IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/journl/halshs-00174507.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Belzil

    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS LSH - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marco Leonardi

    (IZA - Institute for the study of labor - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, Università degli studi di Milano [Milano])

Abstract

We develop a non-rational expectation econometric model of sequential schooling decisions. Using unique Italian panel data in which individual differences in attitudes toward risk are measurable (with error), we investigate the effect of risk aversion on the probability of entering higher education. This allows us to characterize the subjective (as opposed to the objective) effect of higher education on marginal risk exposure. Because the measure of risk aversion (the classical Arrow-Pratt degree of absolute risk aversion) is posterior to schooling decisions, it depends on current wealth realizations and we must therefore take into account its endogeneity. We also allow risk aversion to be measured with error. After taking into account both the endogeneity of wealth and measurement error, we find that risk aversion is a key determinant (comparable to parents' educational background) of the decisions to enter higher education. Precisely, risk aversion acts as a deterrent to higher education investment

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions," Post-Print halshs-00174507, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00174507
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00174507
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00174507/document
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    2. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
    3. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
    4. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "The return to schooling in structural dynamic models: a survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1059-1105, July.
    5. Matthew Johnson & Michael P. Keane, 2013. "A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of the US Wage Structure, 1968-1996," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-49.
    6. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2007. "Dynamic discrete choice and dynamic treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 341-396, February.
    7. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
    8. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Can risk aversion explain schooling attainments? Evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 957-970, December.
    9. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x.
    10. John F. Geweke & Michael P. Keane, 1996. "Bayesian inference for dynamic choice models without the need for dynamic programming," Working Papers 564, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    11. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    12. Christian Belzil, 2006. "Subjective beliefs and Schooling Decisions," Post-Print halshs-00265466, HAL.
    13. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2006. "Can Risk Aversion Explain Schooling Attainment?," Post-Print halshs-00265436, HAL.
    14. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviours," CEPR Discussion Papers 4591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Levhari, David & Weiss, Yoram, 1974. "The Effect of Risk on the Investment in Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 950-963, December.
    16. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    17. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249.
    18. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 2075-2091, September.
    19. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
    20. Chiswick, Barry R & Mincer, Jacob, 1972. "Time-Series Changes in Personal Income Inequality in the United States from 1939, with Projections to 1985," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 34-66, Part II, .
    21. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 6385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Stacey H. Chen, 2008. "Estimating the Variance of Wages in the Presence of Selection and Unobserved Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 275-289, May.
    23. Marco Leonardi, 2007. "Do Parents Risk Aversion and Wealth Explalin Secondary School Choice?," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 66(2), pages 177-206, July.
    24. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Dropout and Enrollment Trends in the Postwar Period: What Went Wrong in the 1970s?," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 439-482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 948-964, June.
    26. Michael P. Keane, 2002. "Financial Aid, Borrowing Constraints, and College Attendance: Evidence from Structural Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 293-297, May.
    27. Joop Hartog & Hans van Ophem & Simona Maria Bajdechi, 2004. "How Risky is Investment in Human Capital?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-080/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    28. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Earnings and Employment Risk," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 241-253, April.
    29. Joop Hartog & Hans van Ophem & Simona Maria Bajdechi, 2004. "How Risky is Investment in Human Capital?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1261, CESifo.
    30. Olson, Lawrence & White, Halbert & Shefrin, H M, 1979. "Optimal Investment in Schooling when Incomes are Risky," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 522-539, June.
    31. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk Aversion and Income Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 626-653, October.
    32. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Brodaty, Thomas & Gary-Bobo, Robert J. & Prieto, Ana, 2014. "Do risk aversion and wages explain educational choices?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 125-148.
    2. Bilkic, N. & Gries, T. & Pilichowski, M., 2012. "Stay in school or start working? — The human capital investment decision under uncertainty and irreversibility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 706-717.
