Is There a Premium for Elite College Education : Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Japan
- Is There a Premium for Elite College Education : Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Japan
- Kim, Taejong; Okita, Yoichi
- human capital; college education; elite college; public sector labor market; credentialism
- Issue Date
- Series/Report no.
- KDI Working Paper Series;04-18
- In a dramatic move to confront the prolonged and often violent student protests, the
Japanese government ordered that every student repeat the school year at the University
of Tokyo in 1969. The directive had the inadvertent effect of denying those
graduating from high school in that year an opportunity to seek admission to the nation’s
foremost institution of higher education. This paper uses the highly unusual
event as a natural experiment to examine whether graduates from the elite Tokyo
university receive a preferential treatment in hiring and promotion in the high civil
service. The University of Tokyo traditionally predominates as the chief supplier of
elite bureaucrats. As a result of the 1969 incident, however, the entering class in the
high civil service four years later in 1973 contained a significantly lower proportion of
graduates from the University of Tokyo than in usual years. Comparing the career
experiences of the entering class of 1973 with those of adjacent entry cohorts, we do
find some evidence that where one went to school may matter in the hiring stage, but
no significant evidence for a similar favoritism in promotion in later stages.
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