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Does Examination Hell Pay Off? A Cost-Benefit Analysis of "Ronin" and College Education in Japan

College-bound students in Japan undergo a process of intense preparation known as examination hell. An extreme manifestation of examination hell is the ronin phenomenon. Typically thirty percent of students choose the ronin option under which they spend years in addition to high school preparing for the next yearfs college entrance examinations. Using the mean scores of the entrance examinations as a measure of college quality, I find that college quality significantly improves the internal rate of return (IRR) to college education among the sample of male graduates in Japan. Ronin increases earnings indirectly by improving the quality of the college attended. I also show that the IRR with respect to ronin is one of diminishing returns. On average, the number of ronin years which maximizes the IRR is found to be somewhere between one and two years.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0346.pdf
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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 346.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 30 Nov 1999
Date of revision: 22 Aug 2000
Publication status: Published in Economics of Education Review, 2007, pages 271-284.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0346
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-(0)8-736 90 00
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Web page: http://www.hhs.se/
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  1. Hashimoto, Masanori & Raisian, John, 1985. "Employment Tenure and Earnings Profiles in Japan and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 721-35, September.
  2. Psacharopoulos, George, 1996. "Economics of education: A research agenda," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 339-344, October.
  3. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  4. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yoshi-Fumi Nakata & Carl Mosk, 1987. "The Demand for College Education in Postwar Japan," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(3), pages 377-404.
  6. Jacob Mincer & Yoshio Higuchi, 1987. "Wage Structures and Labor Turnover in the U.S. and in Japan," NBER Working Papers 2306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-43, Nov.-Dec..
  8. Johnson, George E & Stafford, Frank P, 1996. "On the Rate of Return to Schooling Quality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 686-91, November.
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