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Real options and human capital investment

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  • Jacobs, Bas

Abstract

This paper extends the standard human capital model with real options. Real options influence investment behavior when risky investments in human capital are irreversible and individuals can affect the timing of the investment. Option values make individuals more reluctant to invest in human capital and, as a result, required returns on the investment increase. Real options may help to explain a larger human capital premium for higher education, smaller responsiveness of higher education investments to financial incentives, and larger sensitivity of higher education to low-return outcomes and human capital risks. Higher tax rates (or lower subsidies) depress human capital investments, but to a lesser extent than in the standard human capital model. A flat income tax remains neutral if education expenditures are fully deductible.
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  • Jacobs, Bas, 2007. "Real options and human capital investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 913-925, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:14:y:2007:i:6:p:913-925
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    Cited by:

    1. Justina Fischer & Torberg Falch, 2008. "Does a generous welfare state crowd out student effort? Panel data evidence from international student tests," TWI Research Paper Series 25, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    2. Hwang, Wei-Yei & Liao, Shu-Yi & Huang, Mao-Lung, 2013. "Real option, human capital investment returns and higher educational policy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 447-452.
    3. Thomas Gries & Wim Naudé, 2009. "When to Start a New Firm?: Modelling the Timing of Novice and Serial Entrepreneurs," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2009-39, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Bilkic, N. & Gries, T. & Pilichowski, M., 2012. "Stay in school or start working? — The human capital investment decision under uncertainty and irreversibility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 706-717.
    5. Torberg Falch & Justina AV Fischer, 2008. "Does a generous welfare state crowd out student achievement? Panel data evidence from international student tests," TWI Research Paper Series 31, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    6. Falch, Torberg & Justina, Fischer, 2016. "Welfare state generosity and student performance: Evidence from international student tests 1980-2003," MPRA Paper 74553, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Meir Russ, 2017. "The Trifurcation of the Labor Markets in the Networked, Knowledge-Driven, Global Economy," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 8(2), pages 672-703, June.
    8. Hsiao-Lei Chu, 2015. "Private Tutoring, Wealth Constraint and Higher Education," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 608-634, October.
    9. Fernandes, Rui & Gouveia, Borges & Pinho, Carlos, 2013. "A real options approach to labour shifts planning under different service level targets," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 231(1), pages 182-189.
    10. Mitchell, Paul D. & Rejesus, Roderick M. & Coble, Keith H. & Knight, Thomas O., 2010. "A Real Options Framework for Analyzing Program Participation as Human Capital Investments: The Case of the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program," Staff Papers 92896, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    11. Joop Hartog & Luis Diaz-Serrano, 2015. "Why Do We Ignore the Risk in Schooling Decisions?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 125-153, June.
    12. Falch, Torberg & Fischer, Justina AV, 2011. "Welfare state generosity and student performance: Evidence from international student tests," MPRA Paper 35269, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Bas Jacobs, 2009. "Is Prescott right? Welfare state policies and the incentives to work, learn, and retire," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(2), pages 253-280, April.
    14. Anna Zaharieva, 2014. "On-the-Job Search and Optimal Schooling under Uncertainty and Irreversibility," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2-3, pages 299-339.

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