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James Zuccollo, Senior Economist at Reform, has co-authored a Working Paper for the New Zealand Treasury that demonstrates the difficulty of measuring the returns to tertiary education.
The paper identifies a number of measurement issues with the OECD’s indicators. It shows that about half of the gap between New Zealand’s private returns and the OECD average can be explained by the way OECD private tertiary returns are measured—old tax rates, New Zealand’s higher employment rates, and compositional issues such as the mix of degrees and graduates in New Zealand—rather than a “real” gap.