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On the Measurement of Private Rates of Return to Education / Ein Ansatz zur Messung privater Bildungsrenditen


  • Wolter Stefan C.

    (Schweizerische Koordinationsstelle für Bildungsforschung, Entfelderstraße 61, CH-5000 Aarau und Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung)

  • Weber Bernhard A.

    (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit, Bereich Arbeitsmarktpolitik, Bundesgasse 8, CH-3003 Bern)


In many countries on the European continent, it is feared that public funding of tertiary education (university and non-university) leads to an undesirable redistribution of income “from the bottom up”. The calculation of private rates of return is one way of answering this and other questions. This article proposes a new model for calculating private rates of return to education, which on the one hand takes into account the influence of existing wage structures and such institutional factors as the cost of education and the fiscal system, and on the other hand produces results that are relatively easy to interpret at the economic policy level. The first empirical results for Switzerland indicate that once educational costs have been deducted, wage-earning advantages would be too insignificant for it to be possible to speak of redistribution of income „from the bottom up“ in any meaningful way.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolter Stefan C. & Weber Bernhard A., 1999. "On the Measurement of Private Rates of Return to Education / Ein Ansatz zur Messung privater Bildungsrenditen," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 218(5-6), pages 605-618, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:218:y:1999:i:5-6:p:605-618

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    Cited by:

    1. Simone N. Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2010. "Risk-return trade-offs to different educational paths: vocational, academic and mixed," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(5), pages 495-519, August.
    2. Wolter, Stefan C. & Zbinden, André, 2001. "Rates of Return to Education: The View of Students in Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 371, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Zwick Thomas, 2001. "Supply of Human Capital in Times of Skill Biased Technological Change / Die Reaktion des Humankapitalangebots auf qualifikationsverzerrten technischen Fortschritt," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 221(3), pages 322-335, June.
    4. Stefan C. Wolter & Stefan Denzler & Bernhard A. Weber, 2003. "Betrachtungen zum Arbeitsmarkt der Lehrer in der Schweiz," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 72(2), pages 305-319.
    5. Florian Birkenfeld, 2008. "Schulleistungen von Mädchen und Jungen. Gleichberechtigung als Bildungsmotor?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0019, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    6. Wolfgang Becker, 1999. "Gesamtwirtschaftlicher Stellenwert der Humankapitalproduktion im Hochschulbereich in Westdeutschland," Discussion Paper Series 187, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
    7. Stanislav Klazar & Milan Sedmihradský & Alena Vančurová, 2001. "Returns of Education in the Czech Republic," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 609-620, August.


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