IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Estimating the Technology of Children's Skill Formation

Listed author(s):
  • Francesco Agostinelli
  • Matthew Wiswall

We develop a new estimator for the process of children's skill formation in which children's skills endogenously develop according to a dynamic latent factor structure. Rather than assuming skills are measured perfectly by a particular measure, we accommodate the variety of skills measures used in practice and allow latent skills to be measured with error using a system of arbitrarily located and scaled measures. For commonly estimated production technologies, which already have a known location and scale, we prove non-parametric identification of the primitive production function parameters. We treat the parameters of the measurement model as "nuisance" parameters and use transformations of moments of the measurement data to eliminate them, analogous to the data transformations used to eliminate fixed effects with panel data. We develop additional, empirically grounded, restrictions on the measurement process that allow identification of more general production technologies, including those exhibiting Hicks neutral total factor productivity (TFP) dynamics and non-constant returns to scale. We use our identification results to develop a sequential estimation algorithm for the joint dynamic process of investment and skill development, correcting for the biases due to measurement error in skills and investment. Using data for the United States, we estimate the technology of skill formation, the process of parental investments in children, and the adult distribution of completed schooling and earnings, allowing the production technology and investment process to freely vary as the child ages. Our estimates of high TFP and increasing returns to scale at early ages indicate that investments are particularly productive at these ages. We find that the marginal productivity of early investments is substantially higher for children with lower existing skills, suggesting the optimal targeting of interventions to disadvantaged children. Our estimates of the dynamic process of investment and skill development allow us to estimate heterogeneous treatment effects of policy interventions. We show that even a modest transfer of family income to families at ages 5-6 would substantially increase children's skills, completed schooling, and adult earnings, with the effects largest for low income families.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22442.pdf
Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22442.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2016
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22442
Note: CH
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
  2. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "Transfers to Households with Children and Child Development," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 273, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  3. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
  4. 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.
  5. Timothy N. Bond & Kevin Lang, 2013. "The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades K–3: The Fragility of Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1468-1479, December.
  6. Elizabeth Caucutt & Lance Lochner & Youngmin Park, 2015. "Correlation, Consumption, Confusion, or Constraints: Why do Poor Children Perform so Poorly?," Working Papers 2015-005, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  7. Costas Meghir & Orazio Attanasio & Sarah Cattan & Emla Fitzsimons & Marta Rubio-Codina, 2015. "Estimating the Production Function for Human Capital: Results from a Randomized Control Trial in Colombia," Working Papers 1046, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Estimating Distributions of Treatment Effects with an Application to the Returns to Schooling and Measurement of the Effects of Uncertainty on College Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 767, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  10. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  11. Raquel Bernal, 2008. "The Effect Of Maternal Employment And Child Care On Children'S Cognitive Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1173-1209, November.
  12. Chamberlain, Gary, 1977. "Education, income, and ability revisited," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 241-257, March.
  13. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1972. "Structural Equation Methods in the Social Sciences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 979-1001, November.
  14. Chamberlain, Gary & Griliches, Zvi, 1975. "Unobservables with a Variance-Components Structure: Ability, Schooling, and the Economic Success of Brothers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 422-449, June.
  15. Timothy N. Bond & Kevin Lang, 2013. "The Black-White Education-Scaled Test-Score Gap in Grades K-7," NBER Working Papers 19243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22442. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.