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The Economic Returns to Field of Study and Competencies Among Higher Education Graduates in Ireland

  • Elish Kelly

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

  • Philip O'Connell

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

  • Emer Smyth

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

This paper looks at the economic returns to different fields of study in Ireland in 2004 and also the value placed on various job-related competencies, accumulated on completion of higher education, in the Irish labour market. In examining these issues the paper seeks to control for potential selection influences by ensuring through quantile regression that comparisons are made within sections of the wage distribution where ability differences are likely to be minimal. The impact that education-job mismatch, both education-level and field, has on earnings is also taken into consideration. The results derived indicate that, relative to the base case, there are higher returns to Medicine & Veterinary, Education, Engineering & Architecture, Science and Computers & IT. The quantile regression analysis reveals that the OLS estimates are not particularly affected by unobserved heterogeneity bias. Furthermore, this approach indicates that field specific returns diminish the more able the graduate. Small but significant returns were found for some of the competencies analysed, in particular technical skills.

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File URL: http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/20080716090749/WP242.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP242.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp242
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  9. O'Connell, Philip J. & Russell, Helen, 2006. "Does it Pay to Go Public? Public/Private Wage Differences among Recent Graduates in Ireland," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 2006(3-Autumn), pages 64-79.
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  17. S. Mcguinness, 2003. "Graduate overeducation as a sheepskin effect: evidence from Northern Ireland," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 597-608.
  18. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
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  22. Dolton, Peter & Vignoles, Anna, 2000. "The incidence and effects of overeducation in the U.K. graduate labour market," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 179-198, April.
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