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Returns to Education: Evidence from U.K. Twins

Author

Listed:
  • Dorothe Bonjour
  • Lynn F. Cherkas
  • Jonathan E. Haskel
  • Denise D. Hawkes
  • Tim D. Spector

Abstract

We use a new sample of UK female identical twins to estimate private economic returns to education. We report findings in three areas. First, we use identical twins, to control for family effects and genetic ability bias, and the education reported by the other twin to control for schooling measurement error. Our estimates suggest a return to schooling for UK females of about 7.7%. Second, we investigate within-twin pair ability differences by examining within-twin pair and between-family correlations of education with observable correlates of ability (including birthweight, ability tests and reading scores). Our findings suggest lower ability bias in within-twin pair regressions than pooled regressions. Third, using data on twins smoking we show smoking reflects family background and using it as an instrument exacerbates ability bias.
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Suggested Citation

  • Dorothe Bonjour & Lynn F. Cherkas & Jonathan E. Haskel & Denise D. Hawkes & Tim D. Spector, 2003. "Returns to Education: Evidence from U.K. Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1799-1812, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:5:p:1799-1812
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322655554
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
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    3. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1997. "Estimates Of The Returns To Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons, And Brothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-9, February.
    4. Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
    5. William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1994. "Education and Health: Where There's Smoke There's an Instrument," NBER Working Papers 4949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Behrman, Jere R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1999. ""Ability" biases in schooling returns and twins: a test and new estimates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 159-167, April.
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    9. Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1999. "Further estimates of the economic return to schooling from a new sample of twins," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 149-157, April.
    10. Miller, Paul W & Mulvey, Charles & Martin, Nick, 1995. "What Do Twins Studies Reveal about the Economic Returns to Education? A Comparison of Australian and U.S. Findings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 586-599, June.
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    12. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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