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Simulating the Risk of Investment in Human Capital

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  • Joop Hartog
  • Hans Van Ophem
  • Simona Maria Bajdechi

Abstract

The risk of investment in schooling has largely been ignored. We mimic the investment decision facing a student and simulate risky earnings profiles in alternative options, with parameters taken from the very limited evidence. The distribution of rates of return appears positively skewed. Our best estimate of ex ante risk in university education is a coefficient of variation of about 0.3, comparable with that in a randomly selected financial portfolio with some 30 stocks. With risk attitudes varying by parental background, this may be relevant for differences in schooling participation rates. Allowing for stochastic components in earnings also markedly affects expected returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Joop Hartog & Hans Van Ophem & Simona Maria Bajdechi, 2007. "Simulating the Risk of Investment in Human Capital," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 259-275.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:15:y:2007:i:3:p:259-275 DOI: 10.1080/09645290701273434
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stinebrickner, Todd R, 2001. "A Dynamic Model of Teacher Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 196-230, January.
    2. Stinebrickner, Todd R., 1998. "An Empirical Investigation of Teacher Attrition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 127-136, April.
    3. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Incentives, Choice, and Accountability in the Provision of Public Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 235-249, Summer.
    4. Torberg Falch & Bjarne Strøm, 2003. "Teacher Turnover and Non-Pecuniary Factors," Working Paper Series 3604, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    5. Sullivan, Daniel, 1989. "Monopsony Power in the Market for Nurses," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 135-178, October.
    6. Christopher Jepsen & Steven Rivkin, 2002. "What is the Tradeoff Between Smaller Classes and Teacher Quality?," NBER Working Papers 9205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sergey Roshchin & Victor Rudakov, 2015. "Do Starting Salaries for Graduates Measure the Quality of Education? A Review of Studies by Russian and Foreign Authors," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 137-181.
    2. 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.
    3. Russ, Meir, 2016. "The probable foundations of sustainabilism: Information, energy and entropy based definition of capital, Homo Sustainabiliticus and the need for a “new gold”," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 328-338.
    4. Beladi, Hamid & Sinha, Chaitali & Kar, Saibal, 2016. "To educate or not to educate: Impact of public policies in developing countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 94-101.
    5. Paolo Buonanno & Dario Pozzoli, 2007. "Risk Aversion and College Subject," Working Papers (-2012) 0707, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; return; earnings dispersion; risk;

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