On the Measurement of Private Rates of Return to Education / Ein Ansatz zur Messung privater Bildungsrenditen

Dr. Stefan C. Wolter 1  and Dr. Bernhard A. Weber 2
  • 1 Schweizerische Koordinationsstelle für Bildungsforschung, Entfelderstraße 61, CH-5000 Aarau und Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung
  • 2 Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit, Bereich Arbeitsmarktpolitik, Bundesgasse 8, CH-3003 Bern


In many countries on the European continent, it is feared that public funding of tertiary education (university and non-university) leads to an undesirable redistribution of income “from the bottom up”. The calculation of private rates of return is one way of answering this and other questions. This article proposes a new model for calculating private rates of return to education, which on the one hand takes into account the influence of existing wage structures and such institutional factors as the cost of education and the fiscal system, and on the other hand produces results that are relatively easy to interpret at the economic policy level. The first empirical results for Switzerland indicate that once educational costs have been deducted, wage-earning advantages would be too insignificant for it to be possible to speak of redistribution of income „from the bottom up“ in any meaningful way.

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