I say apparently because the study is not, at time of writing, on the IFS website, and I must rely on newspaper reports of their advance copies.
The research I did for my Masters back in the '90s looked at the lifetime earnings of a non-graduate occupation, a second fix joiner, with a level 3 - 5 BTEC. Hanging solid-core doors of 30kg - 35kg each, on piecework, from age 18, our chippie would progress from 4 or fewer doors a day to an average of 8, peaking at times at 10, and would maintain a level of about 6-8 until his early 50s, when the number would start to decline, at age 60 to the same level as the new entrant. Peak piecework earnings in their 20s and 30s could fund an extravagant lifestyle and consumerist consumption, but would decline rapidly as physical strength and stamina decreased.
Graduates on the other hand, from 1990s data, suffered low earnings in their teens and 20s but enjoyed sharply increasing incomes from their 30s onwards which did not plateau but continued to increase incrementally until well into their sixties, then tail off only slowly, unlike the sharp drop-off for manual occupations. The shape of the graphs seems to have stayed the same, with some useful additional refinements.
The new study shows differences between the sexes. Women's earnings grow more slowly than men's in their 30s and tend to plateau, whilst male earnings continue to climb. This is almost certainly due to childbirth and childcare effects - again, as I have reported previously, this also accounts for much of the 18% average overall earnings gap in the economy, only around 4% of which is attributable to taste discrimination.
The study also points out the benefits to the economy of the graduate premium -
Overall, the IFS found the government benefited from extra tax revenue and national insurance contributions of £110,000 per man and £30,000 per woman, over and above the costs of study to the government.And importantly, whilst the top 10% of male graduates enjoy a lifetime premium of £500,000 or more, the bottom 20% can actually lose money, their lifetime graduate premium being lower than the cost of their university maintenance and tuition costs.
This is all very bad news for Labour leadership candidate Kier Starmer standing right now on a platform of abolishing tuition fees - at a annual cost to the economy of £7.2bn - which would just make the rich richer, and even the incapable and mediocre in the bottom 20% come out evens. It would discriminate hugely against manual and non-graduate occupations, Labour's traditional voting base, and favour Labour's metropolitan elites of arts and media graduates. It is a suggestion that would fill the 'B' arks with graphic designers and telephone marketeers. And lose the next two elections.
Whilst there is a sort of mild hysteria in the media (metropolitan based and therefore liable to contract the virus themselves) about government unpreparedness and lack of special measures to protect journalists and BBC staffers, in Germany there is a sort of despair at the dreadful state of their own health readiness - and, as Der Spiegel writes