Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond

Contents:

Author Info

  • Heckman, James J.
  • Lochner, Lance J.
  • Todd, Petra E.

Abstract

Numerous studies regress log earnings on schooling and report estimated coefficients as "Mincer rates of return". A more recent literature uses instrumental variables. This chapter considers the economic interpretation of these analyses and how the availability of repeated cross section and panel data improves the ability of analysts to estimate the rate of return. We consider under what conditions the Mincer model estimates an ex post rate of return. We test and reject the model on six cross sections of U.S. Census data. We present a general nonparametric approach for estimating marginal internal rates of return that takes into account tuition, income taxes and forms of uncertainty. We also contrast estimates based on a single cross-section of data, using the synthetic cohort approach, with estimates based on repeated cross-sections following actual cohorts. Cohort-based models fitted on repeated cross section data provide more reliable estimates of ex post returns. Accounting for uncertainty affects estimates of rates of return. Accounting for sequential revelation of information calls into question the validity of the internal rate of return as a tool for policy analysis. An alternative approach to computing economic rates of return that accounts for sequential revelation of information is proposed and the evidence is summarized. We distinguish ex ante from ex post returns. New panel data methods for estimating the uncertainty and psychic costs facing agents are reviewed. We report recent evidence that demonstrates that there are large psychic costs of schooling. This helps to explain why persons do not attend school even though the financial rewards for doing so are high. We present methods for computing distributions of returns ex ante and ex post. We review the literature on instrumental variable estimation. The link of the estimates to the economics is not strong. The traditional instruments are weak, and this literature has not produced decisive empirical estimates. We exposit new methods that interpret the economic content of different instruments within a unified framework.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B7P5H-4M4SRV4-C/1/d613cd9fbcc18bc968da027c77ff60c4
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

as in new window

This chapter was published in:

  • Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, June.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of the Economics of Education with number 1-07.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:educhp:1-07

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevierdirect.com/product.jsp?isbn=9780444513991

    Related research

    Keywords: rate of return to schooling; internal rate of return; uncertainty; psychic costs; panel data; distribution;

    Other versions of this item:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. James J. Heckman & Paul LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," NBER Working Papers 12018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Florens, Jean-Pierre & Heckman, James & Meghir, Costas & Vytlacil, Edward, 2003. "Instrumental Variables, Local Instrumental Variables and Control Functions," IDEI Working Papers 249, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    6. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1954. "Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie54-1.
    7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    9. Richard Blundell & Howard Reed & Thomas Stoker, 1999. "Interpreting aggregate wage growth," IFS Working Papers W99/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    10. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jorgen, 2007. "A structural analysis of the correlated random coefficient wage regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 827-848, October.
    11. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
    12. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
    13. Hause, John C, 1980. "The Fine Structure of Earnings and the On-the-Job Training Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1013-29, May.
    14. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
    16. Barro, Robert J. & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," Scholarly Articles 3451293, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    17. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
    19. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James, 2008. "A New Framework For The Analysis Of Inequality," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 315-354, September.
    20. James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Dynamic Discrete Choice and Dynamic Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 518, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
    23. Bjorklund, Anders & Moffitt, Robert, 1987. "The Estimation of Wage Gains and Welfare Gains in Self-selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 42-49, February.
    24. Paul Glewwe, 2002. "Schools and Skills in Developing Countries: Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 436-482, June.
    25. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
    26. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    27. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Andrew Atkeson & Robert E Lucas, 2010. "On Efficient Distribution with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2179, David K. Levine.
    29. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    30. 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).
    31. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
    32. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
    33. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J, 2002. "Removing the veil of ignorance in assessing the distributional impacts of social policies," Working Paper Series 2002:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    34. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
    36. Barry R. Chiswick, 1974. "Income Inequality: Regional Analyses within a Human Capital Framework," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number chis74-1.
    37. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    38. Richard Blundell & Howard Reed & Thomas M. Stoker, 2003. "Interpreting Aggregate Wage Growth: The Role of Labor Market Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1114-1131, September.
    39. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    40. Comay, Yochanan & Melnik, A & Pollatschek, M A, 1973. "The Option Value of Education and the Optimal Path for Investment in Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 421-35, June.
    41. repec:fth:prinin:317 is not listed on IDEAS
    42. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    43. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    44. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 3693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    45. Heckman, James & Layne-Farrar, Anne & Todd, Petra, 1996. "Human Capital Pricing Equations with an Application to Estimating the Effect of Schooling Quality on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 562-610, November.
    46. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2005. "A Structural Analysis of the Correlated Random Coefficient Wage Regression Model with an Application to the OLS-IV Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 1585, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    47. Dooley, Martin D & Gottschalk, Peter, 1984. "Earnings Inequality among Males in the United States: Trends and the Effect of Labor Force Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 59-89, February.
    48. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
    49. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
    50. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
    51. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
    52. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    53. Aakvik, Arild & Heckman, James J. & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2005. "Estimating treatment effects for discrete outcomes when responses to treatment vary: an application to Norwegian vocational rehabilitation programs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 15-51.
    54. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
    55. Moshe Buchinsky & Phillip Leslie, 2010. "Educational Attainment and the Changing U.S. Wage Structure: Dynamic Implications on Young Individuals' Choices," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 541-594, 07.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Michael Keane (economist) in Wikipedia (English)

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:educhp:1-07. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.