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Eliciting Student Expectations Of The Returns To Schooling

  • Jeff Dominitz

    (University ofMichigan)

  • Charles F. Manski

    (University of Wisconsin)

We report here on the design and first application of an interactive computer-administered personal interview (CAPI) survey eliciting from high school students and college undergraduates their expectations of the income they would earn if they were to complete different levels of schooling. We also elicit respondents' beliefs about current earnings distributions. Whereas a scattering of earlier studies have elicited point expectations of earnings unconditional on future schooling, we elicit subjective earnings distributions under alternative scenarios for future earnings. We find that respondents, even ones as young as high school sophomores, are willing and able to respond meaningfully to questions eliciting their earnings expectations in probabilistic form. Respondents vary considerably in their earnings expectations but there is a common belief that the returns to a college education are positive and that earnings rise between ages 30 and 40. There is a common belief that one's own future earnings are rather uncertain. Moreover, respondents tend to overestimate the current degree of earnings inequality in American society.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Econometrics with number 9411002.

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Date of creation: 15 Nov 1994
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:9411002
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  1. repec:att:wimass:9110 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. repec:att:wimass:8905 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1, May.
  4. Francine D. Blau, 1990. "Career Plans and Expectations of Young Women and Men: The Earnings Gap and Labor Force Participation," NBER Working Papers 3445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, . "Using expectations data to study subjective income expectations," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1050-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  6. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. F. Thomas Juster, 1966. "Consumer Buying Intentions and Purchase Probability: An Experiment in Survey Design," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just66-2, May.
  8. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Adolescent Econometricians: How Do Youth Infer the Returns to Schooling?," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, pages 43-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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