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Education, Risk Preference and Wages

  • Sarah Brown

    ()

    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

  • Karl Taylor

    ()

    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

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.

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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2006002.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision: Feb 2006
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2006002
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  1. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviours," CEPR Discussion Papers 4591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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 950-63, December.
  3. 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.
  4. James N. Brown & Harvey S. Rosen, 1988. "Taxation, Wage Variation, and Job Choice," NBER Working Papers 1284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2004. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," Working Papers 0406, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  6. Brunello, Giorgio, 2002. "Absolute risk aversion and the returns to education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 635-640, December.
  7. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2005. "Wage Growth, Human Capital And Financial Investment," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(6), pages 686-708, December.
  8. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
  9. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," Working Papers 2001-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-156, 04.
  12. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2004. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," Post-Print halshs-00180125, HAL.
  13. 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 626-53, October.
  14. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
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