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Education choice under uncertainty: Implications for public policy

  • Hogan, Vincent
  • Walker, Ian

We analyse how progressive taxation and education subsidies affect schooling decisions when the returns to education are stochastic. We use the theory of real options to solve the problem of education choice in a dynamic stochastic model. We show that education attainment will be an increasing function of the risk associated with education. Furthermore, this result holds regardless of the degree of risk aversion. We also show that progressive taxes will tend to increase education attainment.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 894-912

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:14:y:2007:i:6:p:894-912
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2004. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," Post-Print halshs-00180125, HAL.
  2. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human Capital Formation," NBER Working Papers 6462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Eliciting Student Expectations Of The Returns To Schooling," Econometrics 9411002, EconWPA.
  6. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College," NBER Working Papers 9546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, September.
  8. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
  9. Vincent (Vincent Peter) Hogan & Ian Walker, 2003. "Education choice under uncertainty and public policy," Working Papers 200302, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1994. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," NBER Working Papers 4887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Harmon, Colm & Hogan, Vincent & Walker, Ian, 2001. "Dispersion in the Economic Return to Schooling," CEPR Discussion Papers 3037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S, 1980. "Taxation, Human Capital, and Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 705-15, September.
  13. Joseph G. Altonji, 1991. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes are Uncertain," NBER Working Papers 3714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Todd, Petra E., 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," IZA Discussion Papers 775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Denny, K.J. & Harmon, C.P., 1999. "Testing for Sheepskin Effects in Earnings Equations: Evidence for Five Countries," Papers 99/21, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  16. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-50, April.
  17. Williams, Joseph T, 1979. "Uncertainty and the Accumulation of Human Capital over the Life Cycle," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 521-48, October.
  18. Uusitalo, R. & Conneely, K., 1998. "Estimating Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in the Becker Schooling Model," University of Helsinki, Department of Economics 435, Department of Economics.
  19. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  20. Hogan, Vincent & Ian Walker, 2002. "Education Choice under Uncertainty," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 103, Royal Economic Society.
  21. Judd, Kenneth L, 1998. "Taxes, Uncertainty, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 289-92, May.
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