IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Provincial Returns to Education for 21 to 35 year-olds: Results from the 1991-2006 Canadian Analytic Censuses Files


  • Emanuelle Bourbeau
  • Pierre Lefebvre
  • Philip Merrigan


This paper examines the evolution of the returns to education and experience from 1990 to 2005 in Canada and across the provinces. The focus is on the earnings of young adults, age 21 to 35 at the times of the Censuses, classified by very detailed education groups, age and gender. Returns to higher education are very different across provinces and are particularly high in the western part of the nation. Over time, they are quite stable, but they are increasing for females in 2005 relative to 2000 in particular Bachelor’s degree and higher degrees. This is surprising given the very important increase in the supply of well educated females since 1991. These returns can explain partially why so many young women turned to higher education over time. It is also surprising that males have not followed suit, given that the returns are just as high for them as for women. Yet, the returns for university education are much higher than the returns for college or CEGE. Also, returns for trade degrees are much higher for males than for females. The male-female gap in higher education will certainly help to reduce the wage gap between genders, however, public policy must be concerned by the difference between male and female participation in higher education.

Suggested Citation

  • Emanuelle Bourbeau & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2011. "Provincial Returns to Education for 21 to 35 year-olds: Results from the 1991-2006 Canadian Analytic Censuses Files," Cahiers de recherche 1106, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1106

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    2. Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas & Riddell, Craig, 2008. "The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2006," Economics working papers craig_riddell-2008-15, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Oct 2008.
    3. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2010. "Labour Outcomes of Graduates and Dropouts of High School and Post-secondary Education: Evidence for Canadian 24- to 26-year-olds in 2005," Cahiers de recherche 1045, CIRPEE.
    4. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias-Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 661-700, July.
    5. Brahim Boudarbat & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2010. "The Evolution of the Returns to Human Capital in Canada, 1980-2005," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 36(1), pages 63-89, March.
    6. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
    7. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Ana M. Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2002. "The role of credentials in the Canadian labour market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 879-905, November.
    9. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2010. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 244-262, May.
    10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    11. Michele Campolieti & Tony Fang & Morley Gunderson, 2010. "Labour Market Outcomes and Skill Acquisition of High-School Dropouts," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 39-52, March.
    12. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2001. "Family Matters: Impacts of Family Background on Educational Attainments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 137-156, May.
    13. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
    14. Drolet, Marie, 2005. "Participation aux etudes postsecondaires au Canada : le role du revenu et du niveau de scolarite des parents a-t-il evolue au cours des annees 1990?," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2005243f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    15. Corak, Miles & Lipps, Garth & Zhao, John, 2003. "Revenu familial et participation aux etudes postsecondaires," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2003210f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    16. Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007295e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    17. Boudarbat, Brahim, 2004. "Earnings and Community College Field of Study Choice in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 1156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Human Capital; Wage Differentials; Returns to Education; Young Workers; Canadian Provinces; Gender;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1106. 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: (Manuel Paradis). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.