Is it ever too late to study? The economic returns on late tertiary degrees in Sweden
This paper addresses the economic returns on tertiary degrees obtained in ages above 30 for individuals with upper-secondary schooling in light of current ideas on lifelong learning. Sweden is a case in point: Swedish tertiary education is open to older students, and labor market legislation supports employees who take a leave to study. The longitudinal data used for this analysis is based on annual population level registers from 1981 to 2007. Matching techniques are combined with fixed effect estimation to account for non-random selection. Late degrees were found to increase the employment rate by 18 percentage points and earnings while employed by 12 percent, which indicates strong employment effects and small effects on earnings while employed. The effects were absent in the higher parts of the earnings distribution, and females gained more than men. The estimated effects are largely stable across periods within a birth cohort.
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