IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18300.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Risk and Returns to Education

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey Brown
  • Chichun Fang
  • Francisco Gomes

Abstract

We analyze the returns to education in a life-cycle framework that incorporates risk preferences, earnings volatility (including unemployment), and a progressive income tax and social insurance system. We show that such a framework significantly reduces the measured gains from education relative to simple present-value calculations, although the gains remain significant. For example, for a range of preference parameters, we find that individuals should be willing to pay 300 to 500 (200 to 250) thousand dollars to obtain a college (high school) degree in order to benefit from the 32 to 42 percent (20 to 38 percent) increase in annual certainty-equivalent consumption. We also explore how the measured value of education varies with preference parameters, by gender, and across time. In contrast to findings in the education wage-premia literature, which focuses on present values and which we replicate in our data, our model indicates that the gains from college education were flat in the 1980s and actually decreased significantly in 1991-2007 period. On the other hand, the gains to a high school education have increased quite dramatically over time. We also show that both high school and college education help to decrease the gender gap in life-time earnings, contrary again to the conclusion from wage premia calculations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Brown & Chichun Fang & Francisco Gomes, 2012. "Risk and Returns to Education," NBER Working Papers 18300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18300
    Note: AP ED LS PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18300.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steven J. Davis & Felix Kubler & Paul Willen, 2006. "Borrowing Costs and the Demand for Equity over the Life Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 348-362, May.
    2. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-782, July.
    3. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
    4. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    5. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1432-1467, September.
    6. Robert Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2008. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Male Earnings in the U.S., 1970-2004," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 697, Boston College Department of Economics.
    7. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
    8. Felicia Ionescu, 2011. "Risky Human Capital and Alternative Bankruptcy Regimes for Student Loans," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(2), pages 153-206.
    9. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2004. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1354-1378, December.
    10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality, Heterogeneity and Uncertainty in Labor Earnings in the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 13526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2003. "Gender Differences in Completed Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 559-577, August.
    12. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    13. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo & Yaron, Amir, 2006. "Human capital and earnings distribution dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 265-290, March.
    14. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555, Elsevier.
    15. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life‐Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, April.
    16. Mark Huggett and Greg Kaplan, 2012. "The Money Value of a Man," Working Papers gueconwpa~12-12-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    17. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-1286, December.
    18. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    19. 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.
    20. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    21. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    22. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    23. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    24. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1997. "Estimates Of The Returns To Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons, And Brothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-9, February.
    25. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
    26. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    27. Jensen & Shore, 2008. "Changes in the Distribution of Income Volatility," 2008 Meeting Papers 82, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    28. Bhattacharya, Jay & Lakdawalla, Darius, 2006. "Does Medicare benefit the poor?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 277-292, January.
    29. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863, Elsevier.
    30. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
    32. Miller, Paul W & Mulvey, Charles & Martin, Nick, 1995. "What Do Twins Studies Reveal about the Economic Returns to Education? A Comparison of Australian and U.S. Findings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 586-599, June.
    33. Stacey H. Chen, 2008. "Estimating the Variance of Wages in the Presence of Selection and Unobserved Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 275-289, May.
    34. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005," NBER Working Papers 12984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2009. "How large are returns to schooling? Hint: Money isn't everything," NBER Working Papers 15339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1998. "Income, Schooling, and Ability: Evidence from a New Sample of Identical Twins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 253-284.
    37. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    38. Gary Chamberlain & Keisuke Hirano, 1999. "Predictive Distributions based on Longitudinal Earnings Data," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 55-56, pages 211-242.
