Do Group of Eight graduates earn more?

In full-fee markets, Group of Eight universities charge a large fee premium over their less prestigious competitors. But is this a good investment by students?

According to an article in the latest Australian Economic Review, reported on in the SMH this morning, the answer is no – at least for new graduates.

Using data from the 2003 starting salaries survey carried out by Graduate Careers Australia, UWA academics Elisa Rose Birch, Ian Li and Paul W. Miller found that while choice of industry (mining especially), occupation and having an honours degree all matter, once other factors are controlled for ‘university effects have only minimal impacts on graduates’ starting salaries’.

If this pattern persists as graduates’ careers continue, it would be remarkable: that the brand value of prestige institutions and the presumably higher average innate ability of Group of Eight graduates count for near-nothing in the labour market.
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