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The Returns to Schooling Unveiled

Author

Listed:
  • Cardoso, Ana Rute

    () (IAE Barcelona (CSIC))

  • Guimaraes, Paulo

    () (Banco de Portugal)

  • Portugal, Pedro

    () (Banco de Portugal)

  • Reis, Hugo

    () (Banco de Portugal)

Abstract

We bring together the strands of literature on the returns to education, its spillovers, and the role of the employer shaping the wage distribution. The aim is to analyze the labor market returns to education taking into account who the worker is (worker unobserved ability), what he does (the job title), with whom (the coworkers) and, also crucially, for whom (the employer). We combine data of remarkable quality – exhaustive longitudinal linked employer-employee data on Portugal – with innovative empirical methods, to address the homophily or reflection problem, selection issues, and common measurement errors and confounding factors. Our methodology combines the estimation of wage regressions in the spirit of Abowd, Kramarz, and Margolis (1999), Gelbach's (2016) unambiguous conditional decomposition of the impact of various omitted covariates on an estimated coefficient, and Arcidiacono et al.'s (2012) procedure to identify the impact of peer quality. We first uncover that peer effects are quite sizeable. A one standard deviation increase in the measure of peer quality leads to a wage increase of 2.1 log points. Next, we show that education grants access to better-paying firms and job titles: one fourth of the overall return to education operates through the firm channel and a third operates through the job-title channel, while the remainder is associated exclusively with the individual worker. Finally, we unveil that an additional year of average education of coworkers yields a 0.5 log points increase in a worker's wage, after we net out a 2.0 log points return due to homophily (similarity of own and peers' characteristics), and 3.3 log points associated with worker sorting across firms and job titles.

Suggested Citation

  • Cardoso, Ana Rute & Guimaraes, Paulo & Portugal, Pedro & Reis, Hugo, 2018. "The Returns to Schooling Unveiled," IZA Discussion Papers 11419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11419
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso & Joerg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2018. "Firms and Labor Market Inequality: Evidence and Some Theory," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 13-70.
    2. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "Identifying Human-Capital Externalities: Theory with Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 381-412.
    3. David Card & Jörg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Workplace Heterogeneity and the Rise of West German Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 967-1015.
    4. Thomas Cornelissen & Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2017. "Peer Effects in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 425-456, February.
    5. Belzil, Christian, 2007. "The return to schooling in structural dynamic models: a survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1059-1105, July.
    6. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    7. Ana Rute Cardoso & Paulo Guimarães & Pedro Portugal, 2016. "What drives the gender wage gap? A look at the role of firm and job-title heterogeneity," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 506-524.
    8. Jan Feld & Ulf Zölitz, 2017. "Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation, and Channels of Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 387-428.
    9. David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso & Patrick Kline, 2016. "Bargaining, Sorting, and the Gender Wage Gap: Quantifying the Impact of Firms on the Relative Pay of Women," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 633-686.
    10. Orley Ashenfelter & Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek, 1999. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," Working Papers 804, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Jan Eeckhout & Philipp Kircher, 2011. "Identifying Sorting--In Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 872-906.
    12. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:47-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Peter Arcidiacono & Gigi Foster & Natalie Goodpaster & Josh Kinsler, 2012. "Estimating spillovers using panel data, with an application to the classroom," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 421-470, November.
    14. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2006. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 39-58, January.
    15. repec:fth:prinin:425 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Angrist, Joshua D., 2014. "The perils of peer effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 98-108.
    17. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    18. Richard Blundell & Lorraine Dearden & Barbara Sianesi, 2005. "Evaluating the effect of education on earnings: models, methods and results from the National Child Development Survey," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 473-512.
    19. Harminder Battu & Clive R. Belfield & Peter J. Sloane, 2003. "Human Capital Spillovers within the Workplace: Evidence for Great Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(5), pages 575-594, December.
    20. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
    21. 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.
    22. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    23. Anabela Carneiro & Paulo Guimarães & Pedro Portugal, 2012. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle: Accounting for Worker, Firm, and Job Title Heterogeneity," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 133-152, April.
    24. Battisti, Michele, 2017. "High wage workers and high wage peers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 47-63.
    25. Daron Acemoglu, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage distribution; human capital spillovers; returns to education; peer effects; linked employer-employee data; high-dimensional fixed effects; firm; job title;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

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