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A Human Capital Model of the Effects of Abilities and Family Background on Optimal Schooling Levels

  • Regan, Tracy L.

    ()

    (Boston College)

  • Burghardt, Galen

    ()

    (Calyon Financial)

  • Oaxaca, Ronald L.

    ()

    (University of Arizona)

This paper develops a theoretical model of optimal schooling levels where ability and family background are the central explanatory variables. We derive schooling demand and supply functions based on individual wealth maximization. Using NLSY79 data we stratify our sample into one-year "FTE" work experience cohorts for 1985-1989. Mincer's (1974) "overtaking" cohort (the years of work experience at which individuals' observed earnings approximately equal what they would have been based on schooling and ability alone) corresponds to 13 FTE years of work experience yielding on average a rate of return of 9.6 percent and an average (optimal) 11.4 years of schooling.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1927.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1927.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Inquiry, 2007, 45 (4), 721-738
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1927
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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1998. "Income, Schooling, And Ability: Evidence From A New Sample Of Identical Twins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 253-284, February.
  2. Behrman, Jere R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1999. ""Ability" biases in schooling returns and twins: a test and new estimates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 159-167, April.
  3. Griliches, Zvi, 1979. "Sibling Models and Data in Economics: Beginnings of a Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S37-64, October.
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  6. Neumark, David, 1999. "Biases in twin estimates of the return to schooling," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-148, April.
  7. Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1999. "Further estimates of the economic return to schooling from a new sample of twins," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 149-157, April.
  8. 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..
  9. Shea, John, 2000. "Does parents' money matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 155-184, August.
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  13. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  15. Orley Ashenfelter & David Zimmerman, 1993. "Estimates of the Return to Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons and Brothers," Working Papers 697, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  16. Lang, Kevin, 1993. "Ability Bias, Discount Rate Bias and the Return to Education," MPRA Paper 24651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  18. Ana M. Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2002. "The role of credentials in the Canadian labour market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 879-905, November.
  19. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2001. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, January.
  21. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
  22. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
  23. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
  24. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  25. Lang, Kevin & Ruud, Paul A, 1986. "Returns to Schooling, Implicit Discount Rates and Black-White Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(1), pages 41-47, February.
  26. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
  27. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  28. Griliches, Zvi, 1976. "Wages of Very Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S69-85, August.
  29. Altonji, Joseph G & Dunn, Thomas A, 1996. "The Effects of Family Characteristics on the Return to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 692-704, November.
  30. Hause, John C, 1972. "Earnings Profile: Ability and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S108-S38, Part II, .
  31. Arkes, Jeremy, 1999. "What Do Educational Credentials Signal and Why Do Employers Value Credentials?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 133-141, February.
  32. Peter Kennedy, 2003. "A Guide to Econometrics, 5th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 5, volume 1, number 026261183x, June.
  33. Jaeger, David A & Page, Marianne E, 1996. "Degrees Matter: New Evidence on Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 733-40, November.
  34. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
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