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Estimating the Returns to Schooling: A Likelihood Approach Based on Normal Mixtures

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Abstract

In this paper we develop likelihood based methods for statistical inference in a joint system of equations for the choice of length of schooling and earnings. The model for schooling choice is assumed to be an ordered probit model, whereas the earnings equation contains variables that are flexible transformations of schooling and experience, with corresponding coefficients that are allowed to be heterogeneous across individuals. Under the assumption that the distribution of the random terms of the model can be expressed as a particular finite mixture of multinormal distributions, we show that the joint probability distribution for schooling and earnings can be expressed on closed form. In an application of our method on Norwegian data, we find that the mixed Gaussian model offers a substantial improvement in fit to the (heavy-tailed) empirical distribution of log-earnings compared to a multinormal benchmark model.

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  • John K. Dagsvik & Torbjørn Hægeland & Arvid Raknerud, 2008. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: A Likelihood Approach Based on Normal Mixtures," Discussion Papers 567, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:567
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    1. John K. Dagsvik & Zhiyang Jia & Tom Kornstad & Thor O. Thoresen, 2014. "Theoretical And Practical Arguments For Modeling Labor Supply As A Choice Among Latent Jobs," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 134-151, February.
    2. Arvid Raknerud & Mirjam van Praag, 2014. "The entrepreneurial earnings puzzle. Evidence from matched person-firm data," Discussion Papers 789, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    3. Cappelen, Ådne & Raknerud, Arvid & Rybalka, Marina, 2012. "The effects of R&D tax credits on patenting and innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 334-345.
    4. Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Røed, Knut, 2011. "Educating Children of Immigrants: Closing the Gap in Norwegian Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 6138, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Adam Nowak & Patrick Smith, 2015. "Textual Analysis in Real Estate," Working Papers 15-34, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Schooling choice; earnings equation; normal mixtures; treatment effects; self-selection; random coefficients; full information maximum likelihood;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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