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The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition

Philipp Lergetporer and Ludger Woessmann ()
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Philipp Lergetporer: ifo Institute at the University of Munich

No 145, Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series from CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition

Abstract: Public preferences for charging tuition are important for determining higher education finance. To test whether public support for tuition depends on information and design, we devise several survey experiments in representative samples of the German electorate. The electorate is divided, with a slight plurality opposing tuition. Providing information on the university earnings premium raises support for tuition by 7 percentage points, turning the plurality in favor. The opposition-reducing effect persists two weeks after treatment. Information on fiscal costs and unequal access does not affect public preferences. Designing tuition as deferred income-contingent payments raises support by 16 percentage points, creating a strong majority favoring tuition. The same effect emerges when framed as loan payments. Support decreases with higher tuition levels and increases when targeted at non-EU students.

Keywords: tuition; higher education; political economy; survey experiments; information; earnings premium; income-contingent loans; voting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I22 H52 D72 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-02-27
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-exp and nep-pol
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Working Paper: The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition (2019) Downloads
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