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Returns to university education; evidence from an institutional reform

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  • Dinand Webbink

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Abstract

In 1982, duration of university education in the Netherlands decreased from five to four years. This institutional reform is exploited for estimating the causal effect of one year of university education on wages in 1997. Wages of employees who enrolled just before or after the reform are compared using data from the Dutch Wage Structure Survey of 1997. We find that the fifth year of university education increased wages with 7 to 9 percent. This wage differential is found for employees enrolling four years before or after the reform. Confounding factors like time-effects, typical age-effects or ability-bias do not seem to bias the main results. The findings suggest that there is scope for increasing private contributions of students. Moreover, the reform may have harmed total welfare. Alternative policies of sticking to five-year duration and increasing private contributions for higher education could have given a more favourable outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Dinand Webbink, 2004. "Returns to university education; evidence from an institutional reform," CPB Discussion Paper 34, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    6. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1278-1286.
    7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Harmon, Colm & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1999. "A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 453-470, November.
    8. Levin, Jesse & Plug, Erik J. S., 1999. "Instrumenting education and the returns to schooling in the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 521-534, November.
    9. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nohora Y. Forero Ramírez & Manuel Ramírez Gómez, 2008. "Determinantes de los ingresos laborales de los graduados universitarios en Colombia: un análisis a partir de la Herramienta de Seguimiento a Graduados," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, June.
    2. Stefan P.T. Groot & Henri L.F. Groot & Martijn J. Smit, 2014. "Regional Wage Differences In The Netherlands: Micro Evidence On Agglomeration Externalities," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 503-523, June.
    3. Salas-Velasco, Manuel, 2009. "Beyond lectures and tutorials: Formal on-the-job training received by young European university graduates," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 200-211, September.
    4. Nohora Y. Forero Ramírez & Manuel Ramírez Gómez, 2008. "Determinantes de los ingresos laborales de los graduados universitarios durante el período 2001-2004," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 004591, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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