Wenchao joined the IFS in 2010 as a Research Economist in the skills and education sector. She has investigated recent reforms to the Higher Education funding regime, the effects of the National Minimum Wage on young people and on firms, and the impact of Universal Credit. Her current research interests are in the labour market and labour productivity since the great recession.
MSc (Distinction) Economics, University College London, 2019
BA (1st Class) Economics, University of Cambridge, 2010
We show that observed behaviour can be rationalised by the fact that the shadow price of home-cooked food, which accounts for the fact that cooking takes time, has risen relative to the price of ready-to-eat food.
The proportion of UK people with university degrees tripled between 1993 and 2015. However, over the same period the time trend in the college wage premium has been extraordinarily flat. We show that these patterns cannot be explained by composition changes.
The UK higher education sector has expanded remarkably over the past three decades. In 1993, 13% of 25- to 29-year-olds had first degrees or higher degrees. By 2015, this had roughly tripled to 41%. Naturally, one may wonder whether the big expansion has reduced the economic returns to having a first degree. We have all heard stories about graduate unemployment and graduates employed in low-wage jobs. But what do the data show and what can we learn from history?
This evaluation compares the education outcomes of Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) participants (collected by SMF via participant questionnaires) with outcomes for a group of pupils with similar observable characteristics (such as performance at secondary school and neighbourhood context), observed in administrative data. This report focuses on the education outcomes for four cohorts of participants with the SMF: the first cohort featured entered the programme in 2009 (referred to as the 2009 cohort), the second in 2010, the third in 2011 and the fourth in 2012.
There has been heated debate over the increase in tuition fees to £9,000 a year for many students that occurred in 2012. But another major change to the support for disadvantaged students was introduced at the same time: not only were universities required to provide details of their proposed financial support schemes and access programmes before they were allowed to charge fees above £6,000, but also the government introduced a National Scholarship Programme (NSP), designed to offer additional financial support to students via their universities. Here we provide an in-depth analysis of the financial support that universities have been offering since 2012 and the likely consequences now that the government has announced that the NSP will no longer provide support for undergraduate students from 2015.
Nearly three-quarters of graduates will not clear their student loans before the end of the repayment period. This means the large majority of those who go to university aged 18 or 19 will still be paying off their loans well into their forties and early fifties. This article summarises a report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and funded by the Sutton Trust.