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Gender Differentials in the Payoff to Schooling in China


  • Ren, Weiwei

    () (University of Western Australia)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)


This paper examines the gender differential in the payoff to schooling in China. The analyses are conducted separately for rural and urban areas, and are based on a framework provided by the over education/required education/under education literature, and the decomposition developed by Chiswick and Miller (2008). It shows that the payoff to correctly matched education in rural China is much higher for females than for males. Associated with this, the wage penalty where workers are under qualified in their occupation is greater for females than for males. Both of these factors are shown to be linked to the higher payoff to schooling for females than for males. Over educated females, however, are advantaged compared with their male counterparts, though this has little effect on the differential in the payoff to schooling between males and females in rural China. These findings are interpreted using the explanations offered for the gender differential in the payoff to schooling in the growing literature on earnings determination in China. The payoffs to actual years of schooling for males and females in urban China are remarkably similar in this study.

Suggested Citation

  • Ren, Weiwei & Miller, Paul W., 2010. "Gender Differentials in the Payoff to Schooling in China," IZA Discussion Papers 5179, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5179

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    More about this item


    rates of return; earnings; schooling; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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