ENSAE Paris - École d'ingénieurs pour l'économie, la data science, la finance et l'actuariat

Structural Econometrics of Education


BELZIL Christian

Department: Economics


The main objective of the course is to introduce students to the voluminous micro-based literature on education and human capital accumulation. Although many articles will be covered during the class, the course is based on self-contained lecture notes.The focus in on structural approaches and therefore on modeling. For this reason, some technical tools (econometrics methods for discrete dynamic programming) necessary to grasp the litterature, will have to be covered in class (see Item 6 in the course plan below)


1-Human Capital: Definitions and Foundations- Becker-Ben Porath and Mincer

2- General vs. Specific Human Capital

3- Measuring Returns to Schooling and the Ability Bias

4-Comparative Advantages and the Roy Model with an Applications

5- Estimating Distribution of Returns with Factor Models

6- Introduction to Structural Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models

7- Structural Dynamic Models of Schooling

8- Education Financing and Student Loans

9-  Empirical Literature on Liquidity Constraints and Education Inequality

10- Investing in Children: Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills in Education

11- Sorting between Public and Private Schools

12- Fields of Study and Occupation


Each week, a set of notes will be available on the course webpage (Pamplemousse). The lecture notes will be self-contained. However, some key articles will need to be studies in more details. The list below contains relevant sources.

 James J. Heckman Lance J. Lochner Petra E. Todd, Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond, August 2005, IZA DP 1700

Belzil, Christian (2007) ìThe Return to Schooling in Structural Dynamic Models: A Surveyî The European Economic Review, 51(5), 1059-1105.  

Card D (1999) ìThe Causal E§ect of Education on Earnings Handbook of Labor Economics, Volume 3, Edited by O. Ashenfelter and D. Card

Cameron, Stephen and Heckman, James (1998) îLife Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American MalesîJournal of Political Economy, 106 (2), 262-333. 

Keane, M and Ken Wolpin (1997) ìThe Career Decisions of Young Men, Journal of Political Economy, vol 105, no 3, 473-522

Lochner L. and Monge-Naranjo (2011) The Nature of credit constraints and human capitalî American Economic Review 101 (6): 2487-2529

Belzil, C, A Maurel and M. Sidibé (2021), Estimating the Value of Higher Education financial aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment, Working Paper Cornell University and NBER w23641, Journal of Labor Economics

Todd, Petra and Kenneth Wolpin, The Production of Cognitive Achievements in Children Journal of Human Capital, 2008.

Cunha, Heckman, Schennach 2011, Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Non-cogntive Skill Formation, Econometrica, Vol. 78, No. 3 (May, 2010),

Epple, Romano and Sieg (2006) ìAdmission, Tuition and Financial Aid Policies in the Market for Higher Educationî Econometrica

Altonji J, Arcidiacono P. and A. Maurel (2018) The Analysis of Field choice in College and Graduate School: Determinants and Wage Effects, NBER Working Paper 21655

Wiswall, M. and B. Zafar (2015) Determinants of College Major Choice: Identification using an Information Experiment, Review of Economic Studies 82 (2): 791-824