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Subject choice and earnings of UK graduates

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  • Chevalier, Arnaud

Abstract

Using a survey of a cohort of UK graduates, linked to administrative data on higher education participation, this paper investigates the labour market attainment of recent graduates by subject of study. We document a large heterogeneity in the mean wages of graduates from different subjects and a considerably larger one within subject with individuals with the most favourable unobserved characteristics obtaining wages almost twice as large as those with the worst. Moreover, gender differences in wages within subjects are also large. We then simulate a graduate tax to calculate a willingness to pay – in form of tuition fees – to capture these subject wage premia.

Suggested Citation

  • Chevalier, Arnaud, 2011. "Subject choice and earnings of UK graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1187-1201.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:6:p:1187-1201
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2011.04.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Gibbons, Steve & Thorpe, Andy & Snell, Martin & Hoskins, Sherria, 2009. "Students' academic self-perception," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 716-727, December.
    2. Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2011. "Differences by degree: Evidence of the net financial rates of return to undergraduate study for England and Wales," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1177-1186.
    3. Magali Beffy & Denis Fougère & Arnaud Maurel, 2012. "Choosing the Field of Study in Postsecondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 334-347, February.
    4. Bratti, Massimiliano & Naylor, Robin & Smith, Jeremy, 2005. "Variations in the Wage Returns to a First Degree: Evidence from the British Cohort Study 1970," IZA Discussion Papers 1631, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
    6. Lorraine Dearden & Emla Fitzsimons & Alissa Goodman & Greg Kaplan, 2008. "Higher Education Funding Reforms in England: The Distributional Effects and the Shifting Balance of Costs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages 100-125, February.
    7. Massimiliano BRATTI & Luca MANCINI, 2003. "Differences in Early Occupational Earnings of UK Male Graduates by Degree Subject: Evidence from the 1980-1993 USR," Working Papers 189, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    8. James, Estelle, et al, 1989. "College Quality and Future Earnings: Where Should You Send Your Child to College?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 247-252, May.
    9. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    10. Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2005. "The College Wage Premium, Overeducation, and the Expansion of Higher Education in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 1627, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Walde, Klaus, 2000. "Efficiency and Equity Effects of Subsidies to Higher Education," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 702-722, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Graduate earnings; Tuition fees;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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