    39. Shane T. Jensen & Stephen H. Shore, 2008. "Changes in the Distribution of Income Volatility," Papers 0808.1090, arXiv.org.
    40. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    41. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    42. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling and Earnings," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 41-63, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    43. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    44. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-1174, December.
    45. repec:adr:anecst:y:1999:i:55-56:p:08 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kinne, Lavinia & Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2020. "Culture and Student Achievement: The Intertwined Roles of Patience and Risk-Taking," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 249, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Kraft, Holger & Munk, Claus & Seifried, Frank Thomas & Steffensen, Mogens, 2014. "Consumption and wage humps in a life-cycle model with education," SAFE Working Paper Series 53, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    3. Judith M. Delaney, 2019. "Risk-adjusted returns to education," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(5), pages 472-487, September.
    4. Joop Hartog & Luis Diaz-Serrano, 2015. "Why Do We Ignore the Risk in Schooling Decisions?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 125-153, June.
    5. Kaelab K. Haile & Eleonora Nillesen & Nyasha Tirivayi, 2019. "Impact of Formal Climate Risk Transfer Mechanisms on Risk-Aversion: Empirical Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," CESifo Working Paper Series 7717, CESifo.
    6. Koerselman, Kristian & Uusitalo, Roope, 2014. "The risk and return of human capital investments," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 154-163.
    7. William T. Alpert & Alexander Vaninsky, 2013. "Efficiency of College Education in the Labor Market of the United States," Working papers 2013-22, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    8. Haile, Kaleab K. & Nillesen, Eleonora & Tirivayi, Nyasha, 2020. "Impact of formal climate risk transfer mechanisms on risk-aversion: Empirical evidence from rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Fang, Chichun & Gomes, Francisco, 2015. "Risks and returns to education over time," CFS Working Paper Series 512, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    2. Angel de la Fuente & Antonio Ciccone, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 562.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    3. Justin L. Tobias, 2003. "Are Returns to Schooling Concentrated Among the Most Able? A Semiparametric Analysis of the Ability–earnings Relationships," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(1), pages 1-29, February.
    4. Sandewall, Örjan & Cesarini, David & Johannesson, Magnus, 2014. "The co-twin methodology and returns to schooling — testing a critical assumption," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-10.
    5. Serneels, Pieter & Beegle, Kathleen & Dillon, Andrew, 2017. "Do returns to education depend on how and whom you ask?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 5-19.
    6. Ge, Suqin, 2013. "Estimating the returns to schooling: Implications from a dynamic discrete choice model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 92-105.
    7. Denis Maguain, 2007. "Les rendements de l'éducation en comparaison internationale," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 180(4), pages 87-106.
    8. Daeheon Choi & Chune Young Chung & Ha Truong, 2019. "Return on Education in Two Major Vietnamese Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(18), pages 1-30, September.
    9. Uwaifo, Ruth, 2006. "Africa's Education Enigma? The Nigerian story," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21254, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    10. Tali Regev, 2007. "Imperfect information, self-selection and the market for higher education," Working Paper Series 2007-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    11. Buscha, Franz & Dickson, Matt, 2015. "The Wage Returns to Education over the Life-Cycle: Heterogeneity and the Role of Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 9596, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Monazza Aslam, 2006. "Rates of Return to Education by Gender in Pakistan," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-064, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    13. César Edinho Del Pozo Loayza, 2018. "Efectos de la Desregulación del Sistema Universitario en el Mercado Laboral en Perú," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0235, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    14. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    15. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Evolution of the US Wage Distribution, 1970–2000," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 227-276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Mwangi S. Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Damiano Kulundu Manda, 2006. "Human Capital Externalities and Private Returns to Education in Kenya," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 493-513, Summer.
    17. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2011. "Earnings, Consumption and Life Cycle Choices," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 9, pages 773-854, Elsevier.
    18. Mustafizur Rahman & Marzuka Md. Al-Hasan, 2019. "Women in Bangladesh Labour Market: Determinants of Participation, Gender Wage Gap and Returns to Schooling," CPD Working Paper 124, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
    19. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U. S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2095, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    20. Falck, Oliver & Heimisch-Roecker, Alexandra & Wiederhold, Simon, 2021. "Returns to ICT skills," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(7).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18300. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.