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Separating Uncertainty from Heterogeneity in Life Cycle Earnings

  • Flavio Cunha
  • James J. Heckman
  • Salvador Navarro

This paper develops and applies a method for decomposing cross section variability of earnings into components that are forecastable at the time students decide to go to college (heterogeneity) and components that are unforecastable. About 60% of variability in returns to schooling is forecastable. This has important implications for using measured variability to price risk and predict college attendance.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11024.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11024.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Publication status: published as Cunha, Flavio, James Heckman and Salvador Navarro. "Separating Uncertainty From Heterogeneity In Life Cycle Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, 2005, v57(2,Apr), 191-261.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11024
Note: EFG ED LS CH
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J, 2002. "Removing the veil of ignorance in assessing the distributional impacts of social policies," Working Paper Series 2002:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Azeem Shaikh & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Threshold Crossing Models and Bounds on Treatment Effects: A Nonparametric Analysis," NBER Technical Working Papers 0307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2008. "Earnings Functions and Rates of Return," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-31.
  5. James Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano, 2004. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables, and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 30-57, February.
  6. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  7. James J. Heckman, 2001. "Micro Data, Heterogeneity, and the Evaluation of Public Policy: Nobel Lecture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 673-748, August.
  8. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
  9. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
  10. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, 01.
  11. Luigi Pistaferri, 1998. "Superior Information, Income Shocks and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," CSEF Working Papers 07, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  12. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2011. "Estimating Marginal Returns to Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2754-81, October.
  14. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  15. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
  17. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  18. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Dynamic Aspects of Earnings Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1992. "Nonparametric and Distribution-Free Estimation of the Binary Threshold Crossing and the Binary Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 239-70, March.
  20. 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.
  21. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  22. Heckman, James & Scheinkman, Jose, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 243-55, April.
  23. Hartog, Joop & Vijverberg, Wim P., 2002. "Do Wages Really Compensate for Risk Aversion and Skewness Affection?," IZA Discussion Papers 426, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Cosslett, Stephen R, 1983. "Distribution-Free Maximum Likelihood Estimator of the Binary Choice Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 765-82, May.
  25. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  26. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
  27. James J. Heckman & Edward J. Vytlacil, 2000. "Local Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  29. Sims, Christopher A, 1972. "Money, Income, and Causality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 540-52, September.
  30. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1998. "Evaluating the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 6542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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