IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Returns to Tertiary Education in Germany and the UK: Effects of Fields of Study and Gender


  • Anna Kim;Ki-Wan Kim


During the last decades most industrialised countries have experienced a rapid expansion of tertiary education enrolments. The sector of tertiary education became more differentiated through the creation of many different subjects, fields and curricula of study. At the same time, men and women tend to prefer different fields of study which likely also provide different opportunities on the labour market. In this study we examine the returns of tertiary education regarding the fields of study and gender differences in Germany and the United Kingdom. As an indicator for educational returns we take the opportunity of entering into the service classes. Given the review of different institutional arrangements we expect that the two countries have considerable differences in the linkage between tertiary education and labour market. Additionally, we expect that the different outcomes of educational credentials between female and male graduates are related to the different choices of study fields in the tertiary education. Based on the generally close linkage between the level of education and labour market in Germany and the rather weak signal function of educational credentials in the UK, we expect that firstly the overall educational returns to tertiary education would be greater in Germany, but that secondly the effects of fields of study as an additional selection factor for graduates would be greater in the UK. Results of empirical analyses confirm both of these hypotheses. An interesting result with respect to the gender differences in educational outcomes is that Germany shows a smaller gender difference in outcomes, but this rather egalitarian result disappears if the type of jobs, e.g. part-time vs. full-time jobs, is controlled for. In general, we find smaller gender differences in class outcomes in Germany than in the UK, but that is called into question by the greater likelihood of German women to be employed in part-time jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Kim;Ki-Wan Kim, 2003. "Returns to Tertiary Education in Germany and the UK: Effects of Fields of Study and Gender," MZES Working Papers 62, MZES.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:mzesxx:p0052

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Oulton & Hilary Steedman, 1994. "The British System of Youth Training: A Comparison with Germany," NBER Chapters,in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 61-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eyraud, Francois & Marsden, David & Silvestre, Jean-Jacques, 1990. "Occupational and internal labour markets in Britain and France," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 21305, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Anna Kim & Karin Kurz, 2001. "Precarious Employment, Education and Gender: A comparison of Germany and the United Kingdom," MZES Working Papers 39, MZES.
    4. David Soskice, 1994. "Reconciling Markets and Institutions: The German Apprenticeship System," NBER Chapters,in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 25-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Concetta, MENDOLICCHIO, 2005. "Gender and private returns to education : a cross-European analysis," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005056, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    2. Lehouelleur, Sophie & Beblavý, Miroslav & Maselli,Ilaria, 2015. "How returns from tertiary education differ by field of study: Implications for policy-makers and students," CEPS Papers 10835, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    3. Roxana Hatos & Tomina Saveanu, 2016. "Are Economic Studies Graduates Under-Employed? A Skills Mismatch Study," Oradea Journal of Business and Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 27-37, March.

    More about this item


    institutions; Germany; U.K.; sociology;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:mzesxx:p0052. 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: (Christian Melbeck). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.