NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Colm Harmon

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Working Papers and Chapters

August 2013Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes
with Orla Doyle, James J. Heckman, Caitriona Logue, Seong Moon: w19316
The literature on skill formation and human capital development clearly demonstrates that early investment in children is an equitable and efficient policy with large returns in adulthood. Yet little is known about the mechanisms involved in producing these long-term effects. This paper presents early evidence on the nature of skill formation based on an experimentally designed, five-year home visiting program in Ireland targeting disadvantaged families - Preparing for Life (PFL). We examine the impact of investment between utero to 18 months of age on a range of parental and child outcomes. Using the methodology of Heckman et al. (2010a), permutation testing methods and a stepdown procedure are applied to account for the small sample size and the increased likelihood of false discoveries...
January 2000A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias
with Orley Ashenfelter, Hessel Oosterbeek: w7457
In this paper we provide an analytical review of previous estimates of the rate of return on schooling investments and measure how these estimates vary by country, over time, and by estimation method. We find evidence reporting (or file drawer') bias in the estimates and, after due account is taken of this bias, we find that differences due to estimation method are much smaller than is sometimes reported, although some are statistically significant. We also find that estimated returns are higher in the U.S. and they have increased in the last two decades.

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