This paper is the first of a series that assesses the impact of education on labor market outcomes in Peru using data from the Peruvian Living Standards Survey that was conducted between June 1985 and July 1986. The present study concentrates on factors that affect wages and school attainment of male wage and salary earners. Particular attention is given to assessing the effects of formal schooling and parental education on wages, and to the effects of primary school quality and parental education on school attainment. The analysis (1) presents estimates of rates of return to schooling, (2) assesses the effects of parental education on wages and school attainment, and (3) examines regional differences in wage structures. It also explores the impact of non-market forces on pay structures by considering sector of employment and the effects of firm size and unionization. The main findings are as follows. Formal schooling plays an important role in explaining wage variations, and the pattern of rates of return reflects that found in most developing countries. The estimated magnitudes are similar to those found in other Latin American countries: 10 percent for (a year of) primary schooling, 6 percent for secondary schooling and 8 percent for post-secondary schooling.