Returns to Education and Skills in the Labor Market: Evidence from Japan and Korea

22 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2017

See all articles by Jong-Wha Lee

Jong-Wha Lee

Korea University

Dainn Wie

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

This study investigates the determinants of skill proficiency, and the impact of adult skills on earnings, in Japan and Korea. Using the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies survey data, it shows that Japanese adults perform better than Korean respondents, on average, on skill proficiency tests. A decomposition analysis shows that the score gap in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving skills between the two countries is mostly due to different returns to individual characteristics such as upper‐secondary and tertiary education. Adult skills have a positive and significant impact on individual earnings and employment probability, in both countries. In Japan, the returns to literacy, numeracy, and problem‐solving skills increase significantly with experience, and tend to fall with formal education, suggesting employer learning or human capital accumulation through career progression. In contrast, in Korea, the returns to literacy and numeracy skills do not seem to increase with experience.

Keywords: adult skills, education, employer learning, Japan, Korea, wage

JEL Classification: I26, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jong-Wha and Wie, Dainn, Returns to Education and Skills in the Labor Market: Evidence from Japan and Korea (January 2017). Asian Economic Policy Review, Vol. 12, Issue 1, pp. 139-160, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2897874 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aepr.12169

Jong-Wha Lee (Contact Author)

Korea University ( email )

Anam-dong, Sungbuk-Ku
Dept. of Economics
Seoul, 136-701
82-2-3290-2216 (Phone)
82-2-928-4948 (Fax)

Dainn Wie

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies ( email )

7-22-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Tokyo, Tokyo 106-8677
Japan

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