Returns to Education and Social Class: Cross Sectional Evidence for Vocational and Academic Qualifications

Hermannsson, K. (2018) Returns to Education and Social Class: Cross Sectional Evidence for Vocational and Academic Qualifications. Centre for Vocational Education Research Conference, London, UK, 06-07 Sep 2018. (Unpublished)

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A wave of recent empirical work has uncovered a social class-wage gap in several advanced economies, where individuals from working class backgrounds get paid less than those with identical observable characteristics, but from a higher social class. This observation has been referred to as the "class ceiling" on account of similarities with the gender pay gap. Hitherto, this work has primarily focussed on individuals with graduate qualifications. I extend this analysis to the full range of qualifications in the UK labour market, separately identifying different levels of vocational and academic qualifications. This draws on a recent innovation in the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which contains a social class variable from 2014 onwards. This analysis shows that an average class wage gap masks heterogeneity in the severity of wage penalties across different social classes and educational routes. For individuals in the most disadvantaged group findings are mixed. Overall, the wage gaps observed for those with vocational qualifications are modest in magnitude (around 5%) and weakly statistically significant. For most academic qualifications the gap is strongly significant and ranges from 8% to 13%. A notable exception is undergraduate qualifications, for which interaction terms with class are not significant.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Keywords:Returns to education, social class, wage gap, vocational qualifications, academic qualifications.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hermannsson, Professor Kristinn
Authors: Hermannsson, K.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Author
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Author

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