I am interested to know if online learning during the pandemic affected the returns to university education. Anecdotally, education quality suffered from online learning, I wonder if this harmed students' wages.

Is there any paper or report that tried to look at this topic empirically?

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    $\begingroup$ Seems like this would be impossible to learn, since only a short amount of time has passed, and there are many confounding variables that also changed significantly. Maybe five years from now? $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Apr 4, 2022 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ You may find it difficult to discover whether the class of 2020 performs worse than earlier and latter classes because of online education or simple gaps in education, or just because the economy behaved oddly when they entered the job market $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    Apr 6, 2022 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ I’ve recently read a working paper about this topic written by Emily Oster(professor at the Brown University) et al.. I hope it can help $\endgroup$
    – Tony
    Feb 2, 2023 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Tony can you give me link? $\endgroup$
    – csilvia
    Feb 13, 2023 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


There is a working paper by Emily Oster et al. (2022), Pandemic Schooling Mode and Student Test Scores: Evidence from U.S. School Districts. I guess you can find additional references in the paper's citations.


There have been several studies and reports that have examined the impact of online learning during the pandemic on the returns to university education. One such study is "The Impact of COVID-19 on College Student Employment and Earnings" by Alon et al. (2021), published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The study analyzes data from the Current Population Survey and finds that college students experienced significant disruptions in their employment and earnings during the pandemic, with larger negative effects for students from low-income backgrounds. While I couldn't find a specific paper or report that directly addresses the relationship between online learning quality and students' wages, you may find useful essays on the topic of education at the website https://phdessay.com/essay-type/definition/, I have seen some good essays there that discuss various aspects of learning. It can provide you with additional perspectives and insights related to the impact of online learning during the pandemic. Also, one notable paper in this regard is "The Economic Impacts of Learning Losses from COVID-19" by Akshay Shanker and Austan Goolsbee, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives in 2021.


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