Information Policies and Higher Education Choices: Experimental Evidence from Colombia

40 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2015 Last revised: 6 Nov 2017

See all articles by Leonardo Bonilla

Leonardo Bonilla

Central Bank of Colombia; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics

Nicolas L. Bottan

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management

Andrés Ham

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - School of Government

Date Written: July 1, 2017

Abstract

Governments have recently invested in online information systems that provide labor market statistics and financial aid options to help students make higher education choices. This paper uses a randomized controlled trial to study the extent to which this information influences students' understanding of the potential wage premium associated with various college degrees; performance on tests that are key in college admissions; and subsequent decisions about whether and where to enroll in college. We collect data on more than 6,000 students across 115 public schools in Bogotá, Colombia. Students in 58 schools were given a 35-minute presentation that provides labor market and funding information: average earning premiums upon completing college, available financial aid options to cover costs, and the importance of test scores for admission and financing. Results indicate that students learn about financial aid but do not change their generally inflated beliefs about earnings associated with college degrees. Test scores and college enrollment are unchanged by the treatment, although we find evidence that the intervention leads more students to choose to attend selective colleges.

Keywords: information, education, career choice, school effort, Colombia

JEL Classification: I24, I25, O15

Suggested Citation

Bonilla, Leonardo and Bottan, Nicolas Luis and Ham, Andrés, Information Policies and Higher Education Choices: Experimental Evidence from Colombia (July 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2546835 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2546835

Leonardo Bonilla (Contact Author)

Central Bank of Colombia ( email )

Carrera 7 #14-78
3551 de Bogotá
Colombia

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics ( email )

410 David Kinley Hall
1407 W. Gregory
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Nicolas Luis Bottan

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States
6072555724 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.nicolasbottan.com

Andrés Ham

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - School of Government ( email )

Cra 1. No. 19 - 27. Bloque Aulas Tercer piso
Bogotá D.C.
Colombia

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