Who benefits most from a university degree?: A cross-national comparison of selection and wage returns in the US, UK, and Germany

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

December 15, 2017


Recent research on economic returns to higher education in the United States suggests that those with the highest wage returns to a college degree are least likely to obtain one. We extend the study of heterogeneous returns to tertiary education across multiple institutional contexts, investigating how the relationship between wage returns and the propensity to complete a degree varies by the level of expansion, differentiation, and cost of higher education. Drawing on panel data and matching techniques, we compare findings from the US with selection into degree completion in Germany and the UK. Contrary to previous studies, we find little evidence for population level heterogeneity in economic returns to higher education.

Published in

Research in Higher Education

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 58 , p.843 -878





Not held in Hilary Doughty Research Library - bibliographic reference only



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