Socio-Economic Gaps in University Enrollment: The Role of Perceived Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Returns

76 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018

See all articles by Teodora Boneva

Teodora Boneva

University College London - Department of Economics

Christopher Rauh

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: December 05, 2017

Abstract

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%.

Keywords: higher education, beliefs, socio-economic inequality, intergenerational mobility

JEL Classification: I240, I260, J130, J240, J620

Suggested Citation

Boneva, Teodora and Rauh, Christopher, Socio-Economic Gaps in University Enrollment: The Role of Perceived Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Returns (December 05, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6756, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3106691

Teodora Boneva (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

Christopher Rauh

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

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