Mind the Gap? Estimating the Effects of Postponing Higher Education
Posted: 2 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 2008
This paper estimates the effects on earnings of ‘gap years’ between high school and university enrollment. The effect is estimated by means of standard earnings functions augmented to account for gap years and a rich set of control variables using administrative Swedish data. We find that postponement of higher education is associated with a persistent and non-trivial earnings penalty. The main source of the persistent penalty appears to be the loss of work experience after studies. Two years postponement reduces the present value of lifetime earnings by nearly one half of one year's peak earnings.
JEL Classification: I23, J24, J31
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