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Nonparametric Bounds on Returns to Education in South Africa: Overcoming Ability and Selection Bias

  • Martine Mariotti

    ()

  • Juergen Meinecke

    ()

Our objective is to estimate the average treatment effect (ATE) of education on earnings for African men in South Africa. Estimation of the ATE in our data is difficult because of omitted ability bias and a high degree of sample selection due to low labor force participation. Manski and Pepper (2000) suggest is a promising nonparametric identification strategy but it only helps with the problem of omitted ability bias. We propose an extension of their identification strategy to deal with the sample selection problem. Accounting for ability and selection bias, we compute upper bounds on the ATE for the years 1995 and 2000. We estimate an upper bound of 12.64 percent in 1995 and 10.68 percent in 2000. Compared to parametric estimation our bounds are informative: The OLS returns to schooling equal 15.59 percent in 1995 and 15.31 percent in 2000. Our results suggest that many parametric estimates are severely upwards biased, which results from unobserved heterogeneity.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/econ/wp510.pdf
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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2009-510.

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Length: 34 Pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2009-510
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  1. Farshid Vahid & Pushkar Maitra, 2006. "The effect of household characteristics on living standards in South Africa 1993-1998: a quantile regression analysis with sample attrition," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(7), pages 999-1018.
  2. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 1998. "Monotone Instrumental Variables with an Application to the Returns to Schooling," NBER Technical Working Papers 0224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Julian May & Michael Carter & Lawrence Haddad & John Maluccio, 2000. "KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics Study (KIDS) 1993-98: A longitudinal household database for South African policy analysis," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 567-581.
  4. Thomas, Duncan, 1996. "Education across Generations in South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 330-34, May.
  5. Blundell, Richard William & Gosling, Amanda & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Meghir, Costas, 2004. "Changes in the Distribution of Male and Female Wages Accounting for Employment Composition Using Bounds," CEPR Discussion Papers 4705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Farshid Vahid & Pushkar Maitra, 2005. "The Effect of Household Characteristics on Living Standards in South Africa 1993 - 98: A Quantile Regression Analysis with Sample Attrition," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2005-452, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  7. Cally Ardington & Anne Case & Victoria Hosegood, 2008. "Labor supply responses to large social transfers: Longitudinal evidence from South Africa," Working Papers 1010, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  8. Charles F. Manski, 1997. "Monotone Treatment Response," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1311-1334, November.
  9. Mwabu, Germano & Schultz, T Paul, 2000. "Wage Premiums for Education and Location of South African Workers, by Gender and Race," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 307-34, January.
  10. Martine Mariotti, 2012. "Labour markets during apartheid in South Africa," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(3), pages 1100-1122, 08.
  11. Marianne Bertrand & Douglas Miller & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa," NBER Working Papers 7594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Deolalikar, Anil B & Evenson, Robert E, 1989. "Technology Production and Technology Purchase in Indian Industry: An Econometric Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(4), pages 689-92, November.
  15. Philip AE Serumaga-Zake & Willem Naude, 2003. "Private rates of return to education of Africans in South Africa for 1995: a Double Hurdle model," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 515-528.
  16. Malcolm Keswell & Laura Poswell, 2004. "Returns To Education In South Africa: A Retrospective Sensitivity Analysis Of The Available Evidence," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(4), pages 834-860, 09.
  17. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs And Educational Outcomes In South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084, August.
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  19. Doubell Chamberlain & Servaas van der Berg, 2002. "Earnings functions, labour market discrimination and quality of education in South Africa," Working Papers 02/2002, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  20. Johannes Fedderke & Jeenesh Manga & Farah Pirouz, 2004. "Challenging Cassandra: Household and Per Capita Household Income Distribution in the October Household Surveys 1995-1999, Income and Expenditure Surveys 1995 & 2000, and the Labour Force Survey 2000," Working Papers 13, Economic Research Southern Africa.
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