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Measuring the Consumption Value of Higher Education

  • Annette Alstadsæter

This paper argues that the consumption value of education is an important motivation for the educational choice. While controlling for ability, we document that individuals are willing to forego substantial future wage returns in order to acquire a particular type of higher education. We document that the individuals who attended Teachers’ College in Norway during the 1960's had an ex ante willingness to pay for the consumption value of this educational type of at least 34% of the present value of expected potential lifetime income. The ex post price for this consumption value turned out to be 39% of their potential lifetime income.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2799.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2799
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  1. Fredriksson, Peter, 1997. " Economic Incentives and the Demand for Higher Education," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 129-42, March.
  2. Alstadsí¦ter, Annette & Kolm, Ann-Sofie & Larsen, Birthe, 2008. "Money or joy: The choice of educational type," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 107-122, March.
  3. Edward T. Gullason, 1989. "The Consumption Value of Schooling: An Empirical Estimate of One Aspect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(2), pages 287-298.
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 1975. "Education: Consumption or Production," NBER Working Papers 0104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
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  9. Bovenberg, A.L. & Jacobs, B., 2001. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Discussion Paper 2001-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1998. "Income, Schooling, And Ability: Evidence From A New Sample Of Identical Twins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 253-284, February.
  11. 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.
  12. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1999. "General Equilibrium Cost Benefit Analysis of Education and Tax Policies," NBER Working Papers 6881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  14. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  15. Burton A. Weisbrod, 1962. "Education and Investment in Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 106.
  16. Christiansen, Charlotte & Joensen, Juanna Schroter & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2007. "The risk-return trade-off in human capital investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 971-986, December.
  17. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  18. Hessel Oosterbeek & Hans van Ophem, 2000. "Schooling choices: Preferences, discount rates, and rates of return," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 15-34.
  19. Kodde, David A & Ritzen, Jozef M M, 1984. "Integrating Consumption and Investment Motives in a Neoclassical Model of Demand for Education," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 598-608.
  20. Bowles, Samuel, 1972. "Schooling and Inequality from Generation to Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S219-S51, Part II, .
  21. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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