Credential Changes and Education Earnings Premia in Australia
Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 11/08
Date: July 2008
We find that post-school education earnings premia have remained strikingly stable over the 1981 to 2003-04 period in Australia. This stability is in sharp contrast to the rising college premium observed in the US. The observed stability in Australia may in part be due to changes in the credentials earned by individuals entering certain professional occupations during the 1980s and early 1990s, particularly for females. We provide an estimate of the potential effect of within-occupation credential changes on estimates of education earnings premia in Australia over time. Our focus is on credential changes within the nursing and teaching professions, which have moved from predominately certificate and diploma qualifications to university bachelor’s degree or higher as the standard qualification.