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Misreported schooling and returns to education: evidence from the UK

  • Erich Battistin


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Barbara Sianesi


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and IFS)

In this paper we study the impact of misreported treatment status on the estimation of causal treatment effects. We characterise the bias introduced by misclassification on the average treatment effect on the treated under the assumption of selection on observables. Although the bias of matching-type estimators computed from misclassified data cannot in general be signed, we show that the bias is most likely to be downward if misclassification does not depend on variables entering the selection-on-observables assumption, or only depends on such variables via the propensity score index. We extend the framework to multiple treatments. We provide results to bound the returns to a number of educational qualifications in the UK semi-parametrically, and by using the unique nature of our data we assess the plausibility for the two biases from measurement error and from omitted variables to cancel out.

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Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP07/06.

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Length: 51 pp.
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:07/06
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  1. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  2. Blanden, Jo & Alissa Goodman & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2002. "Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 31, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2003. "Class Ridden or Meritocratic? An Economic Analysis of Recent Changes in Britain," CEE Discussion Papers 0032, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  4. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  5. Chevalier, Arnaud & Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2003. "Does Education Raise Productivity or Just Reflect It?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3993, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Steven McIntosh, 2004. "Further analysis of the returns to academic and vocational qualifications," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19472, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Peter Robinson, 1997. "The Myth of Parity of Esteem: Earnings and Qualifications," CEP Discussion Papers dp0354, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  9. Bollinger, Christopher R., 1996. "Bounding mean regressions when a binary regressor is mismeasured," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 387-399, August.
  10. Dearden, Lorraine, 1999. "The effects of families and ability on men's education and earnings in Britain1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 551-567, November.
  11. Richard Blundell & Lorraine Dearden & Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "Evaluating the impact of education on earnings in the UK: models, methods and results from the NCDS," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19451, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Guido Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2003. "Confidence intervals for partially identified parameters," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Arthur Lewbel, 2004. "Estimation of Average Treatment Effects With Misclassification," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 210, Econometric Society.
  14. Molinari, Francesca, 2005. "Partial Identification of Probability Distributions with Misclassified Data," Working Papers 05-10, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  15. Dearden, Lorraine, et al, 2002. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 249-74, July.
  16. Battistin, Erich & De Nadai, Michele & Sianesi, Barbara, 2014. "Misreported schooling, multiple measures and returns to educational qualifications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 181(2), pages 136-150.
  17. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
  18. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
  19. Del Bono, Emilia & Galindo-Rueda, Fernando, 2004. "Do a Few Months of Compulsory Schooling Matter? The Education and Labour Market Impact of School Leaving Rules," IZA Discussion Papers 1233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
  21. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Blundell, Richard, et al, 2000. "The Returns to Higher Education in Britain: Evidence from a British Cohort," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(461), pages F82-99, February.
  23. Lorraine Dearden, 1999. "Qualifications and earnings in Britain: how reliable are conventional OLS estimates of the returns to education?," IFS Working Papers W99/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  24. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
  25. Aprajit Mahajan, 2006. "Identification and Estimation of Regression Models with Misclassification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 631-665, 05.
  26. Horowitz, Joel & Manski, Charles, 1997. "Nonparametric Analysis of Randomized Experiments With Missing Covariate and Outcome Data," Working Papers 97-16, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
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