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Education policy reform and the return to schooling from instrumental variables


  • Kevin Denny

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College Dublin)

  • Harmon, Harmon

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)


This paper analyses levels of low literacy across twelve countries using the International Adult Literacy Survey. We go beyond existing work that only looks at the proportions below certain critical levels of literacy. Using methods developed for the measurement of poverty we calculate measures of literacy that are sensitive to the distribution of literacy within those defined as illiterate. This reveals a different pattern of the extent of literacy problems across countries and within some populations. These measures should be useful to policy makers who need to allocate resources to alleviate low literacy and numeracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Denny & Harmon, Harmon, 2000. "Education policy reform and the return to schooling from instrumental variables," IFS Working Papers W00/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:00/06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Imbens, G. & Angrist, J.D., 1992. "Average Causal Response with Variable Treatment Intensity," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1611, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. repec:fth:prinin:415 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kling, Jeffrey R, 2001. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 358-364, July.
    4. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    5. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 1999. "Assessing the effect of schooling on earnings using a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W99/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. Colm Harmon; & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of Economic Return to Schooling in the UK," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n540195, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    7. Uusitalo, R. & Conneely, K., 1998. "Estimating Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in the Becker Schooling Model," University of Helsinki, Department of Economics 435, Department of Economics.
    8. Tussing, A. Dale, 1978. "Irish Educational Expenditures - Past, Present, and Future," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS92.
    9. Callan, Tim & Harmon, Colm, 1999. "The economic return to schooling in Ireland," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 543-550, November.
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    11. Callan, Tim & Wren, Anne, 1994. "Male-Female Wage Differentials: Analysis and Policy Issues," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS163.
    12. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," Working Papers 696, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    13. Kakwani, Nanak, 1980. "On a Class of Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 437-446, March.
    14. Kevin Denny & Colm Harmon & Dorren McMahon & Sandra Redmond, 1999. "Literacy and Education in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 30(3), pages 215-226.
    15. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, June.
    16. Lang, Kevin, 1993. "Ability Bias, Discount Rate Bias and the Return to Education," MPRA Paper 24651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Kevin Denny & Harmon, Harmon & Sandra Redmond, 2000. "Functional literacy, educational attainment and earnings - evidence from the international adult literacy survey," IFS Working Papers W00/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    18. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    19. Ashenfelter, Orley & Harmon, Colm & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1999. "A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 453-470, November.
    20. Henry S. Farber & Jeffrey R. Kling & Alan Krueger, 1999. "Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling," Working Papers 794, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    21. Harmon, Harmon & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gudrun Biffl, 2002. "An International Comparison of Costs and Benefits of Education Systems," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 75(6), pages 397-411, June.
    2. Tjaša Bartolj & Aleš AhCan & Aljoša Feldin & Sašo Polanec, 2013. "Evolution of private returns to tertiary education during transition: evidence from Slovenia," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 407-424, September.
    3. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2000. "The returns to education : a review of evidence, issues and deficiencies in the literature," Open Access publications 10197/670, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Angel de la Fuente & Antonio Ciccone, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," Working Papers 70, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    5. Brunello, Giorgio & Fort, Margherita & Weber, Guglielmo, 2007. "“For One More Year with You”: Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 3102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:ris:apltrx:0326 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/1099 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Andrea Mercatanti, 2008. "A likelihood-based analysis for relaxing the exclusion restriction in randomized experiments with imperfect compliance," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 683, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Concetta, MENDOLICCHIO, 2006. "A Disaggregate Analysis of Private Returns to Education in Italy," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006054, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    10. Empar Pons & Maria Teresa Gonzalo, 2001. "Returns to Schooling in Spain. How Reliable Are IV Estimates?," Working Papers 446, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    11. Seamus McGuinness, 2003. "University quality and labour market outcomes," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(18), pages 1943-1955.
    12. Shandre M. Thangavelu & Hu Guangzhou, 2006. "Lessons from "benchmark" countries : Korea & Ireland," Labor Economics Working Papers 21820, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    13. Deng, Binbin, 2010. "Schooling and Wage Revisited: Does Higher IQ Really Give You Higher Income?," MPRA Paper 23206, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Chris Sakellariou, 2006. "Education policy reform, local average treatment effect and returns to schooling from instrumental variables in the Philippines," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 473-481.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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