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Estimating Marginal Returns to Education

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Author Info

  • Carneiro, Pedro

    ()
    (University College London)

  • Heckman, James J.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Vytlacil, Edward

    ()
    (Yale University)

Abstract

This paper estimates the marginal returns to college for individuals induced to enroll in college by different marginal policy changes. The recent instrumental variables literature seeks to estimate this parameter, but in general it does so only under strong assumptions that are tested and found wanting. We show how to utilize economic theory and local instrumental variables estimators to estimate the effect of marginal policy changes. Our empirical analysis shows that returns are higher for individuals more likely to attend college. We contrast the returns to well-defined marginal policy changes with IV estimates of the return to schooling. Some marginal policy changes inducing students into college produce very low returns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5275.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2011, 110 (6), 2754-2781
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5275

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Keywords: returns to schooling; marginal return; marginal treatment effect; average return;

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References

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  1. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 389-432, August.
  2. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2010. "Evaluating Marginal Policy Changes and the Average Effect of Treatment for Individuals at the Margin," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 377-394, 01.
  3. Taber, Christopher R, 2001. "The Rising College Premium in the Eighties: Return to College or Return to Unobserved Ability?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 665-91, July.
  4. Heckman, James J. & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2000. "The relationship between treatment parameters within a latent variable framework," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 33-39, January.
  5. Heckman, James J. & Schmierer, Daniel & Urzua, Sergio, 2010. "Testing the correlated random coefficient model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 158(2), pages 177-203, October.
  6. Joseph Romano & Michael Wolf, 2003. "Exact and approximate stepdown methods for multiple hypothesis testing," Economics Working Papers 727, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
  8. Aakvik, Arild & Heckman, James J. & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2005. "Estimating treatment effects for discrete outcomes when responses to treatment vary: an application to Norwegian vocational rehabilitation programs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 15-51.
  9. Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J & Mullen, Kathleen J, 2003. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Working Paper Series 2003:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  10. James J. Heckman, 2010. "Building Bridges between Structural and Program Evaluation Approaches to Evaluating Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 356-98, June.
  11. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
  12. Henry S. Farber & Jeffrey R. Kling & Alan Krueger, 1999. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," Working Papers 794, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 518, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Edward Vytlacil, 2002. "Independence, Monotonicity, and Latent Index Models: An Equivalence Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 331-341, January.
  15. Bjorklund, Anders & Moffitt, Robert, 1987. "The Estimation of Wage Gains and Welfare Gains in Self-selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 42-49, February.
  16. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2008. "Instrumental Variables In Models With Multiple Outcomes: The General Unordered Case," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 200830, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  17. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
  18. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  19. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Estimating Marginal Returns to Education
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2010-11-05 11:43:52
  2. Marginal returns of education policies
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-16 15:03:00
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