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

The Returns to Observable and Unobservable Skills over time: Evidence from a Panel of the Population of Danish Twins

Contents:

Author Info

  • Paul Bingley

    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark)

  • Kaare Christensen

    (Author-Name: Department of Epidemiology, University of Southern Denmark, 5000 Odense, Denmark)

  • Ian Walker

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, Coventry)

Abstract

This paper provides estimates of the private financial return to education based on large samples of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins which we obtain from Danish population registers. Our estimation exploits the fact that our data is a long panel. We show that the rising inequality, which we observe in the raw data, is due to rising returns to observable skills. Indeed, our results suggest that the inequality associated with unobservable skills appears to have fallen since the late 1980’s. The fact that we have both MZs and DZs allows us to separate the rising residual variance into changes in returns to unobservables and changes in the variance in unobservables across successive cohorts. Measurement error has been a concern in the twins literature since the usual methodology is based on within-twin differences. We exploit two instruments that provide additional measures of the within twin schooling difference, differences in when the twins first join the labour force on a full-time basis, which comes from a register that is independent of the education registers; and the strong assortative mating in the data which allows us to use twins spouse’s education as an instrument. We also address a further concern in the literature, that differencing between twins fails to remove individual fixed effects as opposed to family fixed effects resulting in schooling differences being correlated with the residual. This would induce the within twin schooling difference coefficient to be biased. Here we exploit the Danish equivalent of Maimonides’ rule which generates potential variation in education within twin pairs associated with being placed in different classes if they attended a small school in a larger than average cohort. This different experience across twin pairs is shown to generate differences in within twin schooling. Our baseline estimates suggests that correcting for selfselection in schooling, and measurement error, gives returns that are about two fifths higher than OLS for men and about one fifth higher for women.

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.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/GearyWp200723.pdf
File Function: Version 2.04, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200723.

as in new window
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200723

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Arts Annexe, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353 1 7164615
Fax: +353 1 7161108
Email:
Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: wage inequality; schooling; twins; education returns; ability bias;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Bonjour, Dorothe & Cherkas, Lynn & Haskel, Jonathan & Spector, Tim, 2002. "Returns to Education: Evidence from UK Twins," CEPR Discussion Papers 3354, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  3. Bound, John & Solon, Gary, 1999. "Double trouble: on the value of twins-based estimation of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 169-182, April.
  4. Alan Krueger & Orley Ashenfelter, 1992. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," NBER Working Papers 4143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  6. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
  7. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
  8. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  9. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain The Rising Return To College For Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746, May.
  10. Pedro Carneiro & Sokbae 'Simon' Lee, 2005. "Ability, sorting and wage inequality," CeMMAP working papers CWP16/05, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  12. Richard Blundell & Howard Reed & Thomas M. Stoker, 2003. "Interpreting Aggregate Wage Growth: The Role of Labor Market Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1114-1131, September.
  13. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1997. "Income, Schooling, and Ability: Evidence from a New Sample of Identical Twins," NBER Working Papers 6106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Light Audrey & Flores-Lagunes Alfonso, 2006. "Measurement Error in Schooling: Evidence from Samples of Siblings and Identical Twins," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-35, May.
  15. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  16. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Postsecondary Education and Increasing Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 195-199, May.
  17. Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
  18. Griliches, Zvi, 1979. "Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S37-64, October.
  19. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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:ucd:wpaper:200723. 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: (Geary Tech).

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.