Returns to education and wage inequality in Pakistan

Ahmed Nawaz Hakro, Yaseen Ghulam, Shabbar Jaffry, Vyoma Shah

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    Return to education and wage inequality is widely debated in literature. A number of factors such as liberalization of labour and product markets, skill-biased technological change, labour force participation, taxes and economic policies are widely recognized for the rise and fall in wage inequalities. We investigate this association in post reform period in Pakistan, by using the Mincerian Wage quantile regression method on data set spread over three decades. The cross sectional data is extracted from government sponsored labour force surveys. Age, gender, experience, marital status, educational qualifications, wages and benefits along with household characteristics such as size, formal informal education, employment sectors, and moonlighting status are used as variables. The log of hourly wage is used as a dependent variable. The main finding confirms that education has indeed contributed to an increasing wage inequality due to significantly different levels of educational achievements in different quantile and increasing trend in wage dispersion with the same level of education. The wage inequality is higher at higher levels of education as compares to lower level of education across the wage distributions. The marginal return to education also indicates that return to different level of educational qualifications have increased over the time in three decades. However, overall return to education at different level of education has witnessed decreasing trend over the time. There is no evidence found which suggests that attainment of additional qualification has indeed any additional impact on earnings. The results also demonstrate there exists an interquartile regional wage inequality at all levels of education. Improving the quality, quantity, access and skills with increase in employment opportunities may likely address these wage inequalities. Policy makers need to address the wage inequality and social segregation by altering the resource gaps at different educational attainment by increasing the access to education and the increasing of participation of women workers into labour market. The social protection policies may further be targeted to workers who have low educational attainment and lower wage level by increasing the level of minimum wage and by increasing the access to basic services.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    JournalThe Journal of Developing Areas
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


    • Returns to education
    • Occupations
    • Human capital
    • Experience
    • Wage Inequality
    • Pakistan


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