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From Martin Weale Madam: It is not a safe conclusion that a post-graduate degree adds to earning power (26 January). A 1990 study showed that, for men graduating with first-class degrees between 1972-77, the average earnings in 1987 for someone with a PhD were £13,100. With just a Master's degree this rose to £18,000, while the average graduate earned £20,900.

This is in part because people with post-graduate degrees choose worse-paid jobs, but studies still suggest that, even on a job-by-job basis, a post-graduate degree delivers lower pay.

Your reports of the benefits of post-graduate degrees appear to represent more a producer interest than any genuine assessment. Unless Master's degree courses have high failure rates, the fact that a student has taken such a degree provides no more information to an employer than is available about a student on graduation.

Yours sincerely, MARTIN WEALE Economics & Politics Faculty University of Cambridge