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Sorting, Selection, and Transformation of Return to College Education in China


  • Belton M Fleisher

    () (Department of Economics, Ohio State University)

  • Haizheng Li

    (Georgia Tech)

  • Shi Li

    (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

  • Xiaojun Wang

    () (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)


We estimate selection and sorting effects on the evolution of the private return to schooling for college graduates during China’s reform between 1988 and 2002. We find evidence of substantial sorting gains under the traditional system, but gains have diminished and even become negative in the most recent data. We take this as evidence consistent with the growing influence of private financial constraints on decisions to attend college as tuition costs have risen and the relative importance of government subsidies to higher education has declined.

Suggested Citation

  • Belton M Fleisher & Haizheng Li & Shi Li & Xiaojun Wang, 2005. "Sorting, Selection, and Transformation of Return to College Education in China," Working Papers 200507, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200507

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. CHEN, Guifu & HAMORI, Shigeyuki, 2009. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China: OLS and the instrumental variables approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 143-152, June.
    2. Messinis, George, 2013. "Returns to education and urban-migrant wage differentials in China: IV quantile treatment effects," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 39-55.
    3. Sefa Awaworyi & Vinod Mishra, 2014. "Returns to Education in China: A Meta-analysis," Monash Economics Working Papers 41-14, Monash University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    return to schooling; sorting gains; heterogeneity; financial constraints; comparative advantage; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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