Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Borrowing Constraints and the Returns to Schooling

Contents:

Author Info

  • Stephen Cameron
  • Christopher Taber
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    To a large degree, the expansion of student aid programs to potential college students over the past 25 years in the United States has been based on the presumption that borrowing constraints present an obstacle to obtaining a college education. Economists and sociologists studying schooling choices have found empirical support for college subsidies in the well-documented, large positive correlation between family income and schooling attainment. This correlation has been widely interpreted as evidence of credit constraints. Recently, however, Cameron, and Heckman (1998, 2000), Keane and Wolpin (1999), and Shea (1999) have questioned whether borrowing constraints plays any role on college choices. Over the last 30 years, a separate literature in economics has aimed at estimating measured returns to schooling purged of various biases. One potential source of bias arises when students have differential access to sources of credit for educational investments. The connection between credit access and returns to schooling-first articulated by Becker (1972)- has been recently explored by Lang (1993) and Card (1995a, 2000). Lang and Card term this bias discount rate bias,' and argue it can help explain anomalously high instrumental variables estimates of returns to schooling documented by a multitude of empirical researchers. This argument implicitly suggests borrowing constraints are important for schooling decisions. Our paper attempts to integrate and reconcile these two literatures. Building on the seminal work of Willis and Rosen (1979), we develop a framework that allows us to study schooling determinants and returns together. Identification of the effect of borrowing constraints arises from the fact that foregone earnings-the indirect costs of school-and the direct costs of schooling affect borrowing constrained persons differently from unconstrained individuals. We apply this idea using least-squares, instrumental variables regression, and a structural economic model to measure the extent of borrowing constraints on schooling choices. Because returns to schooling and quantity of schooling are jointly determined, the structural approach allows us to explore the importance of credit market constraints on schooling choices once the influences of ability and relative wages are parceled out. This type of experiment cannot be done in standard models of schooling-attainment. None of these methods produces evidence of borrowing constraints.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7761.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7761.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: Jun 2000
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as Cameron, Stephen V. and Christopher Taber. "Estimation Of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns To Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, 2004, v112(1,Feb), 132-182.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7761

    Note: CH PE
    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7761. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.