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

Estimating the External Returns to Education: Evidence from China

  • Wen Fan
  • Yuanyuan Ma

Good understanding on the human capital externalities is important for both policy makers and social science researchers. Economists have speculated for at least a century that the social returns to education may exceed the private returns. In this paper, using the longitudinal data from China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), we examine how individual wage changes associated with the share of college graduates in the same province across years for a person who has never moved by implementing individual fixed effects estimates. The individual fixed effect model shows that the external returns to education in China appear to be negative and on the order of -2%, which might be biased by potential endogeneity. Concerned with this problem, we then implement the IV fixed effect estimates and find positive external returns to education at about 10%. We also find this returns differ across individual heterogeneity.

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:
File Function: First version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201220.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201220
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
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. Rebecca Riley & Simon Kirby, 2007. "The external returns to education: UK evidence using repeated cross-sections," NIESR Discussion Papers 291, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  2. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
  3. Maurer-Fazio, Margaret, 1999. "Earnings and education in China's transition to a market economy Survey evidence from 1989 and 1992," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 17-40.
  4. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Why Are There Returns to Schooling?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 153-58, May.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:3:p:779-804 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2005. "Determinants of schooling returns during transition: Evidence from Chinese cities," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 244-264, June.
  8. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
  9. Fleisher, Belton M. & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Skill differentials, return to schooling, and market segmentation in a transition economy: the case of Mainland China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 315-328, February.
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:ucn:wpaper:201220. 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: (Nicolas Clifton)

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.