What should you know about the private returns to education?

Joop Hartog, Hessel Oosterbeek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Basic schooling model In this chapter, we focus on schooling as an investment in human capital. We present the core model in its most basic specification and derive implications for interpreting wage differentials by education as reflecting returns on the schooling investment. We briefly survey international evidence on estimated private rates of return and summarize our own contributions to that literature The basic human capital model of schooling envisages two options: (1) go to school for s years and earn an income Ys every year after leaving school, or (2) go to work right away and earn annual income Y0 (see figure 1.1). This makes the choice for schooling an investment problem. While in school, the student has forgone earnings of Y0 for every year in school and direct outlays for tuition, books, etc. of K per year. After leaving school the individual has benefits: in every working year, earnings are Ys rather than Y0. The gap in annual earnings is the dividend flowing on his investments. The internal rate of return is the discount rate that equates the present values of the two lifetime earnings flows. But as the above suggests, we can also take it as the dividend rate Ys - Y0 relative to the investment cost, composed of forgone earnings Y0 and direct outlays K for every year in school.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman capital
Subtitle of host publicationadvances in theory and evidence
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780511493416
ISBN (Print)0521873169, 9780521873161
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


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