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Returns to education in India

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  • Scott Fulford

    (Boston College)

Abstract

Despite the evidence for high returns to education at an individual level, large increases in education across the developing world have brought disappointing returns in aggregate. This paper shows that the same pattern holds in India by building aggregates from micro-data so that the comparability and quality issues that plague cross-country analyses are not a problem. In India both men and women with more education live in households with greater consumption per capita. Yet in aggregate, comparing across age cohorts and states, better educated male cohorts consume only about 4% more than less well educated ones. Better educated female cohorts do not live in households with higher consumption. This result is robust to: (1) using econometric models that account for survey measurement error, (2) different measures of household consumption and composition, (3) allowing returns to differ by state, and (4) age mismeasurement. Comparing state returns to a measure of school quality, it does not seem that poor quality is responsible for the low returns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 819.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:819

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Keywords: education; India; household consumption; school quality;

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  1. Kijima, Yoko, 2006. "Why did wage inequality increase? Evidence from urban India 1983-99," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 97-117, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Azam, Mehtabul, 2012. "Changes in Wage Structure in Urban India, 1983–2004: A Quantile Regression Decomposition," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1135-1150.
  4. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2001. "Growth and Human Capital: Good Data, Good Results," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
  5. Puja Vasudeva Dutta, 2004. "The Structure of Wages in India, 1983-1999," PRUS Working Papers 25, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  6. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  8. Duraisamy, P., 2002. "Changes in returns to education in India, 1983-94: by gender, age-cohort and location," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 609-622, December.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  10. Dreze, Jean & Srinivasan, P. V., 1997. "Widowhood and poverty in rural India: Some inferences from household survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 217-234, December.
  11. Scott Fulford, 2010. "The effects of financial development in the short and long run," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 741, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 31 May 2011.
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