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Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability

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  • Patrick J. Bayer
  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Aurel Hizmo

Abstract

We provide evidence that graduating from college plays a direct role in revealing ability to the labor market. Using the NLSY79, our results suggest that ability is observed nearly perfectly for college graduates. In contrast, returns to AFQT for high school graduates are initially very close to zero and rise steeply with experience. As a result, from the very beginning of their careers, college graduates are paid in accordance with their own ability, while the wages of high school graduates are initially unrelated to their own ability. This view of ability revelation in the labor market has considerable power in explaining racial differences in wages, education, and the returns to ability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-51.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:10-51

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Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

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References

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  1. Julian R. Betts & Darlene Morell, 1999. "The Determinants of Undergraduate Grade Point Average: The Relative Importance of Family Background, High School Resources, and Peer Group Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 268-293.
  2. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, 09.
  3. Orley Ashenfelter & Alan Krueger, 1992. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," Working Papers 683, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Derek Neal, 2004. "The Measured Black-White Wage Gap among Women Is Too Small," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S1-S28, February.
  5. Bauer, Thomas K. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2001. "Employer learning and the returns to schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 161-180, May.
  6. Kevin Lang, 1992. "Does the Human-Capital/Educational-Sorting Debate Matter for Development Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Bjerk, 2007. "The Differing Nature of Black-White Wage Inequality Across Occupational Sectors," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  8. Galindo-Rueda, Fernando, 2003. "Employer Learning and Schooling-Related Statistical Discrimination in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 778, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Hanming Fang, 2006. "Disentangling The College Wage Premium: Estimating A Model With Endogenous Education Choices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1151-1185, November.
  10. Patrick J. Bayer & Peter Arcidiacono & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," Working Papers 10-51, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, May.
  13. Bishop, John H. & Mane, Ferran, 2001. "The impacts of minimum competency exam graduation requirements on high school graduation, college attendance and early labor market success," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 203-222, May.
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