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Returns to education across Europe: A comparative analysis for selected EU countries

  • Glocker, Daniela
  • Steiner, Viktor

Incentives to invest in higher education are affected by both the direct wage effect of human capital investments and the indirect wage effect resulting from lower unemployment risks and shorter spells in unemployment associated with higher educated. We analyse the returns to education in Austria, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom, countries which differ significantly regarding both their education systems and labour market structure. We estimate augmented Mincerian wage equations accounting for the effects of unemployment on individual wages using EU-SILC data. Across countries we find a high variation of the effect of education on unemployment duration. Overall, the returns to education are estimated to be the highest in the UK, and the lowest for Sweden. A wage decrease due to time spent in unemployment results in a decline in the hourly wages in Austria, Germany and Italy.

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Paper provided by Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2011/15.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201115
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  1. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Financial Student Aid and Enrollment into Higher Education: New Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 805, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," Working Papers 808, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Frank Fossen & Daniela Glocker, 2011. "Expected future earnings, taxation, and university enrollment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 688-723, December.
  5. Orley Ashenfelter & John C. Ham, 1979. "Education, Unemployment and Earnings," Working Papers 501, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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