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University education and income – does prior achievement matter?


  • Wikström, Magnus

    () (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

  • Wikström, Christina

    () (Department of Applied Educational Science, Umeå University)


The purpose of this study is to find out if the income premium from university entrance differs with respect to prior achievement as measured by previous grades. Using income at the age of 28 to 30, we analyze if high-achievers have larger income premiums from entering university than low-achievers in a sample of Swedish upper secondary school students. We find that income differences generally are positive, albeit larger for females than for males. It is also found that the income premium is larger for high-achievers than for low-achievers. However, especially for males, the income premium rises only marginally with prior achievement for a large part of the grade distribution, indicating that there are only small differences in the returns to university entrance for a majority of upper secondary school graduates.

Suggested Citation

  • Wikström, Magnus & Wikström, Christina, 2011. "University education and income – does prior achievement matter?," Umeå Economic Studies 834, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0834

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    Premium; Predictive validity; Upper secondary GPA; Achievement; University entrance;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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