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Life Cycle Earnings, Education Premiums and Internal Rates of Return

Author

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  • Bhuller, Manudeep

    () (University of Oslo)

  • Mogstad, Magne

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

    () (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

What do the education premiums look like over the life cycle? What is the impact of schooling on lifetime earnings? How does the internal rate of return compare with opportunity cost of funds? To what extent do progressive taxes attenuate the incentives to invest in education? This paper exploits Norwegian population panel data with nearly career long earnings histories to answer these important questions. We provide a detailed picture of the causal relationship between schooling and earnings over the life cycle, following individuals over their working lifespan. To account for endogeneity of schooling, we apply three commonly used identification strategies. Our estimates show that additional schooling gives higher lifetime earnings and steeper age-earnings profile, in line with predictions from human capital theory. These estimates imply an internal rate of return of around 10 percent, after taking into account income taxes and earnings-related pension entitlements. Under standard conditions, this finding suggests it was financially profitable to take additional schooling because the rates of return were substantially higher than the market interest rates. By comparison, Mincer regressions understate substantially the rates of return. We explore the reasons for this downward bias, finding that it is driven by Mincer's assumptions of no earnings while in school and exogenous post-schooling employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhuller, Manudeep & Mogstad, Magne & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2014. "Life Cycle Earnings, Education Premiums and Internal Rates of Return," IZA Discussion Papers 8316, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8316
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Das, Tirthatanmoy & Polachek, Solomon, 2017. "Micro Foundations of Earnings Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 10922, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Rolf Aaberge & Magne Mogstad, 2015. "Inequality in current and lifetime income," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(2), pages 217-230, February.
    3. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pedro Carneiro & Kai Liu & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2018. "The supply of skill and endogenous technical change: evidence from a college expansion reform," CeMMAP working papers CWP42/18, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan & Claudia Vittori, 2015. "Nonlinear Estimation of Lifetime Intergenerational Economic Mobility and the Role of Education," DoQSS Working Papers 15-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    6. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    7. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2019. "More Education, Less Volatility? The Effect of Education on Earnings Volatility over the Life Cycle," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 101-137.
    8. repec:eee:jhecon:v:60:y:2018:i:c:p:39-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1423, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    10. Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde & Irene van Staveren, 2017. "Identifying Age Penalty in Women's Wages: New Method and Evidence from Germany 1984-2014," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 956, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    11. Burgess, Simon, 2016. "Human Capital and Education: The State of the Art in the Economics of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 9885, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Monique De Haan & Edwin Leuven, 2016. "Head Start and the Distribution of Long Term Education and Labor Market Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 5870, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Christopher Tamborini & ChangHwan Kim & Arthur Sakamoto, 2015. "Education and Lifetime Earnings in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1383-1407, August.
    14. Mocan, Naci & Pogorelova, Luiza, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," IZA Discussion Papers 8698, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Marco Bertoni & Giorgio Brunello, 2016. "Later-borns Don’t Give Up: The Temporary Effects of Birth Order on European Earnings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 449-470, April.
    16. Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," NBER Working Papers 20557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sarvimäki, Matti, 2016. "The Evolution of Social Mobility: Norway over the 20th Century," IZA Discussion Papers 9752, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Martin Eckhoff Andresen & Sturla A. Løkken, 2019. "High school dropout for marginal students. Evidence from randomized exam form," Discussion Papers 894, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    19. Bütikofer, Aline & Dalla-Zuanna, Antonio & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2018. "Breaking the Links: Natural Resource Booms and Intergenerational Mobility," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 19/2018, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    20. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:63:y:2018:i:01:n:s0217590818410023 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Jin, L. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Sleep and Human Capital: Evidence from Daylight Saving Time," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    life cycle earnings; internal rate of return; education premium;

    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

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