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A Field Study on University Enrolment: The Intentions of Prospective Students

Martina Menon () and Federico Perali ()

No 07/2015, Working Papers from University of Verona, Department of Economics

Abstract: We study the university choice of prospective students using a unique dataset enriched with “lab-in-the-field” experiments aimed at eliciting risk and time preferences of students. Controlling for assortative mating, we find that father's rather than mother's education is significantly associated with the likelihood of children's enrolment in university indicating that the intergenerational transmission of human capital is mainly channelled through the father's education. Family possessions, as measured by homeownership, are positively associated with the likelihood of children's enrolment, while parental income has a small impact on this choice. This result suggests that in our sample there is equal access to university irrespective of short-time family liquidity constraints. We also find that economic preference parameters, such as risk and time preferences, account for a small part of the prospect of enrolling in university, while subjective expectations, effort and school ability of children are strong predictors of future schooling investment. In addition, through a counterfactual analysis, sports activities among children appear to increase the university enrolment rate. Our findings provide helpful directions for decision-makers to attract talented students to tertiary education.

Keywords: University enrolment; intentions data; family background; subjective expectations; cognitive and non-cognitive abilities; counterfactual analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 59
Date: 2015-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-edu and nep-hrm
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