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Welfare and the Returns to Education: The Interaction between Welfare, Work and Wages in the UK

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  • Bingley, Paul

    (Arhus University)

  • Ian Walker
  • Yu Zhu

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the relationship between education, wages and working behaviour. The work is partly motivated by the sharp distinction in the literature between the returns to education and the effect of wages on labour supply. Education is the investment that cumulates in the form of human capital while labour supply is the utilization rate of that stock. Yet, variation in education is usually the basis for identifying labour supply models - education is assumed to determine wages but not affect labour supply. Moreover, it is commonly assumed that the private rate of return to education can be found from the schooling coefficient in a log-wage equation. Yet, the costs of education are largely independent of its subsequent utilisation but the benefits will be higher the greater the utilisation rate. Thus the returns will depend on how intensively that capital is utilised and we would expect that those who intend to work least to also invest least in human capital. Indeed, the net (of tax liabilities and welfare entitlements) return to education will be a complex function of labour supply and budget constraint considerations. Here we attempt to model the relationship between wages, work, education and the tax/welfare system allowing for the endogeneity of education as well for the correlations between the unobservable components of wages and working behaviour. We use the estimates to simulate the effect of a new UK policy designed to increase education for children from low-income households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Royal Economic Society in its series Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 with number 23.

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Date of creation: 04 Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2003:23

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Keywords: welfare programmes; labour supply; returns to education;

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