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Recovering Ex Ante Returns and Preferences for Occupations using Subjective Expectations Data

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  • Arcidiacono, Peter

    () (Duke University)

  • Hotz, V. Joseph

    () (Duke University)

  • Maurel, Arnaud

    () (Duke University)

  • Romano, Teresa

    () (Goucher College)

Abstract

We show that data on subjective expectations, especially on outcomes from counterfactual choices and choice probabilities, are a powerful tool in recovering ex ante treatment effects as well as preferences for different treatments. In this paper we focus on the choice of occupation, and use elicited beliefs from a sample of male undergraduates at Duke University. By asking individuals about potential earnings associated with counterfactual choices of college majors and occupations, we can recover the distribution of the ex ante monetary returns to particular occupations, and how these returns vary across majors. We then propose a model of occupational choice which allows us to link subjective data on earnings and choice probabilities with the non-pecuniary preferences for each occupation. We find large differences in expected earnings across occupations, and substantial heterogeneity across individuals in the corresponding ex ante returns. However, while sorting across occupations is partly driven by the ex ante monetary returns, non-monetary factors play a key role in this decision. Finally, our results point to the existence of sizable complementarities between college major and occupations, both in terms of earnings and non-monetary benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Arcidiacono, Peter & Hotz, V. Joseph & Maurel, Arnaud & Romano, Teresa, 2014. "Recovering Ex Ante Returns and Preferences for Occupations using Subjective Expectations Data," IZA Discussion Papers 8549, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8549
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arcidiacono, Peter & Hotz, V. Joseph & Kang, Songman, 2012. "Modeling college major choices using elicited measures of expectations and counterfactuals," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 3-16.
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    5. D’Haultfœuille, Xavier & Maurel, Arnaud, 2013. "Inference on an extended Roy model, with an application to schooling decisions in France," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 174(2), pages 95-106.
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    7. Ernesto Reuben & Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2017. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labour Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2153-2186, September.
    8. Kate Antonovics & Limor Golan, 2012. "Experimentation and Job Choice," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 333-366.
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    10. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, December.
    11. Asher A. Blass & Saul Lach & Charles F. Manski, 2010. "Using Elicited Choice Probabilities To Estimate Random Utility Models: Preferences For Electricity Reliability," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 421-440, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Estrada, Ricardo & Gignoux, Jérémie, 2017. "Benefits to elite schools and the expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 168-194.
    2. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Preference for the Workplace, Human Capital, and Gender," NBER Working Papers 22173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hoffman, Mitchell & Burks, Stephen V., 2017. "Worker Overconfidence: Field Evidence and Implications for Employee Turnover and Returns from Training," IZA Discussion Papers 10794, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Vaishali Zambre, 2018. "The Gender Gap in Wage Expectations: Do Young Women Trade off Higher Wages for Lower Wage Risk?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1742, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Osikominu, Aderonke & Pfeifer, Gregor, 2018. "Perceived Wages and the Gender Gap in STEM Fields," IZA Discussion Papers 11321, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Andreas I. Mueller & Johannes Spinnewijn & Giorgio Topa, 2021. "Job Seekers' Perceptions and Employment Prospects: Heterogeneity, Duration Dependence, and Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(1), pages 324-363, January.
    7. Xavier D'Haultfoeuille & Christophe Gaillac & Arnaud Maurel, 2018. "Rationalizing Rational Expectations? Tests and Deviations," NBER Working Papers 25274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Johannes S. Kunz & Kevin E. Staub, 2016. "Subjective completion beliefs and the demand for post-secondary education," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0120, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    9. Orazio Attanasio & Teodora Boneva & Christopher Rauh, 2018. "Parental Beliefs about Returns to Different Types of Investments in School Children," Working Papers 2018-032, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    10. Joseph G. Altonji & Peter Arcidiacono & Arnaud Maurel, 2015. "The Analysis of Field Choice in College and Graduate School: Determinants and Wage Effects," NBER Working Papers 21655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gizem Kosar & Tyler Ransom & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2019. "Understanding Migration Aversion using Elicited Counterfactual Choice Probabilities," Working Papers 2019-037, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    12. Schweri, Juerg & Hartog, Joop, 2017. "Do wage expectations predict college enrollment? Evidence from healthcare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 135-150.
    13. Kirkebøen, Lars & Leuven, Edwin & Mogstad, Magne, 2014. "Field of Study, Earnings, and Self-Selection," Memorandum 29/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    14. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2018. "Preference for the Workplace, Investment in Human Capital, and Gender," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(1), pages 457-507.
    15. Xavier D'Haultfoeuille & Christophe Gaillac & Arnaud Maurel, 2020. "Rationalizing Rational Expectations: Characterization and Tests," Papers 2003.11537, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2020.
    16. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Human Capital Investments and Expectations about Career and Family," NBER Working Papers 22543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Teodora Boneva & Christopher Rauh, 2017. "Socio-Economic Gaps in University Enrollment: The Role of Perceived Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Returns," Working Papers 2017-080, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ex ante treatment effects; occupational choice; subjective expectations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models

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