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Education, occupational class, and unemployment in the regions of the United Kingdom


  • Vani Borooah
  • John Mangan


Students in many countries face increased costs of education in the form of direct payments and future tax liabilities and, as a consequence, their education decisions have taken on a greater financial dimension. This has refocused attention on obtaining meaningful estimates of the return to education. Routinely these returns are estimated as the additional earnings derived by an individual following their acquisition of an additional one year of education. However, the use of earnings data in this context is not without methodological problems including likely attenuation and ability bias in measuring the earnings/education relationship, issues concerning the appropriate rate of discount to apply to observed earnings gains and the appropriateness of using years-of-education as the measure of educational attainment. In this paper we explore the use of an alternative means of assessing returns to education by examining shifts in the likelihood of gaining 'labour market success' from various levels of educational qualification within the framework of an ordered logit model. This method offers three distinct advantages: it favours the use of data from the Sample of anonymised records of the 2001 Census for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which, in turn, allows the joint consideration of most of the control variables thought to influence returns to education; it focuses upon the prime source of pecuniary returns to education (labour market success); and it gives expression to the 'screening device' and the 'credentials' aspects of education by focusing upon the importance of qualifications gained rather than the number of years spent in education.

Suggested Citation

  • Vani Borooah & John Mangan, 2008. "Education, occupational class, and unemployment in the regions of the United Kingdom," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 351-370.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:16:y:2008:i:4:p:351-370 DOI: 10.1080/09645290801977157

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    References listed on IDEAS

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