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Real option, human capital investment returns and higher educational policy

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  • Hwang, Wei-Yei
  • Liao, Shu-Yi
  • Huang, Mao-Lung
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    Abstract

    This paper incorporates the concept of real option into a modified Harris–Todaro model to investigate the relationship between higher education and unemployment rates. We found that the real option value of waiting to invest in graduate school education will decrease when the expected wage rate of labors with an undergraduate degree becomes relatively lower than that with a graduate degree. As a result, more undergraduate students will decide to go to graduate schools immediately after graduation. As the supply of labors with a graduate degree increases and the job creations fail to meet the increasing demand, those who cannot get a graduate-level job will be willing to accept job offers lower than their education level. Our modified Harris–Todaro model shows that it will lead to an increase in the number of unemployed and underemployed higher educated labors. This explains why the unemployment rates for higher educated labor are relatively high in some developed countries.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Modelling.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 447-452

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:31:y:2013:i:c:p:447-452

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30411

    Related research

    Keywords: Real option; Human capital investment; Higher education; Unemployment rate;

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    References

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    1. Denny, K.J. & Harmon, C.P., 1999. "Testing for Sheepskin Effects in Earnings Equations: Evidence for Five Countries," Papers 99/21, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
    2. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
    3. Park, Jin Heum, 1999. "Estimation of sheepskin effects using the old and the new measures of educational attainment in the Current Population Survey," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 237-240, February.
    4. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    5. Groot, Wim & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1992. "Optimal investment in human capital under uncertainty," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 41-49, March.
    6. Jacobs, Bas, 2007. "Real options and human capital investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 913-925, December.
    7. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-156, 04.
    8. Hogan, Vincent & Walker, Ian, 2007. "Education choice under uncertainty: Implications for public policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 894-912, December.
    9. Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio & Serrano, Roberto, 2006. "Rejecting small gambles under expected utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 250-259, May.
    10. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, octubre-d.
    12. Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriette, 2000. "Overeducation in the labor market: a meta-analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 149-158, April.
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