi & Shunming Zhang & Jingjing Ji, 2011. "The threshold effect of high-level human capital investment on China's urban-rural income gap," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 297-320, September.

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