The impact of grade inflation on higher education enrolment and earnings

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The impact of grade inflation on higher education enrolment and earnings. / Nordin, Martin; Heckley, Gawain; Gerdtham, Ulf.

I: Economics of Education Review, Vol. 73, 101936, 01.12.2019.

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The impact of grade inflation on higher education enrolment and earnings

AU - Nordin, Martin

AU - Heckley, Gawain

AU - Gerdtham, Ulf

PY - 2019/12/1

Y1 - 2019/12/1

N2 - This study examines the consequences of grade inflation at the upper secondary education level on enrolment in higher education and earnings for Sweden. Although grade inflation is unfair and may imply inefficient allocation of human resources, current knowledge of grade inflation effects on individual outcomes is scarce. One explanation is probably the challenge of measuring and estimating causal grade inflation effects. We find that grade inflation at the school level affects earnings mainly through choice of university and the chosen field of education, rather than through enrolment per se, because attending universities of higher quality and pursuing high-paying fields of education have a substantial impact on earnings. On the other hand, high-skilled students attending upper secondary schools without grade inflation and, unexpectedly, low-skilled women attending “lenient” schools are harmed by this. This causes extensive unfairness and, plausibly, detrimental welfare effects.

AB - This study examines the consequences of grade inflation at the upper secondary education level on enrolment in higher education and earnings for Sweden. Although grade inflation is unfair and may imply inefficient allocation of human resources, current knowledge of grade inflation effects on individual outcomes is scarce. One explanation is probably the challenge of measuring and estimating causal grade inflation effects. We find that grade inflation at the school level affects earnings mainly through choice of university and the chosen field of education, rather than through enrolment per se, because attending universities of higher quality and pursuing high-paying fields of education have a substantial impact on earnings. On the other hand, high-skilled students attending upper secondary schools without grade inflation and, unexpectedly, low-skilled women attending “lenient” schools are harmed by this. This causes extensive unfairness and, plausibly, detrimental welfare effects.

KW - Earnings

KW - Grade inflation

KW - Higher education

KW - Upper-secondary education

KW - I2

KW - I21

KW - J24

U2 - 10.1016/j.econedurev.2019.101936

DO - 10.1016/j.econedurev.2019.101936

M3 - Article

VL - 73

JO - Economics of Education Review

JF - Economics of Education Review

SN - 1873-7382

M1 - 101936

ER -