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Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling

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  • Stephen V. Cameron
  • Christopher Taber

Abstract

This paper measures the importance of borrowing constraints on education decisions. Empirical identification of borrowing constraints is secured by the economic prediction that opportunity costs and direct costs of schooling affect borrowing-constrained and unconstrained persons differently. Direct costs need to be financed during school and impose a larger burden on credit-constrained students. By contrast, gross forgone earnings do not have to be financed. We explore the implications of this idea using four methodologies: schooling attainment models, instrumental variable wage regressions, and two structural economic models that integrate both schooling choices and schooling returns into a unified framework. None of the methods produces evidence that borrowing constraints generate inefficiencies in the market for schooling in the current policy environment. We conclude that, on the margin, additional policies aimed at improving credit access will have little impact on schooling attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:1:p:132-182
    DOI: 10.1086/379937
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Taber, Christopher R., 2000. "Semiparametric identification and heterogeneity in discrete choice dynamic programming models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 201-229, June.
    2. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1.
    3. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366, Elsevier.
    4. Clotfelter, Charles T. & Rothschild, Michael (ed.), 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110547, March.
    5. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
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    7. Altonji, Joseph G & Dunn, Thomas A, 1996. "The Effects of Family Characteristics on the Return to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 692-704, November.
    8. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Methods for the Correlated Random Coefficient Model: Estimating the Average Rate of Return to Schooling When the Return is Correlated with Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 974-987.
    9. Lang, Kevin, 1993. "Ability Bias, Discount Rate Bias and the Return to Education," MPRA Paper 24651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ashenfelter, Orley & Harmon, Colm & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1999. "A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 453-470, November.
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