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Selection bias, comparative advantage and heterogeneous returns to education: evidence from China in 2000

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  • James J. Heckman
  • Xuesong Li

Abstract

This paper uses Chinese micro data and new semi-parametric methods to estimate the current return to college education allowing for heterogeneous returns and for self-selection into schooling based on them. OLS and IV methods do not properly account for this sorting. Our estimates suggest that, for a randomly selected young person from an urban area, college attendance leads to a 43% increase in lifetime earnings (nearly 11% annually) in 2000, compared with just 36% (nearly 9% annually) for those who do not attend. Our evidence suggests that the return to education has increased substantially in China since the early 1990s. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Suggested Citation

  • James J. Heckman & Xuesong Li, 2004. "Selection bias, comparative advantage and heterogeneous returns to education: evidence from China in 2000," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 155-171, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:pacecr:v:9:y:2004:i:3:p:155-171
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    3. James Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano, 2004. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables, and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 30-57, February.
    4. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    5. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
    7. Bjorklund, Anders & Moffitt, Robert, 1987. "The Estimation of Wage Gains and Welfare Gains in Self-selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 42-49, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models

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