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Is Investing in College Education Risky?

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  • Stacey Chen

Abstract

Attending college seems to be a profitable and affordable investment in the US. Nevertheless, a number of academically talented young people still hesitate to attend college. This puzzle motivates this paper to test for whether college education is a risky investment. To measure the riskiness of college attendance, I estimate the risk differential in earnings between college attendees and high school graduates. This paper copes with selection bias problems and distinguishes permanent earnings risk from transitory earnings risks. Evidence indicates that investing in a four-year college education is indeed risky, suggesting that, under certain circumstances, the riskiness of college attendance is an important factor in the schooling choice.

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File URL: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/2001/Risky.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 01-09.

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Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:01-09

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
Phone: (518) 442-4735
Fax: (518) 442-4736

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Postal: Department of Economics, BA 110 University at Albany State University of New York Albany, NY 12222 U.S.A.
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Web: http://www.albany.edu/economics/research/workingp/index.shtml

Related research

Keywords: Schooling; Risk Differential; Risk Premium; Selection Bias.;

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References

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  1. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  2. Blundell, Richard & M. Stoker, Thomas, 1999. "Consumption and the timing of income risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 475-507, March.
  3. Stephen Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2000. "Borrowing Constraints and the Returns to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 7761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten, 1999. "Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 313, Stockholm School of Economics.
  5. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
  6. Weiss, Yoram, 1972. "The Risk Element in Occupational and Educational Choices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1203-13, Nov.-Dec..
  7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  8. Taber, Christopher R., 2000. "Semiparametric identification and heterogeneity in discrete choice dynamic programming models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 201-229, June.
  9. John Y. Campbell, 1993. "Understanding Risk and Return," NBER Working Papers 4554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Angrist, Joshua D & Newey, Whitney K, 1991. "Over-Identification Tests in Earnings Functions with Fixed Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(3), pages 317-23, July.
  11. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  12. 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.
  13. Kane, Thomas J, 1994. "College Entry by Blacks since 1970: The Role of College Costs, Family Background, and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 878-911, October.
  14. John Shea, 1997. "Does Parents' Money Matter?," NBER Working Papers 6026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Thomas J. Kane, 1995. "Rising Public College Tuition and College Entry: How Well Do Public Subsidies Promote Access to College?," NBER Working Papers 5164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Levhari, David & Weiss, Yoram, 1974. "The Effect of Risk on the Investment in Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 950-63, December.
  17. Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 1997. "Estimation of a Panel Data Sample Selection Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1335-1364, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Diaz-Serrano, L. & Hartog, J. & Skyt Nielsen, H., 2003. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Schooling Risk in Denmark," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1271003, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  2. Migali, Giuseppe, 2006. "Funding Higher Education and Wage Uncertainty : Income Contingent Loan versus Mortgage Loan," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 775, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Eckel, Catherine & Johnson, Cathleen & Montmarquette, Claude, 2012. "Human capital investment by the poor: Informing policy with laboratory experiments," MPRA Paper 47782, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Joop Hartog & Luis Diaz-Serrano, 2004. "Earnings Risk And Demand For Higher Education: A Cross-Section Test For Spain," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1370804, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  5. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  6. Migali, Giuseppe, 2006. "Funding Higher Education and Wage Uncertainty: Income Contingent Loan Versus Mortgate Loan," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 740, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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