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Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling

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  • Jeff Dominitz
  • Charles F. Manski

Abstract

We report here on the design and first application of an interactive computer-assisted self-administered interview (CASI) survey eliciting from high school students and college undergraduates their expectations of the income they would earn if they were to complete different levels of schooling. We also elicit respondents' beliefs about current earnings distributions. Whereas a scattering of earlier studies have elicited point expectations of earnings unconditional on future schooling, we elicit subjective earnings distributions under alternative scenarios for future schooling. In this exploratory study, we find that respondents are willing and able to respond meaningfully to questions eliciting their earnings expectations in probabilistic form. The 110 respondents vary considerably in their earnings expectations but there is a common belief that the returns to a college education are positive and that earnings rise between ages 30 and 40. There is a common belief that one's own future earnings are rather uncertain. Moreover, respondents tend to overestimate the current degree of earnings inequality in American society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 31 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-26

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:31:y:1996:i:1:p:1-26

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Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, . "Using expectations data to study subjective income expectations," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1050-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  2. F. Thomas Juster, 1966. "Consumer Buying Intentions and Purchase Probability: An Experiment in Survey Design," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just66-2, May.
  3. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  4. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Adolescent Econometricians : How Do Youth Infer the Returns to Schooling," Working papers 9110, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1, May.
  6. Manski, C.F., 1989. "The Use Of Intentions Data To Predict Behaviour : A Best- Case Analysis," Working papers 8905, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Manski, C.F., 1992. "Identification Problems in the Social Sciences," Working papers 9217, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Francine D. Blau & Marianne A. Ferber, 1991. "Career Plans and Expectations of Young Women and Men: The Earnings Gap and Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(4), pages 581-607.
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