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The role of schools in the production of achievement

  • Maria E. Canon

What explains differences in pre-market factors? Three types of inputs are believed to determine the skills agents take to the labor market: ability, family inputs and school inputs. Therefore to answer the previous question it is crucial to understand first the importance of each of those inputs. The literature on the production of achievement has not been able to provide an estimation that can take the three factors into account simultaneously at the student level. This paper intends to fill this gap by providing an estimation of the production function of achievement where both types of investments (families and schools) are considered in a framework where the inputs are allowed to be correlated with the unobserved term, ability to learn. I do that by applying Olley and Pakes’ (1996) algorithm which accommodates for endogeneity problems in the choice of inputs for the production of achievement and by using parents’ saving for their child’s postsecondary education to control for the unobserved component (i.e. ability to learn) in the production of skills. The estimates for the role of family inputs are in line to previous findings. Additionally, the estimates of school inputs show that they are also important for the formation of students’ skills even after controlling for ability to learn.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2010-042.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2010-042
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  1. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2923-54, December.
  2. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James & Masterov, Dimitriy, 2004. "Labor market discrimination and racial differences in premarket factors," Working Paper Series 2005:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  3. J. A. Hausman & W. K. Newey & J. L. Powel, 1988. "Nonlinear Errors in Variables: Estimation of Some Engel Curves," Working papers 504, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro & Flavio Cunha, 2004. "The Technology of Skill Formation," 2004 Meeting Papers 681, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Ackerberg, Daniel & Lanier Benkard, C. & Berry, Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 2007. "Econometric Tools for Analyzing Market Outcomes," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 63 Elsevier.
  7. Liu, Haiyong & Mroz, Thomas A. & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2010. "Maternal employment, migration, and child development," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 212-228, May.
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