Socio-economic gaps in university enrollment: the role of perceived pecuniary and non-pecuniary returns

Publication type

Research Paper

Authors

Teodora Boneva and Christopher Rauh

Publication date

Series Number

2017-080

Summary

To understand the socio-economic enrollment gap in university attendance, we elicit students' beliefs about the benefits of university education in a sample of 2,540 secondary school students. Our choice model estimates reveal that perceived non-pecuniary benefits explain a large share of the variation in intentions to enroll. Expected job satisfaction, parental approval, and perceptions about social life during the 3-4 years after finishing secondary school are most important. Students with low socio-economic status perceive pecuniary and non-pecuniary returns to be lower. Beliefs explain 48% of the socio-economic gap in intentions to enroll, while perceived non-pecuniary returns alone account for 37%.

Subjects

Psychology, Education, Economics, Social Stratification and Higher Education

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