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Estimating the economic return to educational levels using data on twins

  • Gunnar Isacsson

    (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Borlänge, Sweden)

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    This paper relaxes some restrictions of previous twin-based estimates of the effects of education on earnings. First, it estimates the earnings premiums associated with different educational levels. Second, it estimates a piecewise linear relationship between the natural logarithm of annual earnings and years of schooling. Third, the measurement error corrections are based on a less restrictive, 'non-classical', measurement error model. The estimation strategy implies that ability bias can be investigated separately in different parts of the educational distribution. The linear relationship between the logarithm of annual earnings and years of schooling is rejected. Furthermore, the results in the sample of identical (MZ) twins indicated both that the ability bias could be of different signs and of different magnitudes in different parts of the educational distribution. The twin-based estimates in the sample of fraternal (DZ) twins did not display any marked differences as compared to the cross-sectional estimates. Finally, the results indicated that the error-corrected twin-based estimates of the average return to years of schooling that rely on a classical measurement error model are upwards biased by approximately 30%. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jae.724
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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca:80/jae/2004-v19.1/
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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 99-119

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    Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:19:y:2004:i:1:p:99-119
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    1. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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    3. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
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    7. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
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    14. Isacsson, Gunnar, 1999. "Estimates of the return to schooling in Sweden from a large sample of twins," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 471-489, November.
    15. Behrman, Jere R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1999. ""Ability" biases in schooling returns and twins: a test and new estimates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 159-167, April.
    16. Griliches, Zvi, 1979. "Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S37-64, October.
    17. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Estimating Returns to Schooling When Schooling is Misreported," NBER Working Papers 7235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    20. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1996. "On Using Linear Regressions in Welfare Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(4), pages 478-86, October.
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