The Economic Returns to Higher Education in Chile: Revising the Foundations of 30 Years of Public Policies

Sergio Urzua , Estudios Públicos 125 , 2-52 , November 2012.

This paper presents new evidence of the role of higher education in social mobility. Based on simple economic principles, the text emphasizes the importance of analyzing the working conditions of those individuals who have recently gone through the system of higher education in Chile. The empirical results show that for a significant fraction, particularly those who do complete their degree, having gone through the system of higher education may not translate into better economic conditions. The analysis demonstrates the urgency of presenting more precise and comprehensive evidence of the true role of the system of higher education as driver of social mobility. Does the system of higher education contribute to social mobility? Of course it does, as long as the quality of education is secured and the student has the capacity to take advantage of it.

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