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Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts

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  • Stephen V. Cameron
  • James J. Heckman

Abstract

This paper examines an empirical regularity found in many societies: that family influences on the probability of transiting from one grade level to the next diminish at higher levels of education. We examine the statistical model used to establish the empirical regularity and the intuitive behavioral interpretation often used to rationalize it. We show that the implicit economic model assumes myopia. The intuitive interpretive model is identified only by imposing arbitrary distributional assumptions onto the data. We produce an alternative choice-theoretic model with fewer parameters that rationalizes the same data and is not based on arbitrary distributional assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 6385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6385
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6385.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 7-36, October.
    2. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1991. "Semiparametric Estimation of Monotone and Concave Utility Functions for Polychotomous Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1315-1327, September.
    3. Geert Ridder, 1990. "The Non-Parametric Identification of Generalized Accelerated Failure-Time Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 167-181.
    4. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-333, March.
    5. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-1149, September.
    6. Comay, Yochanan & Melnik, A & Pollatschek, M A, 1973. "The Option Value of Education and the Optimal Path for Investment in Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 421-435, June.
    7. Cosslett, Stephen R, 1983. "Distribution-Free Maximum Likelihood Estimator of the Binary Choice Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 765-782, May.
    8. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-283, August.
    9. Klein, Roger W & Spady, Richard H, 1993. "An Efficient Semiparametric Estimator for Binary Response Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 387-421, March.
    10. Ichimura, H., 1991. "Semiparametric Least Squares (sls) and Weighted SLS Estimation of Single- Index Models," Papers 264, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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