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Returns to education for the 'marginal learner' evidence from the BCS70

Lorraine Dearden, Leslie McGranahan and Barbara Sianesi
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To inform educational policy, it is often more relevant to know the returns to educational investments that accrue (or would have accrued) to the marginal entrant in education, rather than to the average learner.

In this paper, we focus on two key educational choices and estimate the corresponding individual wage returns for variously defined marginal learners, in particular:

  1. the returns to staying on in full-time education past the age of 16 for the marginal stayer;
  2. the returns to completing any form of higher education (HE) compared to at least level 2 for the marginal entrant in HE who holds at least level 2 qualifications.

Where appropriate, we contrast these results to those for the returns to HE compared to anything less.