Signaling Value of Education

Education serves as an important tool for indirectly communicating personal characteristics to others. People make judgments about one another in the absence of extensive background knowledge based on the significant symbolic meaning that education and educational qualifications have in society. In the labor market, education is able to distinguish a worker by underscoring that individual’s personal abilities for potential employers. This advantage that education often bestows on individuals in both society and the labor market is referred to as the signaling value of education.

Early conceptualizations of the signaling value of education focused heavily on the value of educational qualifications. However, more recent work reveals that the signaling value of education encompasses many variables associated with formal study. Factors such as the number of years taken ...

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