Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update

Education Economics, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 111-134, August 2004

Posted: 8 Oct 2004

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper


Returns to investment in education based on human capital theory have been estimated since the late 1950s. In the 40-plus year history of estimates of returns to investment in education, there have been several reviews of the empirical results in attempts to establish patterns. Many more estimates from a wide variety of countries, including over time evidence, and estimates based on new econometric techniques, reaffirm the importance of human capital theory. This paper reviews and presents the latest estimates and patterns as found in the literature at the turn of the century. However, because the availability of rate of return estimates has grown exponentially, we include a new section on the need for selectivity in comparing returns to investment in education and establishing related patterns.

Keywords: Returns to human capital, earnings, earnings function, education

JEL Classification: C13, J31

Suggested Citation

Psacharopoulos, George and Patrinos, Harry Anthony, Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update. Education Economics, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 111-134, August 2004, Available at SSRN:

George Psacharopoulos

Georgetown University

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Harry Anthony Patrinos (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics