The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Returns to Schooling

  • David Card
Reference work entry


The returns to schooling represent the incremental increase in earnings associated with an increase in schooling. Under assumptions first spelled out by Jacob Mincer in 1958, each additional year of schooling will lead to a percentage gain in earnings that is equal to the interest rate. More recent research has treated the return to schooling as a causal parameter that can vary across people, and by the level of education.


Ability bias Control functions Degree effects Equalizing differences Human capital earnings function Instrumental variables Mincer, J. Publication bias Returns to schooling Self-selection bias Treatment effect Wage differentials 

JEL Classifications

I2 J3 
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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Card
    • 1
  1. 1.