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Returns to Education: A Non-Technical Summary of CEE Work and Policy Discussion

Authors: Barbara Sianesi
Date: 01 June 2003
Type: Mimeo,


We have compiled a non-technical and relatively brief policy summary of an extensive CEE research programme which has focused on the relative value of different academic and vocational qualifications in the British labour market, how this value differs for different subgroups of the population and how this value has changed over time. The potential policy implications of unexpectedly low returns and of wide differentials in the returns to different types of qualifications are then carefully discussed.

The most robust findings to date are that overall, returns to educational qualifications in terms of individual wages are sizeable and significant. Considerable variation was however uncovered in the wage returns to different types of qualification, with academic qualifications generally earning higher rewards. Furthermore, the returns to all qualifications have been found to have remained stable throughout the last decade for both men and women, the only exception being the disappearance of returns from very low grade GCSEs. Download full version

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