CME Profs in National News
November 24, 2006
Source: University of Guelph
The research of three University of Guelph economists is featured today in the National Post and in several other Canadian newspapers.
A newspaper article, distributed by CanWest, says that it pays more for women to earn a university degree than it does for men, based on the findings of a new study by Guelph College of Management and Economics professors Michael Hoy, Louis Christofides and doctoral student Ling Yang.
University degrees pay off for women
Higher education worth more in pay, researchers find
Sarah Schmidt, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, November 24, 2006
OTTAWA --Women dominate university enrolment because it pays more for them to earn a degree than it does for men, new research suggests.
Noting women's participation in university has outpaced men for the last three decades, including at an especially quick rate in the 1990s, Statistics Canada set out to understand why women now fill six out of 10 undergrad spots in the country's universities.
The study, released yesterday, found the university premium for women between 1977 and 1992 was 16 per cent higher than for men. Between 1993 and 2003, it was even higher for women, at 22 per cent.
In other words, a woman with a university degree in 1977 earned $1.88 for each dollar earned by a woman with a high school diploma, while the ratio for men was $1.63 to one dollar. By 2003, the better educated women earned $2.73 for every dollar earned by female high school graduates; for men, it was $2.13 to one dollar.
This higher premium for women explains a large part of why women outnumber men at university, the study concludes.
"It appears that most of the explainable gender imbalance in attending university comes from the increasing difference in the university premium between women and men," University of Guelph economists Michael Hoy, Louis Christofides and Ling Yang write in their Statistics Canada study.
In an interview, Hoy said the findings just make sense.
"We're just saying if it pays more to go to university, then we'd expect people to be more inclined to go university.
"Women are responding to the incentive. The incentive is big for males too, but it's bigger for females and it's been growing faster than for males."
The report also weighs in on controversial ideas floated by some to address a perceived problem of the gender imbalance at Canadian universities.
"Others have suggested possible problems arising from this gap, such as the difficulty that highly educated women will have in marrying men of equally high education levels.
"However, it is not clear that there is any role for policy in removing this cause of the imbalance (for example, the higher returns for women) or to subsidize more highly the cost of education for males," the university study states.
Hoy added in an interview, "Women have worse opportunities than men if they don't get to university.
"From a social justice point of view, we should want more women to get to university."
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006