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A Human Capital Model of the Effects of Ability and Family Background on Optimal Schooling Levels

Author

Listed:
  • Tracy L. Regan

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Ronald L. Oaxaca

    (Department of Economics, University of Arizona, McCelland Hall #401)

  • Galen Burghardt

    (Calyon Financial, 550 West Jackson Boulevard, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60661)

Abstract

This paper develops a theoretical model of optimal schooling levels where ability and family background are the central explanatory variables. We derive schooling demand and supply functions based on individual wealth maximization. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 data, we stratify our sample into 1-yr full-time equivalent (FTE) work experience cohorts for 1985–1989. The estimated Mincerian ‘‘overtaking’’ cohort (the years of work experience at which individuals’ observed earnings approximately equal what they would have been based on schooling and ability alone) corresponds to 13 FTE years of experience, yielding on average a rate of return of 10.3% and an average (optimal) 11.4 yr of schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Tracy L. Regan & Ronald L. Oaxaca & Galen Burghardt, 2007. "A Human Capital Model of the Effects of Ability and Family Background on Optimal Schooling Levels," Working Papers 2010-8, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2010-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cinthya G. Caamal Olvera, 2017. "Decreasing returns to schooling in Mexico," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 32(1), pages 27-63.

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    More about this item

    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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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