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Estimating the returns to schooling: a likelihood approach based on normal mixtures

Author

Listed:
  • John K. Dagsvik
  • TorbjØrn HÆgeland
  • Arvid Raknerud

Abstract

In this paper we develop likelihood based methods for statistical inference in a joint system of equations for the choice of length of schooling and earnings. The model for schooling choice is assumed to be an ordered probit model, whereas the earnings equation contains variables that are flexible transformations of schooling and experience, with corresponding coefficients that are allowed to be heterogeneous across individuals. Under the assumption that the distribution of the random terms of the model can be expressed as a particular finite mixture of multinormal distributions, we show that the joint probability distribution for schooling and earnings can be expressed on closed form. In an application of our method on Norwegian data, we find that the mixed Gaussian model offers a substantial improvement in fit to the (heavy-tailed) empirical distribution of log-earnings compared to a multinormal benchmark model.
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Suggested Citation

  • John K. Dagsvik & TorbjØrn HÆgeland & Arvid Raknerud, 2011. "Estimating the returns to schooling: a likelihood approach based on normal mixtures," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 613-640, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:japmet:v:26:y:2011:i:4:p:613-640
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    2. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jorgen, 2007. "A structural analysis of the correlated random coefficient wage regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 827-848, October.
    3. 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.
    4. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects, and Econometric Policy Evaluation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(3), pages 669-738, May.
    5. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "The return to schooling in structural dynamic models: a survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1059-1105, July.
    6. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2003. "Further results on instrumental variables estimation of average treatment effects in the correlated random coefficient model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 185-191, May.
    7. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-1143, Nov.-Dec..
    8. Haegeland, Torbjorn & Klette, Tor Jakob & Salvanes, Kjell G, 1999. " Declining Returns to Education in Norway? Comparing Estimates across Cohorts, Sectors and Over Time," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 555-576, December.
    9. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 2075-2091, September.
    10. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
    11. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    12. Garen, John, 1984. "The Returns to Schooling: A Selectivity Bias Approach with a Continuous Choice Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1199-1218, September.
    13. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-694, July.
    14. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1997. "On two stage least squares estimation of the average treatment effect in a random coefficient model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 129-133, October.
    15. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    16. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Cappelen, Ådne & Raknerud, Arvid & Rybalka, Marina, 2012. "The effects of R&D tax credits on patenting and innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 334-345.
    2. John K. Dagsvik & Zhiyang Jia & Tom Kornstad & Thor O. Thoresen, 2014. "Theoretical And Practical Arguments For Modeling Labor Supply As A Choice Among Latent Jobs," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 134-151, February.
    3. Adam Nowak & Patrick Smith, 2015. "Textual Analysis in Real Estate," Working Papers 15-34, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    4. Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Røed, Knut, 2011. "Educating Children of Immigrants: Closing the Gap in Norwegian Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 6138, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Arvid Raknerud & Mirjam van Praag, 2014. "The entrepreneurial earnings puzzle. Evidence from matched person-firm data," Discussion Papers 789, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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