Another Country That Has Oversold Higher Ed
Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Postsecondary Degrees: Evidence from Chile Loreto Reyes, Jorge Rodríguez, Sergio S. Urzúa
NBER Working Paper No. 18817 Issued in February 2013 NBER Program(s): ED LS
We analyze the economic returns to different postsecondary degrees in Chile. We posit a schooling decision model with unobserved ability, observed test scores and labor market outcomes. We benefit from administrative records to carry out our empirical strategy. Our results show positive average returns to postsecondary degrees, especially for five-year degrees. However, we also uncover a large fraction of individuals with realized negative net returns. Although psychic benefits of postsecondary education could rationalize this result, we argue this might also suggest that individuals lack information at the time schooling decisions are made. Finally, our findings illustrate the importance of allowing for heterogeneous treatment effects when making policy recommendations.
I would suppose that Chile has not gone nearly as far as the US in enrolling students who have minimal academic interest and ability.