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Returns to Education: The Causal Effects of Education on Earnings, Health and Smoking

Author

Listed:
  • Heckman, James J.

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Humphries, John Eric

    () (Yale University)

  • Veramendi, Gregory

    () (Arizona State University)

Abstract

This paper estimates returns to education using a dynamic model of educational choice that synthesizes approaches in the structural dynamic discrete choice literature with approaches used in the reduced form treatment effect literature. It is an empirically robust middle ground between the two approaches which estimates economically interpretable and policy-relevant dynamic treatment effects that account for heterogeneity in cognitive and non-cognitive skills and the continuation values of educational choices. Graduating college is not a wise choice for all. Ability bias is a major component of observed educational differentials. For some, there are substantial causal effects of education at all stages of schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Veramendi, Gregory, 2016. "Returns to Education: The Causal Effects of Education on Earnings, Health and Smoking," IZA Discussion Papers 9957, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9957
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dillon, Eleanor & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2015. "The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges," IZA Discussion Papers 9080, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2010. "Evaluating Marginal Policy Changes and the Average Effect of Treatment for Individuals at the Margin," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 377-394, January.
    3. Philipp Eisenhauer & James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2015. "Estimation Of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models By Maximum Likelihood And The Simulated Method Of Moments," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 331-357, May.
    4. 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.
    5. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Gregory Veramendi, 2018. "Returns to Education: The Causal Effects of Education on Earnings, Health, and Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(S1), pages 197-246.
    6. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Nancy Clements, 1997. "Making The Most Out Of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting For Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535.
    7. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 767, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Schennach, Susanne & White, Halbert & Chalak, Karim, 2012. "Local indirect least squares and average marginal effects in nonseparable structural systems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(2), pages 282-302.
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    11. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
    12. James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-2086, October.
    13. Comay, Yochanan & Melnik, A & Pollatschek, M A, 1973. "The Option Value of Education and the Optimal Path for Investment in Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 421-435, June.
    14. Philip Oreopoulos & Uros Petronijevic, 2013. "Making College Worth It: A Review of Research on the Returns to Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 19053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Philipp Eisenhauer & James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2015. "The Generalized Roy Model and the Cost-Benefit Analysis of Social Programs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(2), pages 413-443.
    17. Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Veramendi, Gregory, 2016. "Dynamic treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(2), pages 276-292.
    18. Burton A. Weisbrod, 1962. "Education and Investment in Human Capital," NBER Chapters, in: Investment in Human Beings, pages 106-123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; earnings; health; rates of return; causal effects of education; cognitive skills; non-cognitive skills;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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