James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, Gregory Veramendi

This paper estimates returns to education using a dynamic model of educational choice that synthesizes approaches in the structural dynamic discrete choice literature with approaches used in the reduced form treatment effect literature. It is an empirically robust middle ground between the two approaches which estimates economically interpretable and policy-relevant dynamic treatment effects that account for heterogeneity in cognitive and non-cognitive skills and the continuation values of educational choices. Graduating college is not a wise choice for all. Ability bias is a major component of observed educational differentials. For some, there are substantial causal effects of education at all stages of schooling.

JEL Codes
C32: Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models
C38: Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Classification Methods; Cluster Analysis; Factor Models
I12: Health Production
I14: Health and Inequality
I21: Analysis of Education
rates of return
causal effects of education
cognitive skills
non-cognitive skills