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How Risky is Investment in Human Capital?

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Author Info

  • Joop Hartog

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Hans van Ophem

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Simona Maria Bajdechi

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Abstract

The risk of investment in schooling has largely been ignored. We assess thevariance in the rate of return by surveying the international empirical literature from this freshperspective and by simulating risky earnings profiles in alternative options. choosingparameters on basis of the very limited evidence. The distribution of rates of return appearspositively skewed. Our best guess of ex ante risk in university education is a coefficient ofvariation of about 0.3, comparable to that in a randomly selected financial portfolio with some30 stocks. Allowing for stochastic components in earnings also markedly affects expectedreturns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 04-080/3.

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Date of creation: 13 Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20040080

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: education; return; earnings dispersion; risk;

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References

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  1. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," IZA Discussion Papers 513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Fisher, Lawrence & Lorie, James H, 1970. "Some Studies of Variability of Returns on Investments in Common Stocks," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 99-134, April.
  3. Brunello, Giorgio & Comi, Simona, 2000. "Education and Earnings Growth: Evidence from 11 European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Philip Trostel & Ian Walker, 2006. "Education and Work," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 377-399.
  5. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1999. "General Equilibrium Cost Benefit Analysis of Education and Tax Policies," NBER Working Papers 6881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ashenfelter, Orley & Harmon, Colm & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1999. "A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 453-470, November.
  7. Colm Harmon & Vincent Hogan & Ian Walker, 2001. "Dispersion in the Economic Return to Schooling," Working Papers 200116, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  8. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
  9. Pereira, Pedro T. & Martins, Pedro S., 2001. "Is there a Return-Risk Link in Education?," IZA Discussion Papers 321, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Trostel, Philip & Walker, Ian & Woolley, Paul, 2002. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for 28 countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 767, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Joop Hartog & Erik Plug & Luis Diaz Serrano & Jose Vieira, 2003. "Risk compensation in wages – a replication," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 639-647, July.
  15. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College," NBER Working Papers 9546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Weiss, Yoram, 1972. "The Risk Element in Occupational and Educational Choices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1203-13, Nov.-Dec..
  17. 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).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Volker Grossmann, 2004. "Risky Human Capital Investment, Income Distribution, and Macroeconomic Dynamics," DEGIT Conference Papers c009_028, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2009. "Risk aversion and schooling decisions," Working Papers hal-00411099, HAL.
  3. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2007. "Can Risk Aversion Explain Schooling Attainments?: evidence from Italy," Post-Print halshs-00201351, HAL.
  4. Mazza, Jacopo & van Ophem, Hans & Hartog, Joop, 2013. "Unobserved heterogeneity and risk in wage variance: Does more schooling reduce earnings risk?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 323-338.
  5. Andini, Corrado & Pereira, Pedro T., 2007. "Full-time Schooling, Part-time Schooling, and Wages: Returns and Risks in Portugal," IZA Discussion Papers 2651, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Booij, Adam S. & van Praag, Bernard M.S., 2009. "A simultaneous approach to the estimation of risk aversion and the subjective time discount rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 374-388, May.

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