    3. Lata Gangadharan & Tarun Jain & Pushkar Maitra & Joe Vecci, 2021. "Lab-in-the-Field Experiments: Perspectives from Research on Gender," Monash Economics Working Papers 2021-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. Daniela Bellani & Bruno Arpino, 2021. "Risk aversion and fertility. Evidence from a lottery question in Italy," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2021_02, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".
    5. Schweri, Juerg & Hartog, Joop & Wolter, Stefan C., 2011. "Do students expect compensation for wage risk?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 215-227, April.
    6. Christian Belzil, 2006. "Subjective beliefs and Schooling Decisions," Post-Print halshs-00265466, HAL.
    7. Raymond Boadi Frempong & David Stadelmann, 2021. "Risk preference and child labor: Econometric evidence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 878-894, May.
    8. Paolo Buonanno & Dario Pozzoli, 2007. "Risk Aversion and College Subject," Working Papers (-2012) 0707, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
    9. Plamen Nikolov, 2018. "Time Delay and Investment Decisions: Evidence from An Experiment in Tanzania," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(2), pages 1124-1137.
    10. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha & Subramanian, Samyukta, 2015. "Choosing to be trained: Do behavioral traits matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 145-159.
    11. Nathan Kettlewell, 2019. "Utilization and Selection in an Ancillaries Health Insurance Market," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 86(4), pages 989-1017, December.
    12. Jonathan G. Kimmes & Stuart J. Heckman, 2017. "Parenting Styles and College Enrollment: A Path Analysis of Risky Human Capital Decisions," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 614-627, December.
    13. Basu, Arnab K. & Dimova, Ralitza, 2021. "Household Preferences and Child Labor in Rural Ethiopia," IZA Discussion Papers 14062, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Mazza, Jacopo & van Ophem, Hans & Hartog, Joop, 2013. "Unobserved heterogeneity and risk in wage variance: Does more schooling reduce earnings risk?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 323-338.
    15. Shrestha, Vinish, 2020. "Maternal education and infant health gradient: New answers to old questions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    16. Pushkar Maitra & Ananta Neelim, 2020. "Behavioral Characteristics, Stability of Preferences and Entrepreneurial Success," Monash Economics Working Papers 15-20, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    17. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha & Subramanian, Samyukta, 2011. "Selection into skill accumulation: evidence using observational and experimental data," MPRA Paper 32383, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Fabian T. Pfeffer & Martin Hällsten, 2012. "Mobility Regimes and Parental Wealth: The United States, Germany, and Sweden in Comparison," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 500, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Can risk aversion explain schooling attainments? Evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 957-970, December.
    2. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "The return to schooling in structural dynamic models: a survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1059-1105, July.
    3. Checchi, Daniele & Fiorio, Carlo V. & Leonardi, Marco, 2014. "Parents' risk aversion and children's educational attainment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 164-175.
    4. Christian Belzil, 2006. "Subjective beliefs and Schooling Decisions," Post-Print halshs-00265466, HAL.
    5. Joop Hartog & Luis Diaz-Serrano, 2015. "Why Do We Ignore the Risk in Schooling Decisions?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 125-153, June.
    6. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2020. "The evolution of the US family income–schooling relationship and educational selectivity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(7), pages 841-859, November.
    7. Ge, Suqin, 2013. "Estimating the returns to schooling: Implications from a dynamic discrete choice model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 92-105.
    8. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2019. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(6), pages 2569-2624.
    9. Brodaty, Thomas & Gary-Bobo, Robert J. & Prieto, Ana, 2014. "Do risk aversion and wages explain educational choices?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 125-148.
    10. Stacey H. Chen, 2003. "Estimating the Variance of Wages in the Presence of Selection and Unobservable Heterogeneity," Discussion Papers 03-01, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    11. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-20, CIRANO.
    12. J. François Outreville, 2015. "The Relationship Between Relative Risk Aversion And The Level Of Education: A Survey And Implications For The Demand For Life Insurance," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 97-111, February.
    13. Juanna Schrøter Joensen, 2010. "Timing and Incentives: Impacts of Student Aid on Academic Achievement," 2010 Meeting Papers 823, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Binelli, Chiara & Menezes-Filho, Naercio, 2019. "Why Brazil fell behind in college education?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 80-106.
    15. Salvador Navarro, 2011. "Using Observed Choices to Infer Agent's Information: Reconsidering the Importance of Borrowing Constraints, Uncertainty and Preferences in College Attendance," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20118, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    16. Jaap H. Abbring, 2010. "Identification of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 367-394, September.
    17. Kemptner, Daniel & Tolan, Songül, 2018. "The role of time preferences in educational decision making," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 25-39.
    18. Grossmann, Volker, 2008. "Risky human capital investment, income distribution, and macroeconomic dynamics," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 19-42, March.
    19. Heckman, James J. & Urzúa, Sergio, 2010. "Comparing IV with structural models: What simple IV can and cannot identify," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 27-37, May.
    20. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    dynamic discrete choices; éducation; ex-ante risk; risk aversion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00174507. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: CCSD (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.