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Post-Secondary Education in Canada: Can Ability Bias Explain the Earnings Gap Between College and University Graduates?

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Author Info

  • Vincenzo Caponi

    ()
    (Department of Economics Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada and The Rimini Centre for Economics Analysis, Rimini, Italy.)

  • Miana Plesca

    (University of Guelph, Canada)

Abstract

Post-Secondary Education in Canada: Can Ability Bias Explain the Earnings Gap Between College and University Graduates? Using the Canadian General Social Survey we compute returns to post-secondary education relative to high-school. Unlike previous research using Canadian data, our dataset allows us to control for ability selection into higher education. We find strong evidence of positive ability selection into all levels of post-secondary education for men and weaker positive selection for women. Since the ability selection is stronger for higher levels of education, particularly for university, the difference in returns between university and college or trades education decreases slightly after accounting for ability bias. However, a puzzling large gap persists, with university-educated men still earning over 20% more than men with college or trades education. Moreover, contrary to previous Canadian literature that reports higher returns for women, we document that the OLS hourly wage returns to university education are the same for men and women. OLS returns are higher for women only if weekly or yearly wages are considered instead, because university-educated women work more hours than the average. Nevertheless, once we account for ability selection into post-secondary education, we generally find higher returns for women than for men for all wage measures as a result of the stronger ability selection for men.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 14-07.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision: Jul 2007
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:14-07

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Keywords: returns to university; returns to college; returns to trades; unobserved ability; selection bias;

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References

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  1. J.B. Burbidge & L. Magee & A.L. Robb, 2001. "The Education Premium in Canada and the United States," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 364, McMaster University.
  2. Plug, Erik & Vijverberg, Wim P., 2001. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is it Nature or is it Nurture?," IZA Discussion Papers 247, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  5. Ana M. Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2002. "The role of credentials in the Canadian labour market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 879-905, November.
  6. Racine, Jeff & Li, Qi, 2004. "Nonparametric estimation of regression functions with both categorical and continuous data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 99-130, March.
  7. Miana Plesca & Jeffrey Smith, 2007. "Evaluating multi-treatment programs: theory and evidence from the U.S. Job Training Partnership Act experiment," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 491-528, May.
  8. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  9. Louis N. Christofides & Michael Hoy & Ling Yang, 2006. "The Gender Imbalance in Participation in Canadian Universities (1977-2003)," Working Papers 0610, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  10. 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.
  11. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Strawinski, Pawel, 2008. "External Return to Education in Poland," MPRA Paper 11598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Wen Fan, 2011. "Estimating the Return to College in Britain Using Regression and Propensity Score Matching," Working Papers 201119, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2011. "Acquired Skills and Learned Abilities: Wage Dynamics in Internal Labor Markets," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f153, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 07 Feb 2014.
  5. Sylvain Dessy & Safa Ragued, 2013. "Multidimensional Poverty Targeting," Cahiers de recherche 1340, CIRPEE.
  6. Strawinski, Pawel, 2008. "Changes in return to higher education in Poland 1998-2005," MPRA Paper 9533, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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