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The Changing Pattern of Returns to Education: What Impact Will This Have on Inequality?

Harry Patrinos ()

No 8866, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: The pattern of economic rates of return to investments in education can help us to understand the benefits of schooling. It was common knowledge that the returns to education were highest for the primary level of education and lower for subsequent levels. Recent evidence suggests that the pattern has changed. Since the 1980s, the returns to schooling overall have increased. The returns to higher education have increased the most. The fact that the more educated have improved their position, despite an increase in their numbers, must mean that the demand for more educated workers has increased more than supply over time, causing an increase in the overall returns to schooling. Possible reasons include technological change favoring higher-order skills, increased coverage at lower levels of schooling, and the quality of schooling.

Date: 2019-05-28
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