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Increasing Returns to Education: Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Alison Booth

    () (Economics Program, RSSS, ANU)

  • Melvyn Coles
  • Xiaodong Gong

    ()

Abstract

We model educational investment and labor supply in a competitive economy with home and market production. Heterogeneous workers are assumed to have different productivities both at home and in the workplace. We show that there are increasing returns to education at the labor market participation margin, and that these depend directly on the elasticity of labor supply with respect to wages. Thus the increasing returns to education problem will be most relevant for women or other types with large enough home productivity. We estimate a three equation recursive model of working hours, wages and years of schooling, and find empirical support for the main predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles & Xiaodong Gong, 2006. "Increasing Returns to Education: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 522, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:522
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP522.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
    2. Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2010. "Education, Matching, and the Allocative Value of Romance," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 744-775, June.
    3. Alison Booth & Hiau Kee, 2009. "Birth order matters: the effect of family size and birth order on educational attainment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 367-397, April.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1983. "Specialization and Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 43-49, January.
    5. Florence Jaumotte, 2003. "Female Labour Force Participation: Past Trends and Main Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 376, OECD Publishing.
    6. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
    7. Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2007. "The Impact Of Fiscal Policy On Labor Supply And Education In An Economy With Household And Market Production," CAMA Working Papers 2007-08, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    8. John Pencavel, 2002. "A Cohort Analysis of the Association between Work Hours and Wages among Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 251-274.
    9. Paul Gomme & Richard Rogerson & Peter Rupert & Randall Wright, 2005. "The Business Cycle and the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 415-592 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Patricia F. Apps & Ray Rees, 1999. "Individual versus Joint Taxation in Models with Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 393-403, April.
    11. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1998. "Income, Schooling, and Ability: Evidence from a New Sample of Identical Twins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 253-284.
    12. 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.
    13. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, May.
    14. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1993. "Working in the Market, Working at Home, and the Acquisition of Skills: A General-Equilibrium Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 893-907, September.
    15. Daron Acemoglu, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mendolicchio, Concetta & Paolini, Dimitri & Pietra, Tito, 2012. "Investments in education and welfare in a two-sector, random matching economy," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 367-385.
    2. Booth, Alison L. & Coles, Melvyn, 2007. "A microfoundation for increasing returns in human capital accumulation and the under-participation trap," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1661-1681, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to education; home production; labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • 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
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets

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