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Equilibrium Sorting of Heterogeneous Consumers Across Locations

This paper develops a model in which a continuum of consumers choose from a continuum of locations indexed by school quality. It computes equilibria that are sustained by an equilibrium price function that matches consumers to different locations based on their willingness to pay for school quality. In equilibrium each location is inhabited by a set of people with varying levels of education, ability, intensity of preference for education, and income. The distributions of characteristics within each location are determined by the structural elements of the model. This paper also demonstrates how the equilibrium implications of a structural economic matching model can be used to solve two important econometric identification problems. First, it is likely that regressions that seek to estimate the effects of school quality on educational outcomes are biased because people choose where their children go to school. The model in the paper solves this problem by using a consumer location choice equation and an equilibrium pricing relation to create a valid instrument for the school quality variable. Second, hedonic estimation problems in a single market are unidentified because the marginal price function is unknown or collinear with the level of the product demanded. This paper solves this problem by exploiting the restrictions that equilibrium in the sorting economy imposes on the equilibrium price function. The equilibrium price equation introduces a non-linearity into the system that is sufficient for identification

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 337.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:337
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  1. Ivar Ekeland & James J. Heckman & Lars Nesheim, 2004. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S60-S109, February.
  2. James N. Brown & Harvey S. Rosen, 1982. "On the Estimation of Structural Hedonic Price Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  4. Epple, Dennis, 1987. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Estimating Demand and Supply Functions for Differentiated Products," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 59-80, February.
  5. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
  6. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  7. Bartik, Timothy J, 1987. "Estimating Hedonic Demand Parameters with Single Market Data: The Problems Caused by Unobserved Tastes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 178-80, February.
  8. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
  9. Eric A. Hanushek, 1996. "Measuring Investment in Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
  10. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  11. Betts, Julian R, 1995. "Does School Quality Matter? Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 231-50, May.
  12. Kahn, Shulamit & Lang, Kevin, 1988. "Efficient Estimation of Structural Hedonic Systems," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(1), pages 157-66, February.
  13. Teulings, Coen N, 1995. "The Wage Distribution in a Model of the Assignment of Skills to Jobs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 280-315, April.
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