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Measuring the earnings returns to lifelong learning in the UK

Author

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  • Blanden, Jo
  • Buscha, Franz
  • Sturgis, Patrick
  • Urwin, Peter

Abstract

This paper examines the earnings returns to learning that takes place following the conventional ‘school-to-work’ stage of the life-course. We operationalise such ‘lifelong learning’ as the attainment of certified qualifications in adulthood, following the completion of the first period of continuous full-time education. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) for the period 1991–2006, our approach and findings represent an important addition to the existing evidence base. By using annual data, we are able to employ the fixed effects estimator, which eliminates the problem of time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity. Our dynamic specification uses a lag structure to consider how earnings returns evolve in the medium and longer run, whilst also controlling for wage trends which were evident prior to qualification attainment. Our results show a medium-run return for women of 10% on hourly wages. For men, initial suggestions of a similar positive return are eliminated once pre-qualification trends are taken into account. This suggests that adult learning has a causal effect on women's subsequent earnings but, for men, any apparent gain is due to selection.

Suggested Citation

  • Blanden, Jo & Buscha, Franz & Sturgis, Patrick & Urwin, Peter, 2012. "Measuring the earnings returns to lifelong learning in the UK," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 501-514.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:31:y:2012:i:4:p:501-514
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2011.12.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bergemann, Annette & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2008. "From Giving Birth to Paid Labor: The Effects of Adult Education for Prime-Aged Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 3600, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Sandra Nieto & Raúl Ramos, 2013. "Non-Formal Education, Overeducation And Wages," Revista de Economia Aplicada, Universidad de Zaragoza, Departamento de Estructura Economica y Economia Publica, vol. 21(1), pages 5-28, Spring.
    3. Friedline, Terri & Elliott, William & Chowa, Gina A.N., 2013. "Testing an asset-building approach for young people: Early access to savings predicts later savings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 31-51.
    4. Kauhanen, Antti, 2018. "The Effects of an Education-Leave Program on Educational Attainment and Labor-Market Outcomes," ETLA Working Papers 56, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    5. Juan Gabriel Brida & Marta Meleddu & Manuela Pulina & Vania Statzu, 2014. "Investigating informal learning at a cultural site," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 634-650.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adult learning; Earnings; Qualifications;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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