The economic returns to field of study and competencies among higher education graduates in Ireland
This paper looks at the economic returns to different fields of study in Ireland in 2004 and also the value placed on various job-related competencies, accumulated on completion of higher education, in the Irish labour market. In examining these issues, the paper also analyses, through quantile regression, how the returns vary across the earnings distribution. The impact that education-job mismatch, both education level and field, has on earnings is also taken into consideration. The results derived indicate that, relative to the base case, there are higher returns to Medicine & Veterinary, Education, Engineering & Architecture, Science and Computers & IT. Small but significant returns were found for some of the competencies analysed, in particular technical skills. The quantile regression analysis reveals that both field and competency returns vary across the wage distribution and that, apart from Medicine & Veterinary and technical skills, field and competency-specific returns diminish as one moves up the earnings distribution.
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