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Author Ono, Hiroshi
Title For what it's worth: The value of college education in Japan
book jacket
Descript 275 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 60-08, Section: A, page: 3156
Advisers: Mary Brinton; Gary Becker; Kazuo Yamaguchi
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, 1999
The obsession over college prestige and the highly competitive environment of college entry in Japan suggests that college quality plays a significant role in how individuals prepare for college. College-bound high school students undergo examination hell, and typically over thirty percent will choose the ronin option, in which they spend years in addition to high school preparing for the next year's college entrance examinations. The pursuit of college quality can thus be captured as differential investments in human capital. Some persons invest in college quality more than others because they believe that these investments will be realized through higher returns
Using the mean scores of the entrance examinations of the colleges attended as a measure of college quality, my analysis finds that college quality significantly improved the internal rate of return (IRR) among the sample of male college graduates in Japan. Moreover, my results suggest that ronin has no direct impact on earnings in and of itself, but only as an indirect effect through its improvement in the quality of the college attended. My results also show that the IRR with respect to ronin is one of diminishing returns. While the improvement in college quality from ronin must increase at an increasing rate (since the cost of ronin increases at an increasing rate), in reality this improvement increases at a decreasing rate. On average, the number of ronin years which maximizes the IRR is found to be somewhere between one and two years
While assessing the true worth of college education is of obvious concern for students and their parents, equally important is the question: Who goes to college? Contrary to the meritocracy principle which maintains that the competition to enter college in Japan is open to all wishing to participate, I find that social origin factors such as parent's education and sibship size significantly affect the chances of an individual's advancing to college, and that the pathway to college resembles a tournament-like mobility where disqualified individuals are eliminated from the 'competition' as early as middle school. I also find supportive evidence that parents invest more in their son's education than their daughter's, which gives rise to differences in educational attainment between men and women in Japan
School code: 0330
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 60-08A
Subject Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Economics, Labor
Education, Higher
Alt Author The University of Chicago
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