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A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias

  • Ashenfelter, Orley
  • Harmon, Colm
  • Oosterbeek, Hessel

In this paper we provide an analytical review of previous estimates of the rate of return on schooling investments and measure how these estimates vary by country, over time, and by estimation method. We find evidence reporting (or file drawer') bias in the estimates and, after due account is taken of this bias, we find that differences due to estimation method are much smaller than is sometimes reported, although some are statistically significant. We also find that estimated returns are higher in the U.S. and they have increased in the last two decades.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 6 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 453-470

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:6:y:1999:i:4:p:453-470
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 2000. "The Returns to the Quantity and Quality of Education: Evidence for Men in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(265), pages 19-35, February.
  3. Lo, Andrew W & MacKinlay, A Craig, 1990. "Data-Snooping Biases in Tests of Financial Asset Pricing Models," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 431-67.
  4. Costas Meghir & Marten Palme, 2000. "Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0670, Econometric Society.
  5. Brown, Stephen J & Goetzmann, William N & Ross, Stephen A, 1995. " Survival," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 853-73, July.
  6. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 3693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," Working Papers 696, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Elchanan Cohn & John Addison, 1998. "The Economic Returns to Lifelong Learning in OECD Countries," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 253-307.
  10. Plug, Erik J. S., 2001. "Season of birth, schooling and earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 641-660, October.
  11. Bedi, Arjun S. & Gaston, Noel, 1999. "Using variation in schooling availability to estimate educational returns for Honduras," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 107-116, February.
  12. Angrist, Joshua D & Newey, Whitney K, 1991. "Over-Identification Tests in Earnings Functions with Fixed Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(3), pages 317-23, July.
  13. Griliches, Zvi & Mason, William M, 1972. "Education, Income, and Ability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S74-S103, Part II, .
  14. 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.
  15. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  16. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1993. "Are OLS Estimates of the Return to Schooling Biased Downward? Another Look," NBER Working Papers 4259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1997. "Income, Schooling, and Ability: Evidence from a New Sample of Identical Twins," NBER Working Papers 6106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
  19. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-43, May.
  20. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Split-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Return to Schooling," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 225-35, April.
  21. Uusitalo, R. & Conneely, K., 1998. "Estimating Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in the Becker Schooling Model," University of Helsinki, Department of Economics 435, Department of Economics.
  22. Colm Harmon; & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of Economic Return to Schooling in the UK," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n540195, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  23. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  24. Uusitalo, Roope, 1999. "Return to education in Finland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 569-580, November.
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