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Two years ago we built an American ranking using a similar methodology. In comparing the two countries, we find that the school grades of 18-year-olds are a closer predictor of future earnings in Britain than in America. This helps students, because earnings data can provide guidance about what to study, and where. It also helps policymakers, because the analysis shows that it is not always the famous universities that make the biggest difference. Focusing too much attention on elite universities may be ill-advised if much of their success is attributable to the calibre of students they attract. It can be better to study what goes on in Portsmouth and Aston than in Oxford and Cambridge.