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

Author

Listed:
  • Regan, Tracy L.

    (Boston College)

  • Burghardt, Galen

    (Calyon Financial)

  • Oaxaca, Ronald L.

    (University of Arizona)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Regan, Tracy L. & Burghardt, Galen & Oaxaca, Ronald L., 2006. "A Human Capital Model of the Effects of Abilities and Family Background on Optimal Schooling Levels," IZA Discussion Papers 1927, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1927
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    family background; ability; human capital; schooling; earnings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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