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Education, Risk Preference and Wages

Author

Listed:
  • Sarah Brown

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

  • Karl Taylor

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

Abstract

We explore the effect of risk preference on the educational attainment and wages of a sample of individuals drawn from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Using a sequence of questions from the 1996 PSID, we are able to construct measures of risk aversion and risk tolerance allowing us to explore the implications of interpersonal differences in risk preference for educational attainment. Our empirical findings suggest that risk preference has a significant influence on human capital accumulation, with the degree of risk aversion (tolerance) being inversely (positively) associated with educational attainment. In addition, our findings suggest that risk preference is a valid instrument for education in a standard Mincerian earnings function.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2006. "Education, Risk Preference and Wages," Working Papers 2006002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2006002
    as

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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/05/25/19/SERP2006002.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/05/25/19/SERP2006002.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2006
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brown, James N & Rosen, Harvey S, 1987. "Taxation, Wage Variation, and Job Choice," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 430-451, October.
    3. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-20, CIRANO.
    4. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviours," CEPR Discussion Papers 4591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Levhari, David & Weiss, Yoram, 1974. "The Effect of Risk on the Investment in Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 950-963, December.
    6. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-1129, September.
    7. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    8. Brunello, Giorgio, 2002. "Absolute risk aversion and the returns to education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 635-640, December.
    9. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2005. "Wage Growth, Human Capital And Financial Investment," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(6), pages 686-708, December.
    10. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    11. Kathryn Wilson & Barbara Wolfe & Robert Haveman, 2005. "The Role of Expectations in Adolescent Schooling Choices: Do Youths Respond to Economic Incentives?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 467-492, July.
    12. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-156, April.
    13. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 948-964, June.
    14. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk Aversion and Income Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 626-653, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lisa Anderson & Jennifer Mellor, 2009. "Are risk preferences stable? Comparing an experimental measure with a validated survey-based measure," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 137-160, October.
    2. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M., 2008. "Predicting health behaviors with an experimental measure of risk preference," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1260-1274, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; Risk Aversion; Risk Preference; Wages.;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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