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The Educated Russian's Curse: Returns to Education in the Russian Federation

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  • Hugo Benitez-Silva

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  • Sofia Sheidvasser
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    Abstract

    This paper uses the only representative sample of the Russian Federation, the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, to estimate the returns to education in this ex-communist country. This is one of the first studies to tackle this classic issue in labor economics with the realistic expectation of obtaining results for Russia comparable in quality and reliability to those available in developed countries and other economies in transition. Using standard regression techniques we find that the returns to education in Russia are quite low compared with those reported in the literature on countries throughout the world, in almost no specification reaching higher than 5\%. Moreover, there is virtually no improvement in returns to education in the 1992-99 period, a result somewhat at odds with the suggestion of several studies using Russian data from the early 1990s. When we instrument our main regressor using policy experiments from the 1960s, we find comparable results. We also perform a selectivity correction and discover even lower returns to education for men, although they become slightly higher for women. Additionally, we find extremely low returns to tenure, which can even become negative in certain specifications. These results present a bleak perspective for educated Russians, with negative implications for investments in education at all levels, auguring the imminent erosion of one of Russia's few assets not yet completely devalued, the human capital of its citizens.

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    File URL: http://www.sunysb.edu/economics/research/papers/2000/00-05.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stony Brook University, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 00-05.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:00-05

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    Web page: http://www.stonybrook.edu/economics
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    Related research

    Keywords: Returns to Education; Russia; Economic Transition; Instrumental Variables; Selectivity Correction;

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    References

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    1. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu-Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 1999. "How Large is the BIas in Self-Reported Disability Status?," Department of Economics Working Papers 99-02, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    2. Robert H. Topel, 1990. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," NBER Working Papers 3294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Maurer-Fazio, Margaret, 1999. "Earnings and education in China's transition to a market economy Survey evidence from 1989 and 1992," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 17-40.
    4. Katz, Katarina, 1999. "Were there no returns to education in the USSR? Estimates from Soviet-period household data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 417-434, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    8. Stanovnik, Tine, 1997. "The returns to education in Slovenia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 443-449, October.
    9. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    10. Filer, Randall K. & Jurajda, Stepan & Planovsky, Jan, 1999. "Education and wages in the Czech and Slovak Republics during transition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 581-593, November.
    11. Brainerd, Elizabeth, 1998. "Winners and Losers in Russia's Economic Transition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1094-1116, December.
    12. Newell, Andrew & Reilly, Barry, 1996. "The gender wage gap in Russia: Some empirical evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 337-356, October.
    13. Robert S. Chase, 1998. "Markets for communist human capital: Returns to education and experience in the Czech republic and Slovakia," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 401-423, April.
    14. Wu, De-Min, 1973. "Alternative Tests of Independence Between Stochastic Regressors and Disturbances," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 733-50, July.
    15. Andrew Newell & Barry Reilly, 1999. "Rates of Return to Educational Qualifications in the Transitional Economies," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 67-84.
    16. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
    17. 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.
    18. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
    19. Gregory, Paul R & Kohlhase, Janet E, 1988. "The Earnings of Soviet Workers: Evidence from the Soviet Interview Project," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 23-35, February.
    20. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    21. Anders ├ůslund & Peter Boone & Simon Johnson, 1996. "How to Stabilize: Lessons from Post -communist Countries," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 217-314.
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    Cited by:
    1. Flabbi, Luca & Paternostro, Stefano & Tiongson, Erwin R., 2008. "Returns to education in the economic transition: A systematic assessment using comparable data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 724-740, December.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Barry W. Ickes, 2000. "Microeconomic Aspects of Economic Growth in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, 1950-2000," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 348, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    3. Pastore, Francesco & Verashchagina, Alina, 2004. "Private Returns to Human Capital over Transition: A Case Study of Belarus," IZA Discussion Papers 1409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Fleisher, Belton M. & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Skill differentials, return to schooling, and market segmentation in a transition economy: the case of Mainland China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 315-328, February.

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