Socio-Economic Gaps in University Enrollment: The Role of Perceived Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Returns
76 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 05, 2017
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
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