• shareshare
  • link
  • cite
  • add
auto_awesome_motion View all 8 versions
Publication . Preprint . 2014

Does Education Affect Risk Aversion?: Evidence from the 1973 British Education Reform

Jung, Seeun;
Open Access
Published: 01 May 2014
Publisher: HAL CCSD
Country: France

Individual risk attitudes are widely used in order to predict decisions regarding education. These uses of risk attitudes as a control variable for education decisions, however, have been criticized due to potential reverse causality. The causality between risk aversion and education is not clear, and it is hard to disentangle the different directions. We here investigate the causal effect of education on risk aversion by looking at the 1973 British Education Reform. With the educational reform in 1973 when the end of compulsory education increased from 15 to 16, it is possible to see the average treatment effect of education reform on the individual risk attitude for different cohort groups. We find that years of schooling increase risk aversion level via IV2SLS, which is contrary to the existing literature to our knowledge. This result is especially stronger for those with lower education. We suggest that in early education, education makes individuals more risk averse, whereas in more adult education such as tertiary education, years of schooling diminish risk aversion as suggested in other literatures. In addition, this negative causal effect of education on risk aversion could relieve our concerns about the endogeneity/reverse causality issue when using risk aversion as an explanatory variable for education decisions, because the sign would still credible as coefficients are underestimated.


Risk Aversion, Education Reform, Instrumental Variable, JEL: I - Health, Education, and Welfare/I.I2 - Education and Research Institutions/I.I2.I21 - Analysis of Education, JEL: I - Health, Education, and Welfare/I.I2 - Education and Research Institutions/I.I2.I28 - Government Policy, JEL: J - Labor and Demographic Economics/J.J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor/J.J2.J24 - Human Capital • Skills • Occupational Choice • Labor Productivity, [SHS.ECO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Economics and Finance, Risk Aversion,Education Reform,Instrumental Variable

32 references, page 1 of 4

Acemoglu, D. and J. Angrist, “How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws,” in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15 NBER Chapters (National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, 2001), 9-74. [OpenAIRE]

Angrist, J. D. and A. B. Krueger, “Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 106 (November 1991), 979-1014.

Barsky, R. B., F. T. Juster, M. S. Kimball and M. D. Shapiro, “Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (May 1997), 537-79.

Belzil, C. and J. Hansen, “Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education,” PostPrint halshs-00180125, HAL, April 2004.

Belzil, C. and M. Leonardi, “Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions,” IZA Discussion Papers 2994, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), August 2007. [OpenAIRE]

Black, S. E., P. J. Devereux and K. G. Salvanes, “Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital,” American Economic Review 95 (2005), 437-449.

---, “Staying in the Classroom and out of the maternity ward? The effect of compulsory schooling laws on teenage births*,” The Economic Journal 118 (2008), 1025-1054.

Brunello, G. and R. Miniaci, “The Economic Return to Schooling for Italian Men. An Evaluation Based on Instrumental Variables,” Labour Economics 6(4) (1999), 509- 519.

Callan, T. and C. Harmon, “The Economic Return to Schooling in Ireland,” Labour Economics 6(4) (1999), 543-550.

Cameron, S. V. and J. J. Heckman, “Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males,” Journal of Political Economy 106 (April 1998), 262-333.

Related to Research communities