Does Ignorance of Economic Returns and Costs Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments

52 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2018

See all articles by Philipp Lergetporer

Philipp Lergetporer

University of Innsbruck

Katharina Werner

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 02, 2018

Abstract

The gap in university enrollment by parental education is large and persistent in many countries. In our representative survey, 74 percent of German university graduates, but only 36 percent of those without a university degree favor a university education for their children. The latter are more likely to underestimate returns and overestimate costs of university. Experimental provision of return and cost information significantly increases educational aspirations. However, it does not close the aspiration gap as university graduates respond even more strongly to the information treatment. Persistent effects in a follow-up survey indicate that participants indeed process and remember the information. Differences in economic preference parameters also cannot account for the educational aspiration gap. Our results cast doubt that ignorance of economic returns and costs explains educational inequality in Germany.

Keywords: inequality, higher education, university, aspiration, information, returns to education, survey experiment

JEL Classification: D830, I240, J240, H750

Suggested Citation

Lergetporer, Philipp and Werner, Katharina and Woessmann, Ludger, Does Ignorance of Economic Returns and Costs Explain the Educational Aspiration Gap? Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments (May 02, 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 7000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198154

Philipp Lergetporer

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Universit├Ątsstra├če 15
Innsbruck, 6020
Austria

Katharina Werner

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Ludger Woessmann (Contact Author)

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
11
Abstract Views
102
PlumX Metrics