Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education: Accounting for Enrolment and Completion Effects

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 04/11

Date: March 2011


Nicolas Hérault
Rezida Zakirova


This paper contributes to the literature by separately analysing the signalling (or sheepskin) effects of the enrolment in and the completion of vocational education and training as well as higher education. Moreover, we investigate the persistence of these sheepskin effects over time. We take advantage of the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth, which contains comprehensive information about completed and uncompleted courses and subsequent labour market outcomes. We find that signalling effects form a substantial part of the total return to education but that they vary by type of course. In addition, we show that both course attendance and course completion contribute to the overall signalling effects.

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