Portugal is one of the EU-27 and OECD countries where tertiary education brings more economic benefits.    

In Portugal the population who have concluded tertiary education earn 69% more than those who did not go beyond upper-secondary, post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED 3-4). Among the countries presented in Table 1, Brazil is the one in which this premium is higher: 156%. In the United States, this indicator is up to 79%, while the OCED average is 53%. In Northern Europe countries, but also in New Zeland, the premium of tertiary education is less than 30%.

The countries where people get higher earnings premiums for having tertiary education tend to be the ones in which people who did not concluded secondary education (ISCED 2) have lower relative earnings. In Brazil, people who have low school education earn 47% less than people who have upper-secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education. In the United States and in Portugal this indicator reaches 36% and 32%, respectively, while the OECD average stands at 23%. In Finland this inequality is minimal: 7%.

Originally published in Observatory of Inequalities, 2012

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