Economic Crises and Returns to University Education in Middle-Income Countries: Stylized Facts and COVID-19 Projections


In this study, we develop a conceptual framework that explains the reasons behind a widening of the gaps in private rates of return to university education during an economic crisis such as COVID-19. Next, we report stylized facts on the private rates of return to university education before and after economic crises in Indonesia, Pakistan, and South Africa. We further conduct panel regression analysis to assess the statistical significance of the relationship between private returns and crises in the three countries. We conclude by speculating on COVID-19 implications and future research.