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Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited

  • David Card

This paper presents a survey and interpretation of recent research on the return to education. The empirical findings in a series of current papers suggest that the causal effect of education on earnings is understated by standard estimation methods. Using a simple model of optimal schooling developed by Gary Becker (1967), I derive an explicit formula for the conventional estimate of the return to schooling and for alternative instrumental variables and fixed- effects estimators. The analysis suggests that instrumental variables estimates based on 'interventions' that affect the schooling choices of children from relatively disadvantaged family backgrounds will tend to exceed the corresponding OLS estimates.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4832.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4832.

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Date of creation: Aug 1994
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Research in Labor Economics, vol 14, pp 23-48, 1995.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4832
Note: LS
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  1. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
  2. Robert J. LaLonde, 2003. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 517-586 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. J. A. Hausman & W. E. Taylor, 1980. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Working papers 255, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1993. "Estimates of the Returns to Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons and Brothers," NBER Working Papers 4491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "Estimating the Payoff to Schooling Using the Vietnam-Era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 4067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Lang, Kevin, 1993. "Ability Bias, Discount Rate Bias and the Return to Education," MPRA Paper 24651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  10. George Psacharopoulos, 1985. "Returns to Education: A Further International Update and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 583-604.
  11. John Bound & Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "The Extent of Measurement Error In Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make A Right?," NBER Working Papers 2885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
  13. Hause, John C, 1972. "Earnings Profile: Ability and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S108-S38, Part II, .
  14. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
  15. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Rouse, 1993. "Labor Market Returns to Two- And Four-Year College: Is A Credit a Credit And Do Degrees Matter?," Working Papers 690, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  16. Jin Huem Park, 1994. "Returns to Schooling: A Peculiar Deviation from Linearity," Working Papers 714, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  17. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia E. Rouse, 1993. "Labor Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year Colleges: Is a Credit a Credit and Do Degrees Matter?," NBER Working Papers 4268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Angrist, Joshua D & Newey, Whitney K, 1991. "Over-Identification Tests in Earnings Functions with Fixed Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(3), pages 317-23, July.
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