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Private returns to investment in education: an empirical study of urban China

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  • Xiaolei Qian
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

This article draws on a survey of urban Chinese workers in 2005 to estimate the private returns to education and the income elasticity of education. Differences in the rates of return to schooling are examined between gender and between age groups. The estimated returns to schooling are found to be higher than those documented in existing studies for the mid-1980s to late 1990s. In particular, considerably higher returns to education are observed among people aged 35 or under, representing those who received standardised education and entered the labour market during the urban economic reform era. The study finds that the income elasticity of education expenditure is relatively low and that expenditure on education is less sensitive to changes in income than expenditure on either food or clothing.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaolei Qian & Russell Smyth, 2008. "Private returns to investment in education: an empirical study of urban China," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 483-501.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:483-501
    DOI: 10.1080/14631370802444732
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions," Monash Economics Working Papers 33-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2014. "It pays to be happy (if you are a man): Subjective wellbeing and the gender wage gap in Urban China," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 392-414, May.
    3. Mishra, Vinod & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Estimating returns to schooling in urban China using conventional and heteroskedasticity-based instruments," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 166-173.
    4. Zhong, Hai, 2011. "Returns to higher education in China: What is the role of college quality?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 260-275, June.
    5. Lili Kang & Fei Peng, 2012. "A selection analysis of returns to education in China," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 535-554, March.
    6. Mishra, Vinod & Smyth, Russell, 2013. "Economic returns to schooling for China's Korean minority," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 89-102.
    7. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 2001-2010: Evidence from Three Waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 50-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. Tian Qiu & John Hudson, 2010. "Private returns to education in urban China," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 131-150, May.
    9. Castro Campos, Bente & Ren, Yanjun & Petrick, Martin, 2016. "The impact of education on income inequality between ethnic minorities and Han in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 253-267.

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