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Mind the gap? Estimating the effects of postponing higher education

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  • Bertil Holmlund
  • Qian Liu
  • Oskar Nordström Skans

Abstract

This paper estimates the effects on earnings of 'gap years' between high school and university enrollment. The effect is estimated by means of standard earnings functions augmented to account for gap years and a rich set of control variables using administrative Swedish data. We find that postponement of higher education is associated with a persistent and non-trivial earnings penalty. The main source of the persistent penalty appears to be the loss of work experience after studies. Two years postponement reduces the present value of lifetime earnings by nearly one half of one year's peak earnings. Copyright 2008 , Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 60 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 683-710

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:60:y:2008:i:4:p:683-710

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  1. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance J. & Todd, Petra E., 2006. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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  5. Reuben Gronau, 1982. "Sex-Related Wage Differentials and Women's Interrupted Labor Careers--The Chicken or the Egg," NBER Working Papers 1002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Griliches, Zvi, 1980. " Schooling Interruption, Work While in School and the Returns from Schooling," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 82(2), pages 291-303.
  8. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nordström Skans, Oskar & Liljeberg, Linus, 2005. "Causal effects of subsidized career breaks," Working Paper Series 2005:17, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  11. Monks, James, 1997. "The impact of college timing on earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 419-423, October.
  12. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Comay, Yochanan & Melnik, A & Pollatschek, M A, 1973. "The Option Value of Education and the Optimal Path for Investment in Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 421-35, June.
  14. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-54, January.
  15. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
  16. Audrey Light, 1995. "The Effects of Interrupted Schooling on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 472-502.
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Cited by:
  1. Humlum, Maria Knoth & Kristoffersen, Jannie H. G. & Vejlin, Rune Majlund, 2014. "Timing of College Enrollment and Family Formation Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 7905, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lundin, Daniela & Mörk, Eva & Öckert, Björn, 2007. "Do reduced child care prices make parents work more?," Working Paper Series 2007:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. S�ren Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen & Luca Micheletto, 2010. "Public Provision of Private Goods and Nondistortionary Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-27, May.
  4. Bergemann, Annette & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2007. "Active Labour Market Policy Effects for Women in Europe - A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 6034, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope & Pekkala, Sari, 2006. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Income Mobility: Evidence from the Finnish Comprehensive School Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 2204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Hallberg, Daniel & Lindh, Thomas & Žamac, Jovan, 2011. "Study achievement for students with kids," Working Paper Series 2011:16, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. Philip de Jong & Maarten Lindeboom & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "Screening Disability Insurance Applications," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-018/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Forslund, Anders, 2009. "Labour supply incentives, income support systems and taxes in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2009:30, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Ågren, Martin, 2006. "Prospect Theory and Higher Moments," Working Paper Series 2006:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  10. Hällsten, Martin, 2012. "Is it ever too late to study? The economic returns on late tertiary degrees in Sweden," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 179-194.

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