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Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling

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  • McKinley L. Blackburn
  • David Neumark

Abstract

Over the 1980s there were sharp increases in the return to schooling estimated with conventional wage regressions. We use both a signaling model and a human capital model to explore how the relationship between ability and schooling could have changed over this period in ways Chat would have increased the schooling coefficient in these regressions. Our empirical results reject the hypothesis that an increase in the upward bias of the schooling coefficient, due to a change in the relationship between ability and schooling, underlies the observed increase in the return to education over the 1980s. We also find that the increase in the return to education has occurred largely for workers with relatively high levels of academic ability.

Suggested Citation

  • McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 3693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3693
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    1. Griliches, Zvi & Mason, William M, 1972. "Education, Income, and Ability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 74-103, Part II, .
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