The Returns to Education in Italy: A New Look at the Evidence
The purpose of this paper is to provide an update of the empirical evidence on the private returns to education in Italy. First, we show that, whilst returns to education in Italy (based on gross wages) are in line with the European average, educational attainment is generally much lower (particularly at secondary and tertiary levels). How can we reconcile these findings? Based on a simple human capital model - where the optimal level of schooling is given by equating the marginal return to the marginal cost of education - we speculate that either marginal costs are steeper in Italy or that a larger share of the population involved in human capital investment faces high marginal costs in Italy compared to the European average. Second, we examine whether the estimated returns to education have varied significantly over time. The evidence is that returns have not changed much over the period 1977 to 1995, with the exception of 1993 and 1995, when they have increased significantly,especially among female employees. Quite interestingly, the observed increase in the returns to education has been almost completely driven by higher returns to education in the public sector. Assuming that skill biased technical change has been an important factor in shifting out the marginal returns to education, an important question for future research is why these shifts have only affected returns in the public sector of the economy. Third and last, we confirm the usual finding in the international literature that accounting for measurement error in years of schooling and/or for the endogeneity of educational choices by using instrumental variables significantly increases the returns to education with respect to estimates based on OLS methods. We also show that adding family background variables to the set of instruments significantly increases returns, which suggests that these variables affect mainly the subgroup of individuals with higher marginal returns to schooling.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2000|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Harmon, C./I. Walker/N. Westergard-Nielsen (eds.), The Returns to Education in Europe, Edward Elgar, 2001|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
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.:
- James J. Heckman, 1999.
"Policies to Foster Human Capital,"
NBER Working Papers
7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," Working Papers 0028, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- James J. Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," JCPR Working Papers 154, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Dustmann, C. & van Soest, A., 1997.
"Public and Private Sector Wages of Male Workers in Germany,"
Economics Working Papers
eco97/13, European University Institute.
- Dustmann, Christian & van Soest, Arthur, 1998. "Public and private sector wages of male workers in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1417-1441, September.
- Heckman, James, 2013.
"Sample selection bias as a specification error,"
Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
- Albert Alesina & Stephan Danninger & Massimo Rostagno, 2001.
"Redistribution Through Public Employment: The Case of Italy,"
IMF Staff Papers,
Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(3), pages 2.
- Stephan Danninger & Alberto Alesina & Massimo V. Rostagno, 1999. "Redistribution Through Public Employment; The Case of Italy," IMF Working Papers 99/177, International Monetary Fund.
- Alberto Alesina & Stephan Danninger & Massimo Rostagno, 1999. "Redistribution Through Public Employment: The Case of Italy," NBER Working Papers 7387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001.
"Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
- David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998.
"Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1999. "Lower and upper bounds of returns to schooling: An exercise in IV estimation with different instruments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 889-901, April.
- Vella, Francis & Gregory, R. G., 1996. "Selection bias and human capital investment: Estimating the rates of return to education for young males," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 197-219, September.
- Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1999. "Schooling, Intelligence, and Income in America: Cracks in the Bell Curve," NBER Working Papers 6902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brunello, Giorgio & Colussi, Aldo, 1998.
"The employer size-wage effect: evidence from Italy,"
Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 217-230, June.
- Brunello, G & Colussi, A, 1997. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect : Evidence from Italy," ISER Discussion Paper 0432, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
- 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.
- Willis, Robert J., 1987. "Wage determinants: A survey and reinterpretation of human capital earnings functions," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 525-602 Elsevier.
- 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.
- Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
- David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," NBER Working Papers 4832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp130. 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: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.