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Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Postsecondary Degrees: Evidence from Chile

Author

Listed:
  • Loreto Reyes
  • Jorge Rodríguez
  • Sergio S. Urzúa

Abstract

We analyze the economic returns to different postsecondary degrees in Chile. We posit a schooling decision model with unobserved ability, observed test scores and labor market outcomes. We benefit from administrative records to carry out our empirical strategy. Our results show positive average returns to postsecondary degrees, especially for five-year degrees. However, we also uncover a large fraction of individuals with realized negative net returns. Although psychic benefits of postsecondary education could rationalize this result, we argue this might also suggest that individuals lack information at the time schooling decisions are made. Finally, our findings illustrate the importance of allowing for heterogeneous treatment effects when making policy recommendations.

Suggested Citation

  • Loreto Reyes & Jorge Rodríguez & Sergio S. Urzúa, 2013. "Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Postsecondary Degrees: Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 18817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18817
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    Cited by:

    1. Rojas, Eugenio & Sánchez, Rafael & Villena, Mauricio G., 2016. "Credit constraints in higher education in a context of unobserved heterogeneity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 225-250.
    2. Nora Lustig & Luis F. Lopez-Calva & Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez & Célestin Monga, 2016. "Deconstructing the Decline in Inequality in Latin America," International Economic Association Series, in: Kaushik Basu & Joseph E. Stiglitz (ed.), Inequality and Growth: Patterns and Policy, chapter 7, pages 212-247, Palgrave Macmillan.
    3. Kässi, Otto, 2014. "How Risky Is the Choice of a University Major?," MPRA Paper 59078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Dante Contreras & Jorge Rodríguez & Sergio Urzúa, 2019. "The Return to Private Education: Evidence from School-to-Work Transitions," Working Papers wp479, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    5. Sergio Urzua, 2019. "Redistribution Through Education: The Value of Public Education Spending," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 88, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. Busso, Matias & Dinkelman, Taryn & Claudia Martínez, A. & Romero, Dario, 2017. "The effects of financial aid and returns information in selective and less selective schools: Experimental evidence from Chile," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 79-91.
    7. Justine Hastings & Christopher A. Neilson & Seth D. Zimmerman, 2015. "The Effects of Earnings Disclosure on College Enrollment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 21300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. W. Bentley MacLeod & Evan Riehl & Juan E. Saavedra & Miguel Urquiola, 2017. "The Big Sort: College Reputation and Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 223-261, July.
    9. Seth D. Zimmerman, 2019. "Elite Colleges and Upward Mobility to Top Jobs and Top Incomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(1), pages 1-47, January.
    10. Carolina González-Velosa & Graciana Rucci & Miguel Sarzosa & Sergio Urzúa, 2015. "Returns to Higher Education in Chile and Colombia," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 88676, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Biewen, Martin & (neé Tapalaga), Madalina Thiele, 2020. "Early tracking, academic vs. vocational training, and the value of ‘second-chance’ options," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    12. Grau, Nicolás, 2018. "The impact of college admissions policies on the academic effort of high school students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 58-92.
    13. Lars Kirkebøen & Edwin Leuven & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Field of Study, Earnings, and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 20816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Katja Maria Kaufmann & Matthias Messner & Alex Solis, 2013. "Returns to Elite Higher Education in the Marriage Market: Evidence from Chile," Working Papers 489, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    15. Fabiola Saavedra & Mónica Ospina, 2014. "Decisions about Postsecondary Education, their returns in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo de Valor Público 12542, Universidad EAFIT.
    16. Hastings, Justine S. & Neilson, Christopher A. & Ramirez, Anely & Zimmerman, Seth D., 2016. "(Un)informed college and major choice: Evidence from linked survey and administrative data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 136-151.
    17. Nicolas Grau, 2013. "The Impact of College Admissions Policies on The Performance of High School Students," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-040, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    18. Busso, Matias & Dinkelman, Taryn & Claudia Martínez, A. & Romero, Dario, 2017. "The effects of financial aid and returns information in selective and less selective schools: Experimental evidence from Chile," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 79-91.
    19. Adriana Camacho & Julián Messina & Juan Pablo Uribe, 2017. "The Expansion of Higher Education in Colombia: Bad Students or Bad Programs?," Documentos CEDE 15352, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    20. Radchenko, Natalia, 2014. "Heterogeneity in Informal Salaried Employment: Evidence from the Egyptian Labor Market Survey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 169-188.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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