June 2022

IZA DP No. 15379: A Note on Evaluating Formal Education for Adults

R & R: Economics of Education Review

Evaluations of adults in formal education (AE) are typically based on earnings measured 5-10 years after program enrollment. This paper estimates returns up to 24 years after enrollment, and explore results for 15 cohorts of first-time registered in AE in Sweden 1994-2008 with at least a 10-year follow-up period. The results indicate substantially higher payoffs in absolute terms after the maximum length of follow-up compared with after 10 years. There is also weak support that multiplier effects increase the percentage returns to AE over time, regardless of gender or whether the level of AE is college or high school.