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Testing the Specification of the Mincer Wage Equation

  • Belzil, Christian

    ()

    (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

I perform the joint estimation of a reduced-form dynamic model of the transition from one grade level to the next, and a Mincer wage equation, using panel data taken from the NLSY. A very high degree of flexibility is achieved by approximating the distributions of idiosyncractic grade transition shocks and wage shocks with high dimensional normal mixtures. The model rejects all simplifying assumptions common in the empirical literature. In particular, the log wage regression is highly convex, even after conditioning on unobserved and observed skills. Skill heterogeneity is also found to be over-estimated when non-linearity is ignored. After conditioning on skill heterogeneity, I also find evidence of non-separability between the effect of schooling and experience (schooling has a positive effect on wage growth). Finally, the variance of the idiosyncratic wage shock is reduced by obtaining higher education.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2650.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, 2008, 92/92, 427 - 451
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2650
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  1. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "A Structure Analysis of the Correlated Random Coefficient Wage Regression Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 3601, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1996. "Rank Regressions, Wage Distributions and the Gender Gap," Cahiers de recherche 9607, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  4. Christian Belzil & J�rgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 2075-2091, September.
  5. Pedro Carneiro & Karsten T. Hansen & James J. Heckman, 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College," NBER Working Papers 9546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. A Gosling & Stephen Machin, 1995. "The Changing Distribution of Male Wages in the UK," CEP Discussion Papers dp0271, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance J. & Todd, Petra E., 2006. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  8. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  9. James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Dynamic Discrete Choice and Dynamic Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Structural vs. atheoretic approaches to econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 3-20, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 1635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Costas Megir & Martin Palme, 2001. "The effect of a social experiment in education," CEE Discussion Papers 0014, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  14. Robert M. Sauer, 2004. "Educational Financing and Lifetime Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1189-1216, October.
  15. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  16. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  17. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth, 1998. "Youth Employment and Academic Performance in High School," CEPR Discussion Papers 1861, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1997. "On two stage least squares estimation of the average treatment effect in a random coefficient model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 129-133, October.
  19. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Jörgen Hansen & Christian Belzil, 2010. "Structural Estimates of the Intergenerational Education Correlation," Working Papers id:2892, eSocialSciences.
  22. Taber, Christopher R, 2001. "The Rising College Premium in the Eighties: Return to College or Return to Unobserved Ability?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 665-91, July.
  23. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects, and Econometric Policy Evaluation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(3), pages 669-738, 05.
  24. Thierry Magnac & David Thesmar, 2002. "Identifying Dynamic Discrete Decision Processes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 801-816, March.
  25. 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.
  26. Christian Belzil, 2006. "The Return to Schooling in Structural Dynamic Models: A Survey," Working Papers 0609, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  27. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2000. "Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 827-874, December.
  29. 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.
  30. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Methods for the Correlated Random Coefficient Model: Estimating the Average Rate of Return to Schooling When the Return is Correlated with Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 974-987.
  31. John F. Geweke & Michael P. Keane, 1997. "Mixture of normals probit models," Staff Report 237, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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