Educational Attainment and Cohort Size
The authors argue that the postwar baby boom caused substantial fluctuations in both the economic rewards to education and educational attainment over the last three decades. If substitutability between young and old workers diminishes with education, the present value of lifetime earnings for a boom cohort is depressed more for highly educated workers, reducing incentives for educational attainment. The opposite is true for pre- and postboom cohorts. The diminishing substitutability hypothesis explains the declines in both the returns to college and college completion rates in the 1970s, and predicts a substantial increase in educational attainment for post boomers. Copyright 1988 by University of Chicago Press.
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