Economics of Education

The London Economics’ Education team has wide experience across the entire education arena, having undertaken many high profile projects ranging from the evaluation of early years policy interventions to the analysis of further and higher education funding systems.

Our clients include central government Departments and Non-Departmental Public Bodies, the European Parliament, European Commission and OECD, as well as educational institutions, mission groups and associations.

We make use of a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies and approaches to answer a range of research questions including:

  • Literature reviews and information gathering
  • Survey design and primary data collection
  • Administration of choice experiments and contingent valuation
  • Analysis of large matched data sets
  • Sophisticated econometric analysis
  • Cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis

With these approaches, the Education team provide insights into a range of educational issues including:

  • The role of personal and socioeconomic characteristics on educational attainment
  • Employer demand for education and training
  • International comparisons of education and training systems
  • The labour market outcomes associated with educational attainment
  • The economic benefits to the Exchequer associated with education funding
  • The deadweight loss associated with publicly funded training
  • The spillovers associated with the skills system
  • The (non-economic) wider benefits associated with education and training
  • The role of information in determining university selection
  • The evaluation of government programmes promoting education and training

Recent projects

Our expertise has been trusted by a wide range of clients in both the public and private sector. We consider all the work that we undertake to form the basis of a long term relationship with our clients and many of our clients return regularly for further analysis and research. Some of our recent research includes:

Department for Education

  • Assessment of the impact of training on firm level productivity (RR 177 here)
  • Impact of the National Careers Service on earnings, employment and benefit dependency (RR 672 here)
  • Assessing the impact of prisoner learning on labour market outcomes (forthcoming)
  • Disaggregated analysis of the impact of vocational qualifications (RR 106 here)
  • The wider impact of further education and learning (RR 104 here)
  • An evaluation of UK National Careers (Next Step) Service (RR 97 here)
  • Impact of intangible assets on productivity (RR 74 here)
  • Estimating the impact of vocational qualifications on productivity (RR 72 here)
  • Estimating the deadweight loss associated with FE and Skills (RR 71 here)
  • Returns to intermediate and low level vocational qualifications (RR 53 here)
  • Impact of skills on earnings, employment and benefit dependency (RR 47 here)
  • The returns to higher education qualifications (RR 45 here)
  • Estimating the value of educational exports for the UK (RR 46 here)
  • International higher education student support systems (RR-10 here)
  • Private fee contributions and the demand for FE (BIS RR 01 here)
  • An evaluation of NCTL marketing expenditure (fortchcoming)
  • An assessment of SEN dispute resolution and mediation services (RR 104 here)
  • Assessing the economic returns to ‘A’ Levels (here)
  • An evaluation of the Parenting Effectiveness Intervention Programme (here)
  • Methodology for the evaluation of the Extended Schools programme (here)
  • A review of costs and benefits associated with parenting interventions (here)
  • An evaluation of Health and Support for Separated Families (HSSF) (forthcoming)


  • A critique of Education at a Glance indicator A9 (returns to higher education)
  • An exploratory analysis of PIACC Skills data
  • The economic returns to literacy, numeracy and ICT skills (here)


  • Behind the Headlines – Are the changes to higher education funding cost-effective? (here)
  • Behind the Headlines – Do the alternatives add up? (here)
  • Assessing the economic rationale of a Graduate Tax (here)

Institute for Public Policy Research

  • A Critical path: Securing the future of higher education in England (here)
  • Reaching Higher: An assessment of the costs of postgraduate loans (here)

The Open University

  • Assessing the economic impact of The Open University across the UK (unpublished)

Cardiff University

  • The economic and social impact of Cardiff University (here)
  • The economic and social impact of Cardiff University: 2014-15 update (here)

University of Birmingham

  • The economic and social impact of the University of Birmingham (here)

Anglia Ruskin University

  • The economic and social impact of Anglia Ruskin University (forthcoming)

University and College Union

  • Resource benchmarking in higher and further education (here)
  • The impact of casualisation on teaching ‘quality’ (forthcoming)

UNISON/ National Union of Students

  • The impact of HE tuition fees and funding amendments on allied health professions (here)

Sixth Form College Association

  • Assessing value for money in 6th Form education (here)
  • Assessing value for money in 6th Form education in London

Higher education Policy Institute

  • It’s the finance stupid (here)
  • The determinants of international demand for UK higher education (here)

UK Commission for Employment and Skills

  • The death of the Saturday job (here)