Studies in Human Capital, Ability and Migration

University dissertation from Department of Economics, Lund

Abstract: This thesis consists of an introductory chapter followed by four separate papers. The papers deal with various aspects of human capital, ability and migration. Using the Swedish Military Enlistment test, the first paper, Ability and Rates of Return to Schooling ? making use of the Swedish Enlistment Battery Test, estimates the return to schooling for individuals belonging to different parts of the ability distribution. It also attempts to predict whether an endogenous test score causes bias in the ?ability-specific? returns to schooling that varies with the test score. A significant finding is that a higher score in the test is associated with a higher return to schooling, but that the positive association is diminishing in the test score. In general, the bias in the ability-specific returns to schooling does not seem to vary with the test score level. The second paper, Immigrants? Return to Schooling in Sweden, aims to find out if the returns to immigrants? schooling are lower than the returns to natives? schooling. In addition the paper tries to establish whether immigrants who invest in different amounts of Swedish education also differ in their returns to schooling. The results show that the difference in returns to schooling between immigrants and natives is generally quite small. Moreover, the returns to schooling are considerably higher for immigrants who arrived in Sweden during compulsory school age than for immigrants who arrived in Sweden after compulsory school age. Moreover, immigrants who complete their schooling in Sweden show, in general, much higher returns than immigrants with only foreign schooling. The third paper, The Income Gap Between Natives and Second Generation Immigrants in Sweden: Is Skill the Explanation?, analyze whether the income gap between second generation immigrants and natives is caused by a skill gap rather than ethnic discrimination. Once the result of the Swedish Military Enlistment Test is controlled for, the income gap almost disappears for second generation immigrants with both parents born in Southern Europe or outside Europe. However, when using a regular set of control variables the income gap becomes overestimated. This difference in results is most likely explained by the fact that schooling is a bad measure of productive skills for these groups of second generation immigrants. It indicates that they compensate for their lower probability of being employed by investing in (in relation to their skill level) more schooling than otherwise similar natives. The purpose of the final paper, Ethnic Segregation and Educational Attainment in Sweden, is to study whether youths who have attended ethnically segregated schools differ in their educational attainment compared to youths from less segregated schools in metropolitan Sweden, after controlling for family characteristics. To locate the ethnically segregated schools, we use the share of first and second generation immigrants among pupils graduating from a particular school. If the effect on educational attainment increases with the rate of ethnic school segregation, an association between ethnic segregation and individual educational attainment can be established. The results indicate that there is an association between attending an ethnically segregated school and educational attainment.

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