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The changing economic advantage from private school

  • Francis Green
  • Stephen Machin
  • Richard Murphy
  • Yu Zhu

Despite its relatively small size, the private school sector plays a prominent role in British society. This paper focuses on changing wage and education differentials between privately educated and state educated individuals in Britain. It reports evidence that the private/state school wage differential has risen significantly over time, despite the rising cost of sending children to private school. A significant factor underpinning this result has been faster rising educational attainment for privately educated individuals. Despite these patterns of change, the proportion attending private school has not altered much, nor have the characteristics of those children (and their parents) attending private school. Taken together, our findings are consistent with the idea that the private school sector has been successful in transforming its ability to generate the academic outputs that are most in demand in the modern economy. Because of the increased earnings advantage, private school remains a good investment for parents who want to opt out, but this increase has also contributed to rising wage inequality and falling social mobility.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28288/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 28288.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:28288
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "The Changing Nature of Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen Machin & Patrick A. Puhani, 2002. "Subject of Degree and the Gender Wage Differential - Evidence from the UK and Germany," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-28, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  3. Francis Green & Yu Zhu, 2010. "Overqualification, job dissatisfaction, and increasing dispersion in the returns to graduate education," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 740-763, October.
  4. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Changes in Wage Inequality," CEP Special Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Iftikhar Hussain & Sandra McNally & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2009. "University Quality and Graduate Wages in the UK," CEE Discussion Papers 0099, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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  7. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
  8. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C43-C60, 03.
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  11. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2005. "Schooling effects on subsequent university performance: evidence for the UK university population," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 549-562, October.
  12. Margaret Stevens & Kathryn Graddy, 2003. "The Impact of School Inputs on Student Performance: An Empirical Study of Private Schools in the United Kingdom," Economics Series Working Papers 146, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Manning, Alan & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5653, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Robin Naylor & Jeremy Smith, 2004. "Degree performance of Economics students in UK universities: absolute and relative performance in prior qualifications," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 250-265, 05.
  15. Booth, Alison L & Kee, Hiau Joo, 2006. "Birth Order Matters: The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Educational Attainment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5453, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The effect of school quality on educational attainment and wages," IFS Working Papers W00/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Francis Green & Stephen Machin & Richard Murphy & Yu Zhu, 2008. "Competition for private and state school teachers," CEE Discussion Papers 0094, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  18. Graddy, Kathryn & Stevens, Margaret, 2003. "The Impact of School Inputs on Student Performance: An Empirical Study of Private Schools in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3776, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2001. " Determinants of Degree Performance in UK Universities: A Statistical Analysis of the 1993 Student Cohort," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 29-60, February.
  20. Naylor, Robin & Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail, 2002. "Why Is There a Graduate Earnings Premium for Students from Independent Schools?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 315-39, October.
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