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

Alan de Brauw () and Scott Rozelle

No 2006-03, Department of Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics, Williams College

Abstract: 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.

Pages: 37 pages
Date: 2006-03
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Published in Review of Development Economics, February 2008, v. 12, iss. 1, pp. 57-71.

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