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The Effect of College Curriculum on Earnings: Accounting for Non-Ignorable Non-Response Bias

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Stephen G. Donald

Abstract

We link information on the current earnings of college graduates from many cohorts to their high-school records, their detailed college records and their demographics to infer the impact of college major on earnings. We develop an estimator to handle the potential for non-response bias and identify non-response using an affinity measure -- the potential respondent's link to the organization conducting the survey. This technique is generally applicable for adjusting for unit non-response. In the model describing earnings, estimated using the identified (for non-response bias) selectivity adjustments, adjusted earnings differentials across college majors are less than half as large as unadjusted differentials and ten percent smaller than those that do not account for selective non-response.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10809.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Publication status: published as Journal of Econometrics, 2008, 144, 479-491.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10809

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  1. Ahn, Hyungtaik & Powell, James L., 1993. "Semiparametric estimation of censored selection models with a nonparametric selection mechanism," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-29, July.
  2. Joseph G. Altonji, 1992. "The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 4142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Francis Vella, 1998. "Estimating Models with Sample Selection Bias: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 127-169.
  4. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of major: The changing (unchanging) gender gap," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
  5. Reuben Gronau, 1973. "Wage Comparisons -A Selectivity Bias," NBER Working Papers 0013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Wise, David A, 1975. "Academic Achievement and Job Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 350-66, June.
  7. Biddle, Jeff E & Zarkin, Gary A, 1989. "Choice among Wage-Hours Packages: An Empirical Investigation of Male Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 415-37, October.
  8. Evangelos M. Falaris & H. Elizabeth Peters, 1998. "Survey Attrition and Schooling Choices," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 531-554.
  9. Linda Datcher Loury, 1997. "The gender gap among college-educated workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 580-593, July.
  10. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58, January.
  11. Philipson, Tomas, 1997. "Data Markets and the Production of Surveys," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 47-72, January.
  12. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
  13. Olsen, Randall J, 1980. "A Least Squares Correction for Selectivity Bias," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(7), pages 1815-20, November.
  14. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
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Cited by:
  1. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2005. "The Value of Peripatetic Economists: A Sesqui-Difference Evaluation of Bob Gregory," IZA Discussion Papers 1580, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Usamah Fayez Al-Farhan, 2010. "Changes in the Gender Wage Gap in Germany during a Period of Rising Wage Inequality 1999-2006: Was it Discrimination in the Returns to Human Capital?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 293, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Eric Bettinger, 2010. "To Be or Not to Be: Major Choices in Budding Scientists," NBER Chapters, in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 69-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Johansson, Fredrik, 2007. "How to Adjust for Nonignorable Nonresponse: Calibration, Heckit or FIML?," Working Paper Series 2007:22, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Cornwell, Christopher & Lee, Kyung Hee & Mustard, David B., 2006. "The Effects of State-Sponsored Merit Scholarships on Course Selection and Major Choice in College," IZA Discussion Papers 1953, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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