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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. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
  2. Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "Identification Through Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 777-792, November.
  3. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hogan, Vincent & Ian Walker, 2002. "Education Choice under Uncertainty," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 103, Royal Economic Society.
  5. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  6. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  7. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-19, CIRANO.
  8. 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.
  9. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2000. "Monotone Instrumental Variables, with an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 997-1012, July.
  10. Rigobon, Roberto & Sack, Brian, 2004. "The impact of monetary policy on asset prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1553-1575, November.
  11. King, Mervyn & Sentana, Enrique & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1994. "Volatility and Links between National Stock Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 901-33, July.
  12. 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.
  13. Sentana, Enrique & Fiorentini, Gabriele, 2001. "Identification, estimation and testing of conditionally heteroskedastic factor models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 143-164, June.
  14. 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.
  15. Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. 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.
  17. Colm Harmon & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the United Kingdom," Open Access publications 10197/647, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
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