In Depth

Love Island is more lucrative than a degree from Oxbridge

Economists find that appearing on hit ITV show boosts your lifetime earnings more than attending Oxford or Cambridge

A group of economists have revealed that appearing as a contestant on Love Island is more lucrative than a degree from Oxford or Cambridge.

Analysis by Frontier Economics, an economic consultancy, estimated that someone who appears on the show could expect to earn at least £1.1m from subsequent sponsorship and appearance fees, while completing an undergraduate Oxbridge degree would leave you with with a comparatively meagre average return of £815,000.

“If you’ve got an offer from Oxbridge and Love Island, you’re better off going on Love Island,” Kristine Dislere, who completed her masters degree in economics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, told the Financial Times.

In order to estimate how lucrative a stint on the show could be, Dislere and fellow economists made calculations based on a number of factors. These included the typical rates for sponsored Instagram posts, club appearances, how often they appear and how much their earnings will decrease every year.

According to Frontier Economics, contestants who have been in the villa for the full series can be expected to earn £2.3m over the next five years.

Winners can expect to earn more, but not much more. Their expected return is £2.4m.

Even for those slightly less lucky it's still a good proposition. Someone who is accepted onto the island (at any stage in the series) can expect to make an average of £1.1m once back out in the real world.

And it appears British school leavers “have instinctively come to a similar conclusion, with 85,000 applications to appear on the 2018 series, compared with only 37,000 applications for undergraduate degree courses at Oxford and Cambridge universities combined”, says the FT.

However, Dislere conceded, an academic path might actually be a better bet once acceptance rates are factored in. “One major thing we haven’t included are the odds of getting in [to Love Island], and the odds are stacked against you,” she said.

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