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Subjective Beliefs and Schooling Decisions

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  • Christian Belzil

    ()
    (GATE CNRS, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

Abstract

This paper considers the estimation of sequential schooling decisions made by agents who are endowed with subjective beliefs about their own ability. I use unique Italian panel data which provide information on i) the curvature of the per-period utility function, ii) schooling decisions, iii) post-schooling earnings, in order to estimate the future component of the differences in intertemporal utilities of school and work independently from the present component, (as in Geweke and Keane, 1995, 2001), and evaluate the importance of “present bias”. Under certain conditions, which include imposing equality between the modal belief and true ability, I recover individual specific subjective probability distributions. I estimate both the degree of confidence (a measure of spread) and the incidence of over (and under) estimation. I find that the future component of intertemporal utilities dominates schooling decisions. I find a strong incidence of under-estimation among the more able and a much smaller incidence of over-estimation among the low ability group. At the medium ability spectrum, there is evidence of some over-estimation. The degree of confidence is high and imply that agents have a substantial amount of inside information (36% of the population act on a degenerate subjective distribution). Overall, the variance of the objective ability heterogeneity distribution is 4 times as large the variance of the distribution characterizing subjective beliefs.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.gate.cnrs.fr/RePEc/2007/0717.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure in its series Working Papers with number 0717.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:0717

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Keywords: dynamic programming; education; over-confidence; present bias; rational expectation; subjective distributions;

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References

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  1. Belzil, Christian, 2006. "The Return to Schooling in Structural Dynamic Models: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 2370, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, December.
  3. Christian BELZIL & Marco LEONARDI, 2013. "Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 111-112, pages 3.
  4. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "A Structure Analysis of the Correlated Random Coefficient Wage Regression Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 3601, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Bellemare, C. & Kroger, S. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 2005. "Actions and Beliefs: Estimating Distribution-Based Preferences Using a Large Scale Experiment with Probability Questions on Expectations," Discussion Paper 2005-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2006. "A New Framework for the Analysis of Inequality," NBER Working Papers 12505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Flinn, Christopher J, 2002. "Labour Market Structure and Inequality: A Comparison of Italy and the U.S," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 611-45, July.
  9. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating Uncertainty from Heterogeneity in Life Cycle Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 1437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Monica Paiella & Luigi Guiso, 2004. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," 2004 Meeting Papers 525, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Monica Paiella & Luigi Guiso, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviour," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 222, Econometric Society.
  12. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  13. Daniel Houser & Michael Keane & Kevin McCabe, 2002. "Behavior in a dynamic decision problem: An analysis of experimental evidence using a bayesian type classification algorithm," Experimental 0211001, EconWPA.
  14. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Discussion of 'BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS'," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000539, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2005. "Dynamic Discrete Choice and Dynamic Treatment Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-120, December.
  18. 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.
  19. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Earnings and Employment Risk," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 241-53, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christian Belzil, 2006. "The Return to Schooling in Structural Dynamic Models: A Survey," Post-Print halshs-00142538, HAL.
  2. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2006. "Can Risk Aversion Explain Schooling Attainments? Evidence From Italy," Post-Print halshs-00142551, HAL.
  3. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions," Working Papers 0716, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  4. Wölfel, Oliver & Heineck, Guido, 2012. "Parental risk attitudes and children's secondary school track choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 727-743.
  5. Filippin, Antonio & Paccagnella, Marco, 2012. "Family background, self-confidence and economic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 824-834.

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