IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Mind the Gap? Estimating the Effects of Postponing Higher Education

  • Holmlund, Bertil


    (Department of Economics)

  • Liu, Qian


    (Department of Economics)

  • Nordström Skans, Oskar


    (Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU))

This paper estimates the effects on earnings of “gap years” between high school and university enrollment. The effect is estimated by means of standard earnings functions augmented to account for gap years and a rich set of control variables using administrative Swedish data. We find that postponement of higher education is associated with a persistent and non-trivial earnings penalty. The main source of the persistent penalty appears to be the loss of work experience after studies. The reduction of lifetime earnings associated with two years postponement of higher education amounts to 40-50 percent of annual earnings at age 40.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006:17.

in new window

Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 15 Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Oxford Economic Papers., 2008, pages 683-710.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2006_017
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Todd, Petra E., 2005. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," IZA Discussion Papers 1700, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Nordström Skans, Oskar & Liljeberg, Linus, 2005. "Causal effects of subsidized career breaks," Working Paper Series 2005:17, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  4. Gronau, Reuben, 1988. "Sex-Related Wage Differentials and Women's Interrupted Labor Careers--The Chicken or the Egg," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 277-301, July.
  5. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
  6. V. Joseph Hotz & Lixin Xu & Marta Tienda & Avner Ahituv, 1999. "Are There Returns to the Wages of Young Men from Working While in School?," JCPR Working Papers 101, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. Monks, James, 1997. "The impact of college timing on earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 419-423, October.
  8. Nordström Skans, Oskar & Edin, Per-Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 2006. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within Plants: Sweden 1985-2000," Working Paper Series 2006:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Todd, Petra E., 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," IZA Discussion Papers 775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Joseph G. Altonji, 1991. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes are Uncertain," NBER Working Papers 3714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alan S. Blinder & Yoram Weiss, 1975. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," NBER Working Papers 0067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Mary Corcoran & Greg J. Duncan & Michael Ponza, 1983. "A Longitudinal Analysis of White Women's Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(4), pages 497-520.
  14. Audrey Light, 1995. "The Effects of Interrupted Schooling on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 472-502.
  15. Albrecht, J & Edin, P-A & Sundstrom, M & Vroman, S-B, 1996. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earning : A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Papers 1996-23, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  16. Comay, Yochanan & Melnik, A & Pollatschek, M A, 1973. "The Option Value of Education and the Optimal Path for Investment in Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 421-35, June.
  17. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, December.
  18. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-54, January.
  19. Mary Corcoran & Greg J. Duncan, 1979. "Work History, Labor Force Attachment, and Earnings Differences between the Races and Sexes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 3-20.
  20. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2001. " Determinants of Degree Performance in UK Universities: A Statistical Analysis of the 1993 Student Cohort," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 29-60, February.
  21. Griliches, Zvi, 1980. " Schooling Interruption, Work While in School and the Returns from Schooling," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 82(2), pages 291-303.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2006_017. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Katarina Grönvall)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.