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Education and Self-Selection

  • Robert J. Willis
  • Sherwin Rosen

A structural model of the demand for college attendance is derived from the theory of comparative advantage and recent statistical models of self-selection and unobserved components. Estimates from NBER-Thorndike data strongly support the theory. First, expected lifetime earnings gains influence the decision to attend college. Second, those who did not attend college would have earned less than measurably similar people who did attend, while those who attended college would have earned less as high school graduates than measurably similar people who stopped after high school. Positive selection in both groups implies no "ability bias in these data.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0249.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0249.

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Date of creation: Jun 1978
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Publication status: published as Willis, Robert J. and Rosen, Sherwin. "Education and Self-Selection." Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 87, No. 5, (October 1979), Part 2, pp. S7-S36 .
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0249
Note: LS
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  1. Lazear, Edward P, 1976. "Age, Experience, and Wage Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 548-58, September.
  2. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Dynamic Aspects of Earnings Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  4. Blaug, Mark, 1976. "The Empirical Status of Human Capital Theory: A Slightly Jaundiced Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 827-55, September.
  5. Wise, David A, 1975. "Academic Achievement and Job Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 350-66, June.
  6. John Abowd, 1977. "An Econometric Model of the U.S. Market for Higher Education," Working Papers 482, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kenny, Lawrence W, et al, 1979. "Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-Selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 775-89, October.
  9. Zabalza, A, 1979. "The Determinants of Teacher Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 131-47, January.
  10. Giora Hanoch, 1967. "An Economic Analysis of Earnings and Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 2(3), pages 310-329.
  11. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1954. "Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie54-1, October.
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