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

  • Stephen V. Cameron
  • James J. Heckman

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6385.

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Date of creation: Jan 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 106, no. 2 (April 1998).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6385
Note: CH LS
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  1. 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 247-83, August.
  2. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  3. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  4. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  5. Ridder, Geert, 1990. "The Non-parametric Identification of Generalized Accelerated Failure-Time Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 167-81, April.
  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 421-35, June.
  7. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1991. "Semiparametric Estimation of Monotone and Concave Utility Functions for Polychotomous Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1315-27, September.
  8. Cosslett, Stephen R, 1983. "Distribution-Free Maximum Likelihood Estimator of the Binary Choice Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 765-82, May.
  9. Ichimura, H., 1991. "Semiparametric Least Squares (sls) and Weighted SLS Estimation of Single- Index Models," Papers 264, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
  10. Klein, R.W. & Spady, R.H., 1991. "An Efficient Semiparametric Estimator for Binary Response Models," Papers 70, Bell Communications - Economic Research Group.
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