Does Education Pay in Urban China? Estimating Returns to Education Using Twins
This paper empirically estimates the returns to education using twins data that the authors collected from urban China. Our ordinary least-squares estimate shows that one year of schooling increases an individual¡¦s earnings by 8.4 percent. However, once we use the within-twin-pair fixed effects model, the return is reduced to 2.7 percent, which suggests that much of the estimated returns to education in China that have been found in previous studies are due to omitted ability or the family effect. This finding suggests that well-educated people are faring well in China mainly because of their superior ability or family background advantages, rather than because of knowledge that they acquired at school. We further investigate why the true return is low and the omitted ability bias high, and find evidence that it may be a consequence of the distinct education system in China, which is highly selective and exam oriented. More specifically, we find that high school education mainly serves as a mechanism to select college students, and has zero returns in terms of earnings. In contrast, both vocational school education and college education have a large return that is comparable to that found in rich Western countries.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul Taubman, 1976. "Earnings, Education, Genetics, and Environment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 11(4), pages 447-461.
- Brown, Philip H. & Park, Albert, 2002. "Education and poverty in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 523-541, December.
- Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
- Behrman, Jere R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1999. ""Ability" biases in schooling returns and twins: a test and new estimates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 159-167, April.
- Heckman, James & Li, Xuesong, 2003.
"Selection bias, comparative advantage and heterogeneous returns to education: Evidence from China in 2000,"
Working Paper Series
2003:17, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
- James J. Heckman & Xuesong Li, 2004. "Selection bias, comparative advantage and heterogeneous returns to education: evidence from China in 2000," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 155-171, October.
- Heckman, James J. & Li, Xuesong, 2003. "Selection Bias, Comparative Advantage and Heterogeneous Returns to Education: Evidence from China in 2000," IZA Discussion Papers 829, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- James J. Heckman, 2002.
"China's Investment in Human Capital,"
NBER Working Papers
9296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1998. "Income, Schooling, and Ability: Evidence from a New Sample of Identical Twins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 253-284.
- Lam, David & Schoeni, Robert F, 1993.
"Effects of Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 710-40, August.
- Lam. D. & Schoeni, R.F., 1996. "Effects on Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Papers 96-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Doroth� Bonjour & Lyn Cherkas & Jonathan Haskel & Denise Hawkes & Tim Spector, 2002.
"Returns to Education: Evidence from UK Twins,"
453, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
- Bonjour, Dorothe & Cherkas, Lynn & Haskel, Jonathan & Spector, Tim, 2002. "Returns to Education: Evidence from UK Twins," CEPR Discussion Papers 3354, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dorothe Bonjour & Lynn Cherkas & Jonathan Haskel & Denise Hawkes & Tim Spector, 2002. "Returns to Education: Evidence from UK Twins," CEE Discussion Papers 0022, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
- Bound, John & Solon, Gary, 1999.
"Double trouble: on the value of twins-based estimation of the return to schooling,"
Economics of Education Review,
Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 169-182, April.
- John Bound & Gary Solon, 1998. "Double Trouble: On the Value of Twins-Based Estimation of the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 6721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1999. "Further estimates of the economic return to schooling from a new sample of twins," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 149-157, April.
- Thomas Hertz, 2003. "Upward Bias in the Estimated Returns to Education: Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1354-1368, September.
- Heckman, James J., 2005. "China's human capital investment," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 50-70.
- Meng, Xin & Kidd, Michael P., 1997. "Labor Market Reform and the Changing Structure of Wage Determination in China's State Sector during the 1980s," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 403-421, December.
- Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
- Miller, Paul W & Mulvey, Charles & Martin, Nick, 1995. "What Do Twins Studies Reveal about the Economic Returns to Education? A Comparison of Australian and U.S. Findings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 586-99, June.
- Fleisher, Belton M. & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Skill differentials, return to schooling, and market segmentation in a transition economy: the case of Mainland China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 315-328, February.
- Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
- Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1996. "College Choice and Wages: Estimates Using Data on Female Twins," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 672-85, November.
- Byron, Rayond P & Manaloto, Evelyn Q, 1990. "Returns to Education in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(4), pages 783-96, July.
- Isacsson, Gunnar, 1999. "Estimates of the return to schooling in Sweden from a large sample of twins," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 471-489, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:chk:cuhkdc:00013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.