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University Quality and Labour Market Outcomes of Canadian Youth


  • Joniada Milla

    () (Department of Economics, University of Guelph)


This paper estimates the wage returns to the Canadian university reputation and quality by using the Maclean's magazine Best Overall Reputation ranking and a quality ranking based on an index constructed by the Principal Component Analysis of a set of university characteristics. The main data source is Youth in Transition Survey and the outcome of interest is the hourly wage rate of Canadian youth between 2003-2005. Using matching methods we draw some main results from this analysis. First, we find that returns to having a Bachelor's degree from a higher versus lower ranking university is 10.3% for women and 13.4% for men. The returns are higher when comparing the wages in the top and bottom tails of the reputation ranking distribution. Second, there are returns to university quality but the results are mixed. Third, the ranking premiums are higher for men than women. The results are robust through different specifications, sample exclusions and estimators.

Suggested Citation

  • Joniada Milla, 2012. "University Quality and Labour Market Outcomes of Canadian Youth," Working Papers 1212, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:gue:guelph:2012-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    2. Long, Mark C., 2010. "Changes in the returns to education and college quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 338-347, June.
    3. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
    4. Holmlund, Linda, 2009. "The Effect of College Quality on Earnings Evidence from Sweden," Umeå Economic Studies 781, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    5. Long, Mark C., 2008. "College quality and early adult outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 588-602, October.
    6. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    7. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
    9. 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.
    10. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carroll, David & Heaton, Christopher & Tani, Massimiliano, 2014. "Returns to University Quality in Australia: A Two-Stage Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 8473, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Stefano STAFFOLANI & Maria Cristina RECCHIONI, 2016. "Increasing Graduation and Calling for More Autonomy in Higher Education: Is It a Good Thing? A Theoretical Model," Working Papers 419, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.

    More about this item


    Returns to Education; University Quality; Reputation; Wage Rates;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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