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Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions

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  • Christian Belzil

    ()
    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines)

  • Marco Leonardi

    (IZA - Institute for the study of labor - IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, Università degli studi di Milano - Università di Milano - Università degli studi di Milano)

Abstract

We develop a non-rational expectation econometric model of sequential schooling decisions. Using unique Italian panel data in which individual differences in attitudes toward risk are measurable (with error), we investigate the effect of risk aversion on the probability of entering higher education. This allows us to characterize the subjective (as opposed to the objective) effect of higher education on marginal risk exposure. Because the measure of risk aversion (the classical Arrow-Pratt degree of absolute risk aversion) is posterior to schooling decisions, it depends on current wealth realizations and we must therefore take into account its endogeneity. We also allow risk aversion to be measured with error. After taking into account both the endogeneity of wealth and measurement error, we find that risk aversion is a key determinant (comparable to parents' educational background) of the decisions to enter higher education. Precisely, risk aversion acts as a deterrent to higher education investment

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00174507.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00174507

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Keywords: dynamic discrete choices; éducation; ex-ante risk; risk aversion;

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References

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  1. Marco Leonardi, 2007. "Do Parents Risk Aversion and Wealth Explalin Secondary School Choice?," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(2), pages 177-206, July.
  2. Michael P. Keane, 2002. "Financial Aid, Borrowing Constraints, and College Attendance: Evidence from Structural Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 293-297, May.
  3. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-19, CIRANO.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2001. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 2728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk Aversion and Income Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 626-53, October.
  8. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2007. "Dynamic discrete choice and dynamic treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 341-396, February.
  10. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0012001, EconWPA.
  11. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2006. "Can Risk Aversion Explain Schooling Attainments? Evidence From Italy," Working Papers 0607, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  12. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "Subjective Beliefs and Schooling Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 2820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Christian Belzil, 2006. "The Return to Schooling in Structural Dynamic Models: A Survey," Working Papers 0609, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  14. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Schweri, Jürg & Hartog, Joop & Wolter, Stefan C., 2009. "Do Students Expect Compensation for Wage Risk?," IZA Discussion Papers 4069, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Fabian T. Pfeffer & Martin Hällsten, 2012. "Mobility Regimes and Parental Wealth: The United States, Germany, and Sweden in Comparison," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 500, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Christian Belzil, 2007. "Subjective Beliefs and Schooling Decisions," Working Papers 0717, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  4. Paolo Buonanno & Dario Pozzoli, 2007. "Risk Aversion and College Subject," Working Papers 0707, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  5. Bilkic, N. & Gries, T. & Pilichowski, M., 2012. "Stay in school or start working? — The human capital investment decision under uncertainty and irreversibility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 706-717.
  6. 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.
  7. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha & Subramanian, Samyukta, 2011. "Selection into skill accumulation: evidence using observational and experimental data," MPRA Paper 32383, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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