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The Marginal and Average Returns to Schooling"


  • Colm Harmon
  • Ian Walker


The existing literature now features many examples where log wages are linear in years of schooling and which effectively attempt to correct for least squares bias using instruments based essentially on a single variable. Two recent developments, taken together, cast some doubt on the downward bias in least squares estimates of the return to schooling that have been an important feature of the recent literature. The first is the realization that instrumental variable (IV) only estimate the effects of some treatment if the effect is the same for everyone. The second is that IV may only estimate the effect of the treatment on the individuals whose choices are affected by the instrument in question [extract]
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Suggested Citation

  • Colm Harmon & Ian Walker, 1996. "The Marginal and Average Returns to Schooling"," Working Papers 96/20, University College Dublin, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:cdecwp:9620

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    Cited by:

    1. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1999. "Lower and upper bounds of returns to schooling: An exercise in IV estimation with different instruments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 889-901, April.
    2. Florence Arestoff, 2000. "Taux de rendement de l’éducation sur le marché du travail d’un pays en développement Un réexamen du modèle de gains de Mincer," Working Papers DT/2000/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    3. Adriaan Kalwij, 2000. "Estimating the economic return to schooling on the basis of panel data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(1), pages 61-71.
    4. Harmon, Colm & Hogan, Vincent & Walker, Ian, 2003. "Dispersion in the economic return to schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 205-214, April.
    5. Sonia Bhalotra & Claudia Sanhueza, 2004. "Parametric and Semi-parametric Estimations of the Return to Schooling in South Africa," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 294, Econometric Society.
    6. MacDonald, Ziggy & Shields, Michael A, 2001. "The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Occupational Attainment in England," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(271), pages 427-453, August.
    7. Peter Dolton, 2001. "Over education in the graduate labour market: Some evidence from alumni data," CEE Discussion Papers 0009, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    8. Chib, Siddhartha & Jacobi, Liana, 2011. "Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Britain: Evidence from a Bayesian Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 5564, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Massimiliano BRATTI & Luca MANCINI, 2003. "Differences in Early Occupational Earnings of UK Male Graduates by Degree Subject: Evidence from the 1980-1993 USR," Working Papers 189, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    10. Concetta, MENDOLICCHIO, 2006. "A Disaggregate Analysis of Private Returns to Education in Italy," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006054, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    11. Kevin Denny & Harmon, Harmon & Sandra Redmond, 2000. "Functional literacy, educational attainment and earnings - evidence from the international adult literacy survey," IFS Working Papers W00/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    12. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2002. "The English language fluency and occupational success of ethnic minority immigrant men living in English metropolitan areas," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 137-160.
    13. Lorraine Dearden, 1999. "Qualifications and earnings in Britain: how reliable are conventional OLS estimates of the returns to education?," IFS Working Papers W99/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    14. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2002. "The English language fluency and occupational success of ethnic minority immigrant men living in English metropolitan areas," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 137-160.
    15. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
    16. Lloyd Ahamefule AMAGHIONYEODIWE & Tokunbo Simbowale OSINUBI, 2007. "Do Higher Levels Of Schooling Lead To Higher Returns To Education In Nigeria?," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 7(1).
    17. Trostel, P.A., 2000. "Micro Evidence on Human Capital as the Engine of Growth," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 555, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    18. Angel López-Nicolás & Jaume García & Pedro J. Hernández, 2001. "How wide is the gap? An investigation of gender wage differences using quantile regression," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 149-167.
    19. Philip A. Trostel, 2005. "Nonlinearity in the return to education," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 8, pages 191-202, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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