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Using Heteroscedasticity to Estimate the Returns to Education

  • Vincent Hogan
  • Roberto Rigobon

We apply a new estimator to the measurement of the economic returns to education. We control for endogenous education, unobserved ability and measurement error using only the natural heteroscedasticty of wages and education attainment. Our prefered estimate, 6.07%, is closer to the OLS estimate but smaller (and more precise) than the estimates typically reported by studies that use IV. Our results indicate that the biases generated by unobserved ability and measurement error tend to cancel each other out as suggested by Griliches (1977). We also present Monte Carlo evidence to show that the finite sample bias our estimator is small.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9145.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9145
Note: PE ED
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  1. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 1998. "Monotone Instrumental Variables: With an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Virginia Economics Online Papers 308, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  2. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014, November.
  4. Sentana, E. & Fiorentini, G., 1997. "Identification, Estimation and Testing of Conditionally Heteroskedastic Factor Model," Papers 9709, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  5. Hogan, Vincent & Ian Walker, 2002. "Education Choice under Uncertainty," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 103, Royal Economic Society.
  6. Roberto Rigobon & Brian Sack, 2002. "The impact of monetary policy on asset prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  9. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  10. King, Mervyn & Sentana, Enrique & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1994. "Volatility and Links between National Stock Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 901-33, July.
  11. Rummery, Sarah & Vella, Francis & Verbeek, Marno, 1999. "Estimating the returns to education for Australian youth via rank-order instrumental variables," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 491-507, November.
  12. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  13. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  14. Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "Identification Through Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 777-792, November.
  15. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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