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Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments

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  • Ichino, Andrea
  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

Abstract

Several recent studies based on 'exogenous' sources of variation in education outcomes show Instrumental Variables (IV) estimates of returns to schooling that are substantially higher than the corresponding Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimates. Card (1995a) suggests that these results can be explained by the existence of heterogenity in individual returns and by the fact that these studies are based on instruments that influence only the educational decision of individuals with high marginal returns due to either liquidity constraints or to high ability. This conclusion is consistent with the Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) interpretation of IV (Imbens and Angrist, 1994), according to which IV identifies only the average returns of those who comply with the assignment-to-treatment mechanism implied by the instrument. We show evidence for Germany suggesting that returns to schooling are heterogeneous, instruments do matter and the LATE interpretation of IV makes sense. With an appropriate choice of instruments we also show how IV can be used to approximate the range of variations of returns to schooling in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harmon, Harmon & Ian Walker, 1996. "The marginal and average returns to schooling," IFS Working Papers W96/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998. "The Long-Run Educational Cost of World War II: An Example of Local Average Treatment Effect Estimation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. John Bound & David A. Jaeger, 1996. "On the Validity of Season of Birth as an Instrument in Wage Equations: A Comment on Angrist & Krueger's "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Scho," NBER Working Papers 5835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    5. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. "More Equal but Less Mobile? Education Financing and Intergenerational Mobility in Italy and in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 1496, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Instrumental Variables; returns to schooling; Wage Determination;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • 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

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