The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980 - 2006
AbstractThis paper examines the evolution of the returns to human capital in Canada over the period 1980-2006. Most of the analysis is based on Census data, and on weekly wage and salary earnings of full-time workers. Our main finding is that the returns to education increased substantially for Canadian men between 1980 and 2000, in contrast to conclusions reached in previous studies. For example, the adjusted wage gap between men with exactly a bachelorsâ€™ degree and men with only a high school diploma increased from 34 percent to 43 percent during this period. Most of this rise took place in the early 1980s and late 1990s. Returns to education also rose for Canadian women, but the magnitudes of the increases were more modest. For instance, the adjusted BA-high school wage differential among women increased about 4 percentage points between 1980 and 1985 and remained stable thereafter. Results based on Labour Force Survey data show the upward trend in returns to education has recently been reversed for both men and women. Another important development is that after fifteen years of expansion (1980-1995), the return to work experience measured by the wage gap between younger and older workers declined between 1995 and 2000. Finally, we find little difference between measures based on means and those based on medians of log wages for both genders. Also, the use of broader earnings measures (such as including self-employment earnings, using weekly earnings of all workers, or using annual earnings of full-time workers) does not alter the main conclusions from the analysis based on weekly wage and salary earnings of full-time workers.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by UBC Department of Economics in its series CLSRN Working Papers with number clsrn_admin-2009-8.
Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 02 Feb 2009
Date of revision: 02 Feb 2009
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Human Capital; Wage Differentials; Returns to Education; Canada;
Other versions of this item:
- Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas & Riddell, Craig, 2008. "The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2006," UBC Departmental Archives craig_riddell-2008-15, UBC Department of Economics, revised 22 Oct 2008.
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-02-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2009-02-14 (Business Economics)
- NEP-EDU-2009-02-14 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2009-02-14 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2009-02-14 (Labour Economics)
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