IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlabec/doi10.1086-692509.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Life-Cycle Earnings, Education Premiums, and Internal Rates of Return

Author

Listed:
  • Manudeep Bhuller
  • Magne Mogstad
  • Kjell G. Salvanes

Abstract

Using Norwegian population panel data with nearly career-long earnings histories, we provide a detailed picture of the causal relationship between schooling and earnings over the life cycle. To address selection bias, we apply three commonly used identification strategies. We find that additional schooling gives higher lifetime earnings and a steeper age-earnings profile, in line with predictions from human capital theory. Our preferred estimates imply an internal rate of return of around 11%, suggesting that it was highly profitable to acquire additional schooling. Our analysis reveals that Mincer regressions dramatically understate the returns to schooling because key assumptions are violated.

Suggested Citation

  • Manudeep Bhuller & Magne Mogstad & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2017. "Life-Cycle Earnings, Education Premiums, and Internal Rates of Return," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(4), pages 993-1030.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/692509
    DOI: 10.1086/692509
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/692509
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/692509
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1086/692509?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stephen Machin & Kjell G. Salvanes & Panu Pelkonen, 2012. "Education And Mobility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 417-450, April.
    2. Heckman, James J & Lochner, Lance & Taber, Christopher, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human-Capital Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 293-297, May.
    3. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2487-2529, October.
    4. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    5. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    6. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Vaage, Kjell, 2010. "Measuring heterogeneity in the returns to education using an education reform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 483-500, May.
    7. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College," NBER Working Papers 9546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hernaes, Erik & Markussen, Simen & Piggott, John & Vestad, Ola L., 2013. "Does retirement age impact mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 586-598.
    9. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
    10. Aaberge, Rolf & Mogstad, Magne & Peragine, Vito, 2011. "Measuring long-term inequality of opportunity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 193-204.
    11. V. Joseph Hotz & Lixin Colin Xu & Marta Tienda & Avner Ahituv, 2002. "Are There Returns To The Wages Of Young Men From Working While In School?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 221-236, May.
    12. Paul J. Devereux & Robert A. Hart, 2010. "Forced to be Rich? Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1345-1364, December.
    13. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 767, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "Identifying and Estimating the Distributions of Ex Post and Ex Ante Returns to Schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 870-893, December.
    15. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2008. "Earnings Functions and Rates of Return," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-31.
    16. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
    17. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2011. "Estimating Marginal Returns to Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2754-2781, October.
    18. Christian Dustmann & Arthur Soest, 2008. "Part-time work, school success and school leaving," Studies in Empirical Economics, in: Christian Dustmann & Bernd Fitzenberger & Stephen Machin (ed.), The Economics of Education and Training, pages 23-45, Springer.
    19. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "2001 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 361-422, May.
    20. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-1286, December.
    21. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    22. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    23. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance J. & Todd, Petra E., 2006. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 307-458, Elsevier.
    24. Bound, John & Solon, Gary, 1999. "Double trouble: on the value of twins-based estimation of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 169-182, April.
    25. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
    26. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
    27. Kalenkoski, Charlene Marie & Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff, 2012. "Time to work or time to play: The effect of student employment on homework, sleep, and screen time," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 211-221.
    28. Karin Monstad & Carol Propper & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Education and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 827-852, December.
    29. Gunnar Isacsson, 2004. "Estimating the economic return to educational levels using data on twins," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 99-119.
    30. 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.
    31. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    32. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-156, April.
    33. Devereux, Paul J. & Fan, Wen, 2011. "Earnings returns to the British education expansion," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1153-1166.
    34. Harmon, Harmon & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    35. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-1173, December.
    36. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling and Earnings," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 41-63, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bhuller, Manudeep & Mogstad, Magne & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Life-Cycle Bias and the Returns to Schooling in Current and Lifetime Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 5788, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Mohitosh Kejriwal & Xiaoxiao Li & Evan Totty, 2020. "Multidimensional skills and the returns to schooling: Evidence from an interactive fixed‐effects approach and a linked survey‐administrative data set," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(5), pages 548-566, August.
    3. Chaitali Sinha, 2014. "Human Capital and Public Policy," South Asian Journal of Macroeconomics and Public Finance, , vol. 3(1), pages 79-125, June.
    4. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2008. "Earnings Functions and Rates of Return," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-31.
    5. Mohitosh Kejriwal & Xiaoxiao Li & Evan Totty, 2019. "Multidemsional Skills and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from an Interactive Fixed Effects Aproach and a Linked Survey-Administrative Dataset," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1316, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    6. Burgess, Simon, 2016. "Human Capital and Education: The State of the Art in the Economics of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 9885, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Sánchez-Romero, Miguel & d׳Albis, Hippolyte & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2016. "Education, lifetime labor supply, and longevity improvements," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 118-141.
    8. Binelli, Chiara & Menezes-Filho, Naercio, 2019. "Why Brazil fell behind in college education?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 80-106.
    9. Kamila Cygan-Rehm, 2018. "Is Additional Schooling Worthless? Revising Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 7191, CESifo.
    10. Denis Maguain, 2007. "Les rendements de l'éducation en comparaison internationale," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 180(4), pages 87-106.
    11. Lång, Elisabeth & Nystedt, Paul, 2016. "Learning For Life? The Effects of Schooling on Earnings and Health- Related Behavior Over the Life Cycle," LiU Working Papers in Economics 4, Linköping University, Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering.
    12. Ozturk, Ahmet & Tumen, Semih, 2018. "Education and Labor Market Consequences of Student Protests in Late 1970s and the Subsequent Military Coup in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 11733, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Buscha, Franz & Dickson, Matt, 2015. "The Wage Returns to Education over the Life-Cycle: Heterogeneity and the Role of Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 9596, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Nikolov, Plamen & Jimi, Nusrat & Chang, Jerray, 2020. "The Importance of Cognitive Domains and the Returns to Schooling in South Africa: Evidence from Two Labor Surveys," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    15. Mirjam van Praag & Arjen van Witteloostuijn & Justin van der Sluis, 2009. "Returns for Entrepreneurs versus Employees: The Effect of Education and Personal Control on the Relative Performance of Entrepreneurs vis-a-vis Wage Employees," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-111/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    16. Ukaj MIC & Mustafa Topxhiu RAHMIJE, 2019. "The returns to investment in education: Some theoretical and empirical insights," Economics and Applied Informatics, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 1, pages 193-203.
    17. Matt Dickson, 2013. "The Causal Effect of Education on Wages Revisited," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 477-498, August.
    18. Assaad, Ragui & Aydemir, Abdurrahman B. & Dayioglu-Tayfur, Meltem & Kirdar, Murat G., 2023. "Wage Returns to Human Capital Resulting from an Extra Year of Primary School: Evidence from Egypt," IZA Discussion Papers 16037, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Ragui Assaad & Abdurrahman Aydemir & Meltem Dayioglu & Guray Kirdar, 2016. "Returns to Schooling in Egypt," Working Papers 1000, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2016.
    20. Karlis Vilerts & Olegs Krasnopjorovs & Edgars Brekis, 2015. "Does Education Affect Wages During and After Economic Crisis? Evidence from Latvia (2006–2012)," Working Papers 2015/03, Latvijas Banka.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/692509. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Journals Division (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.