Choice of reference levels of education matter in the ORU earnings equation?
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NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Economics of Education Review. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Economics of Education Review [29, 6, 2010] DOI 10.1016/j.econedurev.2010.06.001
This paper examines whether the results of the earnings equation developed in the over-education/required education/under-education (ORU) literature are sensitive to whether the usual or reference levels of education are measured using the Realized Matches or Worker Self-Assessment methods. The analyses are conducted for all male native-born and immigrant workers in the US, by level of skill, and by occupation. While point estimates differ, particularly when earnings equations are estimated for the smaller samples of sub-groups of the workforce, the general findings are robust to this measurement issue. Thus, the answers provided to the typical research questions in the ORU literature on the productivity of schooling are independent of the measure of the usual or reference level of education used in the analyses.
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