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A large scale experiment: wages and educational expansion in France

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  • Marc Gurgand

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE ParisTech - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Eric Maurin

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE ParisTech - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

Abstract

We evaluate the wage impact of the strong and rapid increase in schooling levels experienced by the cohorts born after WWII in France. In order to identify the causal effect of education, we exploit the fact that the small group of people graduating from elite education (Grandes Ecoles) remained stable, while the rest of the system experienced tremendous transformation. This provides a well defined control group. Using large scale labor force surveys for the 1990's, we find that the cohorts that received more education have a lower wage gap, relative to Grandes Ecoles. We show that such a large scale experiment measures a social return to schooling even in the presence of signaling, whereas strategies based on quasi-experiments are not necessarily robust to signaling. Our instrumental variable estimation finds returns to schooling very similar to the rest of the literature, which is a strong case against the signaling hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Gurgand & Eric Maurin, 2007. "A large scale experiment: wages and educational expansion in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-00587884, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00587884
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00587884
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    Cited by:

    1. Etilé, Fabrice & Jones, Andrew M., 2011. "Schooling and smoking among the baby boomers - An evaluation of the impact of educational expansion in France," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 811-831, July.
    2. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2015. "Measuring the link between intergenerational occupational mobility and earnings: evidence from eight European countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(1), pages 83-102, March.
    3. Francesco Vona, 2011. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Reduce Educational Inequality? Evidence from 12 European Countries," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-12, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    4. Marie Baguet & Céline Lecavelier des Etangs-Levallois, 2017. "Instrumenting education in France: Using May 1968 events as a natural experiment?," THEMA Working Papers 2017-13, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.

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