Returns to endogenous education: the case of Honduras
The rapid expansion of the education sector in developing countries and the scarcity of public funds have increased the need for an accurate evaluation of educational policies. Estimates of rates of return to education have often been used as an integral part of cost-benefit studies and programme evaluation efforts. This study uses household survey data from Honduras for 1990 to estimate returns to education that allow for worker heterogeneity and individual self-selection in the education process. A sequential estimation procedure is used that enables study of the interaction between educational attainment and earnings determination. It is found that accounting for endogenous educational attainment leads to substantially higher estimated returns to education (compared to traditional least squares estimates). The possible magnitude of the bias underscores the importance of recognizing the role of self-selection and comparative advantage in the education process.