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Returns to higher education in China: What is the role of college quality?

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  • Zhong, Hai

Abstract

When there is substantial variation in the quality of colleges and universities, estimating returns to higher education based on quantity of education alone can be misleading. This paper examines the relationship between returns to higher education and college quality in China. We find that returns to higher education vary significantly depending on school quality. In addition, we find that the relationship between earnings and school quality is stronger for cohorts of workers that have entered the workforce more recently. This finding may result from the fact that as the transition toward a market system progresses in China, the wage system becomes increasingly responsive to key components of human capital. We also find that the earning gap between graduates from lower-quality colleges and those from vocational/technical schools decreases over time. Our results may help to inform individual decision-making on investment in education, effective expansion of the higher education system, and efficient resource allocation across different levels of the education system.

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  • Zhong, Hai, 2011. "Returns to higher education in China: What is the role of college quality?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 260-275, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:260-275
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    Cited by:

    1. Asian Development Bank Institute, 2017. "Human Capital Development in the People’s Republic of China and India: Achievements, Prospects, and Policy Challenges," Working Papers id:11819, eSocialSciences.
    2. 岩﨑, 一郎 & 馬, 欣欣, 2019. "現代中国における男女賃金格差: メタ分析による接近," Discussion Paper Series 689, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    3. Xie, Shiqing & Mo, Taiping, 2014. "The impact of education on health in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Asadullah, M. Niaz & Xiao, Saizi, 2020. "The changing pattern of wage returns to education in post-reform China," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 137-148.
    5. Shahid Yusuf, 2012. "From Technological Catch-up to Innovation : The Future of China’s GDP Growth," World Bank Publications - Reports 12781, The World Bank Group.
    6. Chen, Jie & Pastore, Francesco, 2021. "Does Vocational Education Pay Better, or Worse, Than Academic Education?," IZA Discussion Papers 14445, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Zhang, Huafeng, 2014. "The poverty trap of education: Education–poverty connections in Western China," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 47-58.
    8. Boccanfuso, Dorothée & Larouche, Alexandre & Trandafir, Mircea, 2015. "Quality of Higher Education and the Labor Market in Developing Countries: Evidence from an Education Reform in Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 412-424.
    9. Messinis, George, 2013. "Returns to education and urban-migrant wage differentials in China: IV quantile treatment effects," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 39-55.
    10. ZHONG, Hai, 2015. "An over time analysis on the mechanisms behind the education–health gradients in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 135-149.
    11. Iwasaki, Ichiro & Ma, Xinxin, 2020. "Gender wage gap in China: a large meta-analysis," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 54, pages 1-17.
    12. Liu, Wan-Hsin & Ma, Ru, 2018. "Regional Inequality of Higher Education Resources in China," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 235203, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    13. LIU Yang, 2016. "Employment and Starting Wages of New Graduates in China: Using the latest available survey data," Discussion papers 16021, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Sefa Awaworyi Churchill & Vinod Mishra, 2018. "Returns to education in China: a meta-analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(54), pages 5903-5919, November.
    15. M Niaz Asadullah & Saizi Xiao, 2019. "Labor Market Returns to Education and English Language Skills in the People's Republic of China: An Update," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 36(1), pages 80-111, March.
    16. Iwasaki, Ichiro & Ma, Xinxin, 2020. "Gender Wage Gap in China: A Large Meta-Analysis," CEI Research Paper Series 2020-5, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    17. Borsi, Mihály Tamás & Valerio Mendoza, Octasiano Miguel & Comim, Flavio, 2022. "Measuring the provincial supply of higher education institutions in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    18. Shang, Qingyan & Poon, Jessie P.H. & Yue, Qingtang, 2012. "The role of regional knowledge spillovers on China's innovation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1164-1175.
    19. Chen, Jie & Pastore, Francesco, 2022. "Dynamics of returns to vocational education in China: 2010-2017," GLO Discussion Paper Series 858 [rev.], Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    20. Xia Pan & Yuning Gao & Dong Guo & Wenyin Cheng, 2020. "Does Higher Education Promote Firm Innovation in China?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(18), pages 1-14, September.
    21. Lijia Guo & Jiashun Huang & You Zhang, 2019. "Education Development in China: Education Return, Quality, and Equity," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(13), pages 1-20, July.
    22. Wang, Le, 2012. "Economic transition and college premium in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 238-252.
    23. Mishra, Vinod & Smyth, Russell, 2013. "Economic returns to schooling for China's Korean minority," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 89-102.
    24. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 2001-2010: Evidence from Three Waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 50-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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