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CVER Research Paper
A comparison of earnings related to higher level vocational/technical and academic education
Hector Espinoza and Stefan Speckesser April 2019
Paper No' CVERDP019:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I21; I24; I26; J64

Tags: returns to education; tertiary education; high-level technical education; vocational education; administrative data.

Using rich administrative data for a full cohort of English secondary school leavers (2002/03 academic year), we compare earnings of people with higher vocational/technical qualifications to the earnings of degree holders at the age of 30, while controlling for prior attainment and background characteristics. We find that by the age of 30 the early earnings differential associated with high-level vocational/technical education tends to disappear and degree holders earn more on average. However, there is strong heterogeneity by gender and subject area. There are especially high returns related to higher vocational/technical education in STEM subjects, which remain significantly above those of many degree holders several years after graduation.