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Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education

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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)

  • Jörgen Hansen

    (Department of Economics - Concordia University)

Abstract

We estimate a dynamic programming model of schooling decisions in which the degree of risk aversion can be inferred from schooling decisions. In our model, individuals are heterogeneous with respect to school and market abilities but homogeneous with respect to the degree of risk aversion. We allow endogenous schooling attainments to affect the level of risk experienced in labor market earnings through wage dispersion and employment rate dispersion. We find a low degree of relative risk aversion (0.93) and the estimates indicate that both wage and employment rate dispersions decrease significantly with schooling attainments. We find that a counterfactual increase in risk aversion will increase schooling attainments. Finally, the low degree of risk aversion implies that an increase in earnings dispersion would have little effect on schooling attainments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00180125.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00180125

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Keywords: dynamic programming; earnings dispersion; human capital; returns to education; risk aversion;

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  1. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1995. "The equity premium: it's still a puzzle," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  7. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "A Structural Analysis of the Correlated Random Coefficient Wage Regression Model," IZA Discussion Papers 512, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. Olson, Lawrence & White, Halbert & Shefrin, H M, 1979. "Optimal Investment in Schooling when Incomes are Risky," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 522-39, June.
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