The Indirect Effects of Educational Expansions: Evidence from a Large Enrollment Increase in STEM Majors

70 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2017 Last revised: 5 Aug 2018

Date Written: August 1, 2018

Abstract

Increasing access to education may have consequences that go beyond the effects on marginal students encouraged to enroll. It may change peer effects, school quality, and returns to skill. This paper studies how classmates and teaching inputs affect learning of university students, exploiting an educational expansion in Italian STEM majors. Newly-collected data on 27,236 students indicate that less-prepared classmates and congestion of teaching resources lowered learning of incumbent students in STEM fields. Their learning, however, increased in courses in which the new classmates raised average preparedness. These effects might have had long-lasting consequences on the returns to STEM degrees.

Keywords: educational expansion, STEM majors, higher education, quality of education, class heterogeneity

JEL Classification: I21, I26, I28, J24, N34

Suggested Citation

Bianchi, Nicola, The Indirect Effects of Educational Expansions: Evidence from a Large Enrollment Increase in STEM Majors (August 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3037247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3037247

Nicola Bianchi (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2211 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.bianchinicola.com

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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