IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Proxying ability by family background in returns to schooling estimations is generally a bad idea

  • Mellander, Erik

    ()

    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Sandgren-Massih, Sofia

    ()

    (Department of Economonics, Uppsala University)

Registered author(s):

    A regression model is considered where earnings are explained by schooling and ability. It is assumed that schooling is measured with error and that there are no data on ability. Regressing earnings on observed schooling then yields an estimate of the return to schooling that is subject to positive omitted variable bias (OVB) and negative measurement error bias (MEB). The effects on the OVB and the MEB from using family background variables as proxies for ability are investigated theoretically and empirically. The theoretical analysis demonstrates that the impact on the OVB is uncertain, while the MEB invariably increases in magnitude. The empirical analysis shows that the MEB generally dominates the OVB. As the measurement error increases and/or more family background variables are added, the total bias rapidly becomes negative, driving the estimated return further and further away from the true value.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.ifau.se/upload/pdf/se/2008/wp08-22.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008:22.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 28 pages
    Date of creation: 20 Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2008, pages 853-875.
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_022
    Contact details of provider: Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
    Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
    Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
    Web page: http://www.ifau.se/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Lam. D. & Schoeni, R.F., 1996. "Effects on Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Papers 96-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
    2. Welch, Finis, 1975. "Human Capital Theory: Education, Discrimination, and Life Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 63-73, May.
    3. Isacsson, Gunnar, 1999. "Estimates of the return to schooling in Sweden from a large sample of twins," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 471-489, November.
    4. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    5. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_022. 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: (Margareta Wicklander)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.