Three essays on investment in human capital in Canada

Authors: Savadogo, Aboudrahyme
Advisor: Fortin, BernardDuclos, Jean-Yves
Other Title(s): 3 essays on investment in human capital in Canada
Abstract: This thesis investigates investment in human capital in Canada including the contribution of financial assistance to students, the profitability of investment in postsecondary education and the income redistribution. It is divided in five chapters. The first chapter presents a chronological survey of microeconomics studies on investment in human capital. It also summarizes Canadian studies on investment in education and highlights the main limitations of these studies, particularly in terms of how they disregard the heterogeneity of grant and tax system among Canadian provinces and the sharing of benefits and costs of investment in education in Canada. The second chapter presents the methodology of measurement of returns to education and gains from investment in education. It describes data used the results of the econometric regressions. Finally, the chapter presents SIMAID, a calculator of financial assistance to students developed for the purpose of this dissertation with the aim to estimate the amount of grant to which each student is entitled to according his/her personal and family characteristics. In its first section, the third chapter reports social, private and public returns to education and shows that returns vary across provinces, fields of study, gender and cohort of birth year and decline with respect to the level of education. In its second section, the chapter shows a positive impact of financial assistance on returns to a B.A. degree of 24.3% and 9.5% in Quebec and Ontario respectively. Finally, the chapter indicates that a substitution of Quebec’s grant system with Ontario’ssystem decreases private returns to a B.A. degree by -11.9% while a change of Quebec’s tax for Ontario’s system raises private returns to a B.A. degree by +4.5%. The combined effect of both a change of grant and tax systems on private returns to a B.A. is a 7.4% decline. The fourth chapter provides a detailed title-by-title accounting decomposition of social, private and public gains from investment in education. The social gain from an investment in a B.A. degree is $738,384 dollars in Quebec and $685,437 in Ontario. This gain varies from one field of study to another, with the lowest level in the humanities and the highest level in engineering studies. The chapter shows that the sharing of benefits from investment in education between individuals and government regarding the sharing of costs is more equitable in Ontario than in Quebec. Indeed, an individual who invests in education in Quebec supports 51.6% of the total costs of investment and earns 64.8% of the social gain while the same individuals will support 62.9% of social costs and earn 62.2% of social gain if he/she invest in education in Ontario. Finally, the fifth chapter reports on and analyzes the redistributive effects of taxes and transfers due to investment in education. It also investigates whether or not the financial assistance to students program is actually in favour of the poorest individuals. The argument from which a grant is provided to poor individual is overturned when analyzing the distribution of permanent income. Indeed, we find that 79% of grant beneficiaries are in the richest quintile (Q5) of permanent incomes. The chapter also shows that investment in education positively impacts the redistributive effect in 2006, 2001 and 1996 and negatively in 1991 and 2011. The impact is also observable on the components of the redistributive effects. However, its sensitivity to the discount rate varies with respect to the index used in the analysis.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2016
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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