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Is It Ever Too Late to Study?  The Economic Returns on Late Tertiary Degrees in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). (LNU)
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper addresses lifelong learning in tertiary education and its economic returns. Swedish tertiary education is open to older students, and labor market legislation supports employees who take a leave to study. The longitudinal data used for this analysis is based on annual population level registers from 1985 to 2003. Matching techniques are combined with panel data methods to account for non-random selection. Late degrees were found to increase the earnings rank by 15 percentiles on average. The largest effects were found in the lower parts of the earnings distribution.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37314OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-37314DiVA: diva2:298952
Available from: 2010-02-22 Created: 2010-02-22 Last updated: 2010-03-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Essays on Social Reproduction and Lifelong Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Essays on Social Reproduction and Lifelong Learning
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of four self-contained papers that deal with social reproduction and lifelong learning in Sweden and all use large-scale longitudinal data from public registers.

The first paper analyses inequality by class origin in programme choice at university. It is found that individuals of working class origin choose programs of shorter duration with lower grade point requirements closer to their parents’ home compared to individuals of higher class origin. Children of the higher class instead prefer programs with higher expected earnings and avoid non-traditional institutions. This inequality leads to non-negligible differences in expected labour market outcomes further on.

 The second paper examines the wage gap between individuals of working and higher class origin, given education. By using an unusually detailed measure of education, the net wage gap between classes is found to be considerably smaller compared to standard specifications. The wage gap is found to be relatively small in the public sector, and also somewhat smaller in large compared to small private firms, suggesting that bureaucracy may act as a leveller.

The third paper investigates the relation between economic inequality and the decision to take up studies at the tertiary level late in life. The results show the likelihood of a late entry to be especially high for individuals who are disadvantaged to a moderate extent in terms of current earnings rank and also had some unemployment experience.

The fourth paper addresses life-long learning in tertiary education and its economic returns. Matching techniques are combined with panel data methods to account for non-random selection. The results reveal average positive returns of considerable magnitude on late degrees; between 10 to 20 percentiles in the earnings distribution. The largest effects are found in the lower parts of the earnings distribution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University, 2010. 36 p.
Series
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 80
Keyword
class inequality, social stratification, educational choice, lifelong learning, returns on education
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37315 (URN)978-91-7447-017-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-04-23, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-03-31 Created: 2010-02-22 Last updated: 2012-01-17Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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