The rapid expansion of higher education in the late 1980s in Taiwan has resulted in a swift increase in the supply of highly-educated workers in the labor market. This research differs from past studies in that it analyzes the effect of the rapid expansion in higher education in Taiwan with emphasis on the cohort effect, specifically examining the effect of changes both in intra-cohort relative supply and the aggregate relative supply on college returns. Besides, when estimating the aggregate relative supply of college graduates, this study takes into account the substitutability between younger and older educated workers. We present evidence that the expansion policy has significantly depressed college premiums for workers of all ages, but the adverse effect is particularly concentrated among the younger cohorts. Furthermore, we found the elasticity of substitution between college and high school graduates to be 3-4 times higher than in developed countries. We also found the important role played by the demand side, likely linked to technological progress and changes in export structure toward the more technologically intensive. As a consequence, the expansion of higher education and increase in the relative demand for higher-educated workers, along with high elasticity of substitution between college and high school graduates, led to the rigid low college premiums.
- higher education expansion
- stagnant college wage premium