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The Returns to Education in China: Evidence from the 1986 Compulsory Education Law

Author

Listed:
  • Hai Fang
  • Karen N. Eggleston
  • John A. Rizzo
  • Scott Rozelle
  • Richard J. Zeckhauser

Abstract

As China transforms from a socialist planned economy to a market-oriented economy, its returns to education are expected to rise to meet those found in middle-income established market economies. This study employs a plausible instrument for education: the China Compulsory Education Law of 1986. We use differences among provinces in the dates of effective implementation of the compulsory education law to show that the law raised overall educational attainment in China by about 0.8 years of schooling. We then use this instrumental variable to control for the endogeneity of education and estimate the returns to an additional year of schooling in 1997-2006. Results imply that the overall returns to education are approximately 20 percent per year on average in contemporary China, fairly consistent with returns found in most industrialized economies. Returns differ among subpopulations; they increase after controlling for endogeneity of education.

Suggested Citation

  • Hai Fang & Karen N. Eggleston & John A. Rizzo & Scott Rozelle & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2012. "The Returns to Education in China: Evidence from the 1986 Compulsory Education Law," NBER Working Papers 18189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18189 Note: ED LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions," Monash Economics Working Papers 33-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:6:p:1046-1086 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:97:y:2017:i:c:p:313-329 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Xie, Shiqing & Mo, Taiping, 2014. "The impact of education on health in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-18.
    5. Alejandro J. Ganimian & Richard J. Murnane, 2014. "Improving Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: Lessons from Rigorous Impact Evaluations," NBER Working Papers 20284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. La, Vincent, 2014. "Does Schooling Pay? Evidence from China," MPRA Paper 54578, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Willem Thorbecke, 2015. "Enjoying the Fruits of Their Labor: Redirecting Exports to Asian Consumers," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 32(2), pages 95-114, September.
    8. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:27-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Emran,M. Shahe & Sun,Yan - GSP05, 2015. "Are the children of uneducated farmers doubly disadvantaged ? farm, nonfarm and intergenerational educational mobility in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7459, The World Bank.
    10. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Murat G. Kirdar, 2017. "Low Wage Returns to Schooling in a Developing Country: Evidence from a Major Policy Reform in Turkey," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(6), pages 1046-1086, December.
    11. Tyers, Rod, 2014. "Looking inward for transformative growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 166-184.
    12. Thorbecke, Willem, 2016. "Understanding Chinese consumption goods imports," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 96-102.
    13. Rod Tyers, 2012. "Looking Inward for Transformative Growth in China," CAMA Working Papers 2012-15, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    14. Ragui Assaad & Abdurrahman Aydemir & Meltem Dayioglu & Guray Kirdar, 2016. "Returns to Schooling in Egypt," Working Papers 1000, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2016.
    15. Leyla Mocan, 2014. "The Impact of Education on Wages: Analysis of an Education Reform in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1424, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    16. Emran, M. Shahe & Sun, Yan, 2014. "Are the Children of Uneducated Farmers Doubly Doomed? Farm, Nonfarm and Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Rural China," MPRA Paper 59230, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. LEE, Jong-Wha & Wie, Dainn, 2017. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials in China and India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 313-329.
    18. Simone Balestra & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2013. "Heterogeneous Returns to Education Over Wage Distribution: Who Profits the Most?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0091, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Dec 2013.
    19. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 2001-2010: Evidence from Three Waves of the China Urban Labor Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 50-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    20. Castro Campos, Bente & Ren, Yanjun & Petrick, Martin, 2016. "The impact of education on income inequality between ethnic minorities and Han in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 253-267.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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