Does it pay to be a good student? Results from the Swiss graduate labour market

Schweri, Jürg (March 2004). Does it pay to be a good student? Results from the Swiss graduate labour market (Discussion Papers 04-05). Bern: Department of Economics

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Surprisingly little is known about the relation between grades and wages. This relation is analysed using a sample of ca. 1’700 individuals that graduated in Swiss universities in 1998. Testing different operationalisations of the grade variable, we find a significant and robust effect of grades on the annual wage one year after graduation. When wage is specified as wage per actual hour of work, instead of formal hours of work, the effect becomes insignificant. Four years after graduation, however, grades have a higher and significant effect on wages based on formal working time as well as on wages based on actual working time. We conclude that people with higher grades get jobs with better
career prospects when entering the labour market. Thus, the wage effect of university graduates’ final grades is non-transitory and increasing over time. This finding calls for further research in the role that grades play in labour markets.

Item Type:

Working Paper


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics

UniBE Contributor:

Schweri, Jürg


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics


Discussion Papers


Department of Economics




Lars Tschannen

Date Deposited:

17 Aug 2020 07:59

Last Modified:

17 Aug 2020 07:59

Additional Information:

This paper has been prepared for the International ZA/IZA Seminar 2003 in Cologne: “The economics of schooling”, held by Thomas Bauer and Michael Fertig.

Uncontrolled Keywords:

university graduates, labor market, grades, wages

JEL Classification:

I20, J31, J44




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