Essays on the economics and econometrics of human capital

TitleEssays on the economics and econometrics of human capital
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMosso, S
AdvisorHeckman, JJ
Number of Pages161
Date Published2015
UniversityThe University of Chicago
Thesis TypePh.D.
Accession Number1705542399
KeywordsMethodology, Net Worth and Assets, Other

This thesis is composed by three distinct chapters. They are related by their common theme: the economic analysis of the process of human capital formation. The first chapter distills and extends the recent research on the economics of human development and social mobility. It critically analyzes the literature on the role of early life conditions in shaping multiple life skills with emphasis on the importance of critical and sensitive investments periods in influencing skill development. It develops economic models that rationalize the empirical evidence on treatment effects of social programs and on family influence. It investigates the empirical support of recent claims, made by part of the literature, on the relevance of credit constraints in limiting skill development. It shows how credit constraints are not a major force explaining differences in the amount of parental and self-investments in skills and how untargeted income transfer policies to poor families do not significantly boost child outcomes. The second chapter compares the performance of maximum likelihood and simulated methods of moments in estimating dynamic discrete choice models. It presents a structural model of education and shows how it can be used to estimate heterogeneous returns from schooling choices which account for their continuation values. Continuation values have a large impact on returns, but are ignored in the measures commonly used to assess the value of schooling choices. The estimates from the model are used to compute a synthetic dataset. This is used to assess the ability of maximum likelihood and simulated methods of moments to recover the model parameters. It finally proposes a Monte Carlo exercise to gain confidence on the performance of a simulated method of moments algorithm. The last chapter proposes a method to assess long run impacts on earnings of early interventions even in absence of long-term data collection on earnings histories for program participants. It combines the methodological approaches of the literature on program evaluation, data combination and forecasting to develop estimators of the average treatment effects. This exercise allows a more complete cost-benefit evaluation of social programs accounting for benefits over the whole life cycle.


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest Dissertations Publishing 2015 Last updated - 2015-08-25 First page - n/a

Endnote Keywords


Short TitleEssays on the economics and econometrics of human capital
Citation Key6017