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The Risk-Return Trade-Off in Human Capital Investment

Author

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  • Christiansen, Charlotte

    () (Aarhus School of Business)

  • Joensen, Juanna Schrøter

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Nielsen, Helena Skyt

    () (Aarhus University)

Abstract

In this paper we analyze investments in human capital assets in a way which is standard for financial assets, but not (yet) for human capital assets. We study mean-variance plots of human capital assets. We compare the properties of human capital returns using a performance measure and by using tests for mean-variance spanning. A risk-return trade-off is revealed, which is not only related to the length of education but also to the type of education. We identify a range of educations that are efficient in terms of investment goods, and a range of educations that are inefficient, and may be chosen for consumption purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiansen, Charlotte & Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2006. "The Risk-Return Trade-Off in Human Capital Investment," IZA Discussion Papers 1962, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1962
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    Cited by:

    1. Angel de la Fuente & Juan Francisco Jimeno, 2004. "The private and fiscal returns to schooling and the effect of public policies on private incentives to invest in education: a general framework and some results for the EU," Working Papers 152, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Maria De Paola & Francesca Gioia, 2011. "Risk Aversion And Major Choice: Evidence From Italian Students," Working Papers 201107, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    3. Freier, Ronny & Schumann, Mathias & Siedler, Thomas, 2015. "The earnings returns to graduating with honors — Evidence from law graduates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 39-50.
    4. Singh, Aarti, 2010. "Human capital risk in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 729-738, September.
    5. Miriam Rinawi & Matthias Krapf & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Labor market transitions after layoffs: the role of occupational skills," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0103, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    6. Juanna Joensen & Gregory Veramendi & John Eric Humphries, 2017. "College Major Choice: Sorting and Differential Returns to Skills," 2017 Meeting Papers 1623, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. R. Anton Braun & Tomoyuki Nakajima, 2011. "Making the case for a low intertemporal elasticity of substitution," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2011-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    8. Annette Alstadsæter, 2011. "Measuring the Consumption Value of Higher Education," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(3), pages 458-479, September.
    9. Simone N. Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2010. "Risk-return trade-offs to different educational paths: vocational, academic and mixed," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(5), pages 495-519, August.
    10. Corrado Andini, 2009. "On the return-risk link in education," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 307-314.
    11. Koerselman, Kristian & Uusitalo, Roope, 2014. "The risk and return of human capital investments," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 154-163.
    12. Raymond Kan & Guofu Zhou, 2012. "Tests of Mean-Variance Spanning," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 13(1), pages 139-187, May.
    13. Paolo Buonanno & Dario Pozzoli, 2007. "Risk Aversion and College Subject," Working Papers (-2012) 0707, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
    14. Felipe Andrés Lozano-Rojas, 2012. "Human Capital Contracts in Chile: An Exercise Based on Income Data on chilean HE Graduates," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 49(2), pages 185-215, November.
    15. Beladi, Hamid & Sinha, Chaitali & Kar, Saibal, 2016. "To educate or not to educate: Impact of public policies in developing countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 94-101.
    16. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Joop Hartog & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2008. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Schooling Risk in Denmark," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 711-731, December.
    17. DAVIA, Maria A. & McGUINNESS, Seamus & O’CONNELL, Philip J., 2014. "Exploring The Role Of Labour Market Uncertainty In Explaining Differences In Rates Of Return To Education In Europe," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(3), pages 89-104.
    18. Ruder, Alexander I. & Van Noy, Michelle, 2017. "Knowledge of earnings risk and major choice: Evidence from an information experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 80-90.
    19. Glocker, Daniela & Storck, Johanna, 2014. "Risks and returns to educational fields – A financial asset approach to vocational and academic education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 109-129.
    20. Asma Hyder & Jere R. Behrman, 2011. "Schooling is Associated not only with Longrun Wages, but also with Wage Risks and Disability Risks: The Pakistani Experience," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 50(4), pages 555-573.
    21. Annette Alstadsæter & Hans Henrik Sievertsen, 2009. "The Consumption Value of Higher Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 2871, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Kässi, Otto, 2014. "How Risky Is the Choice of a University Major?," MPRA Paper 59078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Peter Schneider & Dieter Sadowski, 2008. "The impact of New Public Management (NPM) instruments on PhD education," IAAEG Discussion Papers until 2011 200803, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    24. Antonios Athanassiadis, 2011. "Economic Returns and Risks to Investment in Education: An Application of the Multifactor CAPM," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(1), pages 95-120, March.
    25. Kristin Kleinjans, 2008. "Do Gender Differences in Preferences for Competition Matter for Occupational Expectations?," Economics Working Papers 2008-09, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital investment; efficient frontier; mean-variance analysis; educational choice;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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