This chapter develops a comparative analysis of wage returns to adult
learning. Our analysis is guided by two main research questions. First, we
assess whether different forms of adult learning ensure different economic
rewards across 22 industrialized countries. Second, we are interested in
testing whether the cross-national variability in returns to adult learning is
systematically related to the institutional variation captured by the country
groupings illustrated in the first chapter of this volume.
This chapter focuses on a cross-sectional analysis of wage returns to adult
learning among employed persons, whereas the individual country chapters
provide a wealth of information on the potential consequences of adult learning
for access to employment, job mobility, and other career outcomes. Because
we do not have access to longitudinal comparative data on adult learning, we
must focus on wages at the time of the interview and on learning experiences
undertaken over the 12 months prior to the interview. This means that we
cannot trace the potential long-term economic consequences of participation
in adult learning. Despite this limitation, our data allow for a large-scale
analysis of wage returns to adult learning, thereby ensuring a high degree
of standardization and comparability, an accurate measurement of adult
learning, and detailed information to control for selection into adult learning.
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