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The Effect of College Curriculum on Earnings: Accounting for Non-Ignorable Non-Response Bias

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Stephen G. Donald

We link information on the current earnings of college graduates from many cohorts to their high-school records, their detailed college records and their demographics to infer the impact of college major on earnings. We develop an estimator to handle the potential for non-response bias and identify non-response using an affinity measure -- the potential respondent's link to the organization conducting the survey. This technique is generally applicable for adjusting for unit non-response. In the model describing earnings, estimated using the identified (for non-response bias) selectivity adjustments, adjusted earnings differentials across college majors are less than half as large as unadjusted differentials and ten percent smaller than those that do not account for selective non-response.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10809.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10809.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Econometrics, 2008, 144, 479-491.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10809
Note: ED LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Biddle, Jeff E & Zarkin, Gary A, 1989. "Choice among Wage-Hours Packages: An Empirical Investigation of Male Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 415-37, October.
  2. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of major: The changing (unchanging) gender gap," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
  3. Linda Datcher Loury, 1997. "The Gender Earnings Gap among College-Educated Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 580-593, July.
  4. Wise, David A, 1975. "Academic Achievement and Job Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 350-66, June.
  5. Francis Vella, 1998. "Estimating Models with Sample Selection Bias: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 127-169.
  6. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  7. Evangelos M. Falaris & H. Elizabeth Peters, 1998. "Survey Attrition and Schooling Choices," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 531-554.
  8. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58.
  9. Olsen, Randall J, 1980. "A Least Squares Correction for Selectivity Bias," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(7), pages 1815-20, November.
  10. Lois Joy, 2003. "Salaries of Recent Male and Female College Graduates: Educational and Labor Market Effects," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 606-621, July.
  11. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
  12. Joseph G. Altonji, 1995. "The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 409-438.
  13. Reuben Gronau, 1973. "Wage Comparisons -A Selectivity Bias," NBER Working Papers 0013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Philipson, Tomas, 1997. "Data Markets and the Production of Surveys," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 47-72, January.
  15. Linda Datcher Loury, 1997. "The gender gap among college-educated workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 580-593, July.
  16. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of Major: The Changing (Unchanging) Gender Gap," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
  17. Ahn, Hyungtaik & Powell, James L., 1993. "Semiparametric estimation of censored selection models with a nonparametric selection mechanism," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-29, July.
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