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Do College-Bound High School Students Need an Extra Year? Evidence from Ontario’s ‘Double Cohort’

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  • Morin, Louis-Philippe

    ()
    (University of Ottawa)

Abstract

The Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) interpretation of the IV estimates of the returns to schooling is becoming increasingly popular. Typically, researchers reporting LATE estimates do not provide systematic evidence that there is substantial heterogeneity across different ability levels in returns, and without such evidence, the LATE interpretation is short of being compelling. The recent abolition of Grade 13 in Ontario’s secondary school system provides a unique opportunity to measure the benefits of an extra year of high school for high-ability students (those bound for college), rather than dropouts. I present a simple factor model which allows the value-added of Grade 13 (in terms of achievement) to be estimated, generalizing the standard difference-in-differences estimator to correct for heterogeneity in ability measurement across college subjects. The main finding is that the estimated return to an extra year of high school in terms of human capital is small for these high-ability students: students coming out of Grade 13 have a 2.2 point advantage (on a 100 point scale) over students from Grade 12, the estimated return to Grade 13 being around 2 percent. This evidence indicates that there is substantial heterogeneity in the return to an additional year of high school in the direction assumed in the prior literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3098.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3098

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Keywords: return to schooling; factor model; difference-in-differences;

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References

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  1. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Lang, Kevin, 1993. "Ability Bias, Discount Rate Bias and the Return to Education," MPRA Paper 24651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  4. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  5. Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Ethel B. Jones & John D. Jackson, 1990. "College Grades and Labor Market Rewards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 253-266.
  7. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  9. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
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