Choosing Differently? College Application Behavior and the Persistence of Educational Advantage
Judith Delaney () and
Paul Devereux ()
No 13251, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)
We use administrative data from Ireland to study differences in college application behavior between students from disadvantaged versus advantaged high schools. Ireland provides an interesting laboratory for this analysis as applicants provide a preference-ordering of college programs (majors) and marginal applications are costless. Also, college admission depends almost completely on grades in the terminal high school examinations. Thus, we can compare the application choices of students who have equal chances of admission to college programs. Conditional on achievement and college opportunities, we find that students from advantaged high schools are more likely to apply to universities and to more selective college programs. They are also more likely to have preferences that cluster by program selectivity rather than by field of study. Our results suggest that, alongside differences in achievement, differences in college application behavior also cause persons from advantaged high schools to be more likely to enroll in selective colleges and enter more selective programs. Importantly, we find that enrollment gaps for equally qualified applicants are smaller than differences in application behavior; the relatively meritocratic centralized admissions system based on achievement undoes much of the effect of the differences in application behavior.
Keywords: higher education; college major choice; centralized admissions system; high school advantage; college applications; educational mismatch (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 48 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed
Published - published in: Economics of Education Review, 2020, 77, 101998
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: Choosing differently? College application behavior and the persistence of educational advantage (2020)
Working Paper: Choosing Differently? College Application Behavior and the Persistence of Educational Advantage (2020)
Working Paper: Choosing differently? College application behaviour and the persistence of educational advantage (2020)
Working Paper: Choosing Differently? College Application Behaviour and the Persistence of Educational Advantage (2020)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13251
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().