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EDUCATION AND EARNINGS IN PAKISTAN
By Zafar Mueen Nasir and Hina Nazli∗

I. Introduction: The conventional theory of human capital developed by Becker (1962) and Mincer (1974) views education and training as the major sources of human capital accumulation that, in turn, have direct and positive effect on individuals’ life time earnings. In the Mincerian earning function, the coefficient of school years indicates the returns to education, i.e., how much addition in earnings takes place with an additional school year. There exists a wide range of literature that estimated the rates of returns to education for different countries [Pascharapoulos (1980; 1985; and 1994); Pascharapoulos and Chu Ng (1992)]1. In Pakistan, most of the nationally representative household surveys do not contain information on variables, such as, completed years of schooling, age starting school, literacy and numeracy skills, quality of schooling, and technical training. Due to the unavailability of completed school years, one can neither compute the potential experience nor observe the effect of an additional year of schooling on individual earnings. Therefore, the available literature in Pakistan is lacking in estimating the returns to education by using the Mincerian earning function2. In recent years, the government of Pakistan has started nation-wide survey, Pakistan Integrated Household Survey (PIHS), to address the imbalances in the social sector. This survey



The authors are Senior Research Economist and Research Economist at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Islamabad. 1 Pascharapoulos (1994) provide a comprehensive update of the estimated rates of returns to education at a global scale. He observed high social and private profitability of primary education (18%and 9% respectively) in all regions of world. The private rate of returns at this level were found highest in Asia (39%) as compared to other regions. He also noted a considerable increase in total earnings by an additional year of education in all regions of world; 13% in Sub-Saharan Africa; 10% in Asia; 12% in Europe/Middle East/North Africa; and 12% in Latin America/Caribbean. 2 At national level, only two studies are available in Pakistan that used the Mincerian earning function approach to examine the returns to education [see Shabbir and Khan (1991) and Shabbir (1994)]. However, both these studies are based on twenty years old data set.

2

provides rich information on the above mentioned variables that were missing in the earlier household surveys. This study uses the data of PIHS to examine the returns to education by using Mincerian earning function and thus aims to fill the vacuum that, due to the lack of appropriate data, exists in the literature on returns to education in Pakistan. In this paper we will first estimate the earning function with continuous school years with the assumption of uniform rate of returns for all school years. It is argued that different school years impart different skills therefore we extend our analysis to examine the addition in earning associated with extra years of schooling at different levels of education, i.e., how much increase in earnings takes place with an extra year of schooling at different levels, such as, primary, middle, matric, intermediate, bachelors and masters. By doing so we overcome the problem that exists in the available literature in Pakistan. To our knowledge no study has yet adopted this method to examine the returns to education in Pakistan3. The impact of technical training and school quality on the earnings of fixed salaried and wage earners will be examined in this study. Based on the available data in Pakistan, most of the studies, for example, Haque (1977), Hamdani (1977), Guisinger et al (1984), Khan and Irfan (1985), Ahmad, et al (1991); and Ashraf and Ashraf (1993a, 1993b, and 1996) estimated the earning functions by defining the dummy variables for different levels of... Show More

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