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Over-education for the rich, under-education for the poor: A search-theoretic microfoundation

  • Charlot, Olivier
  • Decreuse, Bruno

This paper studies the efficiency of educational choices in a two sector/two schooling level matching model of the labor market where a continuum of heterogenous workers allocates itself between sectors depending on their decision to invest in education. Individuals differ in working ability and schooling cost, the search market is segmented by education, and there is free entry of new firms in each sector. Self-selection in education causes composition effects in the distribution of skills across sectors. This in turn modifies the intensity of job creation, implying the private and social returns to schooling always differ. Provided that ability and schooling cost are not too positively correlated, agents with large schooling costs -- the 'poor' -- underinvest in education, while there is overinvestment among the low schooling cost individuals -- the 'rich'. We also show that education should be more taxed than subsidized when the Hosios condition holds.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 886-896

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:886-896
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  2. Heckman, James J., 2000. "Policies to foster human capital," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 3-56, March.
  3. Laing, Derek & Palivos, Theodore & Wang, Ping, 1995. "Learning, Matching and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 115-29, January.
  4. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
  5. Fershtman, C. & Murphy, K.M., 1993. "Social Status, Education and Growth," Papers 8-93, Tel Aviv.
  6. Burdett, Ken & Smith, Eric, 2002. "The low skill trap," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1439-1451, September.
  7. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  8. Snower, Dennis J., 1994. "The Low-Skill, Bad-Job Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 999, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  10. Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2001. "Excess Worker Reallocation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 593-612, July.
  11. Charlot, Olivier & Decreuse, Bruno, 2005. "Self-selection in education with matching frictions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 251-267, April.
  12. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Arrow, Kenneth J., 1973. "Higher education as a filter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 193-216, July.
  14. James Albrecht & Susan Vroman, 2000. "A Matching Model with Endogenous Skill Requirements," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0774, Econometric Society.
  15. Inderst, Roman, 2005. "Competitive search markets with heterogeneous workers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1525-1542, August.
  16. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," NBER Working Papers 9055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Shoshana NEUMAN & Ronald L. OAXACA, 2003. "Gender vs Ethnic Wage Differentials Among Professionals: Evidence from Israel," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 71-72, pages 267-292.
  18. Moen, Espen R, 1999. "Education, Ranking, and Competition for Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 694-723, October.
  19. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804, August.
  20. Raquel Fernandez, 2001. "Sorting, Education and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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