Education and Self-Selection
NBER Working Paper No. 249 (Also Reprint No. r0043)
A structural model of the demand for college attendance is derived from the theory of comparative advantage and recent statistical models of self-selection and unobserved components. Estimates from NBER-Thorndike data strongly support the theory. First, expected lifetime earnings gains influence the decision to attend college. Second, those who did not attend college would have earned less than measurably similar people who did attend, while those who attended college would have earned less as high school graduates than measurably similar people who stopped after high school. Positive selection in both groups implies no "ability bias in these data.
Published: Willis, Robert J. and Rosen, Sherwin. "Education and Self-Selection." Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 87, No. 5, (October 1979), Part 2, pp. S7-S36 .