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Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings

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  • Flavio Cunha
  • James Heckman
  • Salvador Navarro

Abstract

This paper develops and applies a method for decomposing cross section variability of earnings into components that are forecastable at the time students decide to go to college (heterogeneity) and components that are unforecastable. About 60% of variability in returns to schooling is forecastable. This has important implications for using measured variability to price risk and predict college attendance. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 57 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 191-261

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:57:y:2005:i:2:p:191-261

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  11. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
  12. Martin Browning & Lars Peter Hansen & James J. Heckman, 1999. "Micro Data and General Equilibrium Models," Discussion Papers, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics 99-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  14. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1992. "Nonparametric and Distribution-Free Estimation of the Binary Threshold Crossing and the Binary Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 239-70, March.
  15. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  16. Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Superior Information, Income Shocks, And The Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 465-476, August.
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  18. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  20. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
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  24. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  25. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  26. Cosslett, Stephen R, 1983. "Distribution-Free Maximum Likelihood Estimator of the Binary Choice Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 765-82, May.
  27. Hartog, Joop & Vijverberg, Wim P., 2002. "Do Wages Really Compensate for Risk Aversion and Skewness Affection?," IZA Discussion Papers 426, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  28. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1998. "Evaluating the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 6542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
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