Independent schools in Britain employ a disproportionate share of teachers relative to the number of pupils they educate, and the gap between the independent and state sectors has been increasing. What's more, independent school teachers are more likely than state school teachers to possess postgraduate qualifications, and to be specialists in subjects such as Maths and Science where there are shortages of teachers.

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Dr Yu Zhu has recently been commissioned by the Economics Network of the Higher Education Academy to update statistics about earnings premia for various degree subjects from an earlier School for Education and Skills (DfES) Research Report, “The Return to Education Evidence from the Labour Force Survey” (Ian Walker and Yu Zhu, 2001).

The study uses data drawn from the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) between 1994 and 2006 to compare the earnings of all employees in England and Wales aged between 25-59 who have a first (bachelor) degree together with those that left school with at least two Advanced-level qualifications (the minimum qualifications required for admission to a UK university).

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Even though there are many more graduates in the work force than during the 1990s, across Britain the financial returns to a graduate education are holding up. But there are signs of increasing differentiation, with some graduates who do least well getting less of a wae-premium over non-graduates than used to be the case during the 1990s. This was the key finding of research by Professor Francis Green and Dr. Yu Zhu reported to senior academics and policy-makers at a joint meeting of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council in New Delhi on 4th December. According to Professor Green “going to university remains a very good investment, but the premium wage you receive is getting more varied as time goes on. From the financial point of view, choosing the right course and university continues to be important”.

The full paper can be found here.

It is announced that the BJIR Best Paper Award 2008 will be assigned to Francis Green for his paper “Leeway for the Loyal: A Model of Employee Discretion” published in BJIR (British Journal of Industrial Relations) March 2008 issue.

The award will be announced in the September 2009 issue of BJIR journal and the winning article and author will be profiled on the journal’s website – the article will be made available in electronic form.

The article “sheds new light on a topic of considerable interest to the Journal’s readers, namely the determinants of task discretion. At its heart is a parsimonious model which establishes the importance of employee loyalty in determining the amount of task discretion employees experience given employer concerns about workers’ preparedness to shirk. The theory is neatly elaborated and tested with linked employer-employee data in a way which is both compelling and fun to read.”