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Reconciling the Returns to Education in Off-FarmWage Employment in Rural China

Previous studies have found that the returns to education in rural China are far lower than estimates for other developing economies. In this paper, we seek to determine why previous estimates are so low and provide estimates of what we believe are more accurate measures of the returns. Whereas estimates for the early 1990s average 2.3 percent, we find an average return of 6.4 percent. Furthermore, we find even higher returns among younger people, migrants,and for post-primary education. The paper demonstrates that, although part of the difference between our estimate and previous estimates can be attributed to increasing returns during the 1990s, a larger part of the difference is due to the nature of the data and the methodological approaches used by other authors.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/papers/debrauweducationpaper.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2006-03.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Review of Development Economics, February 2008, v. 12, iss. 1, pp. 57-71.
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2006-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Williamstown, MA 01267
Phone: 413 597 2476
Fax: 413 597 4045
Web page: http://econ.williams.edu
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  1. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Wang, Meiyan, 2008. "The great proletarian cultural revolution, disruptions to education, and returns to schooling in urban China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4729, The World Bank.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & David Zimmerman, 1993. "Estimates of the Return to Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons and Brothers," Working Papers 697, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Yang, Dennis Tao, 1997. "Education and Off-Farm Work," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 613-32, April.
  4. Samuel P.S. Ho & Xiao-Yuan Dong & Paul Bowles & Fiona MacPhail, 2002. "Privatization and enterprise wage structures during transition: Evidence from rural industry in china," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 10(3), pages 659-688, November.
  5. Jian Zhang & Linxiu Zhang & Scott Rozelle & Steve Boucher, 2006. "Self-Employment With Chinese Characteristics: The Forgotten Engine Of Rural China'S Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 446-458, 07.
  6. Yang, Dennis Tao & An, Mark Yuying, 2002. "Human capital, entrepreneurship, and farm household earnings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 65-88, June.
  7. Yaohui Zhao, 1997. "Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1278-1287.
  8. Brown, Philip H. & Park, Albert, 2002. "Education and poverty in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 523-541, December.
  9. meng, xin, 1994. "An examination of wage determination in China’s rural industrial sector," MPRA Paper 1344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. 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.
  11. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2001. "The Two-Tier Labor Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 485-504, September.
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