Walking in Your Footsteps: Sibling Spillovers in Higher Education Choices

51 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018

See all articles by Josefa Aguirre

Josefa Aguirre

School of Government, Pontificia Universidad Catolica

Juan Matta

New York University

Date Written: September 26, 2018

Abstract

Social interactions have been shown to affect peoples’ behavior in many settings. Yet little is known about their role in shaping higher education choices. We exploit discontinuous admission rules generated by Chile’s centralized system of admission to postsecondary education to study spillovers from older to younger siblings in the choice of college and major. Our findings reveal strong sibling spillovers in the choice of degrees (i.e., majors offered at a specific college,) and college institutions. Having an older sibling enroll in a given degree, as opposed to just apply, increases by 80% the likelihood of enrolling in the same degree. Similarly, having an older sibling enroll in a given college, increases by 42% the likelihood of enrolling in any degree in the same college. We show suggestive evidence that information may be relevant for spillovers in the choice of degree, but less so in the choice of college. We also discuss mechanisms such as role model effects and direct benefits for siblings of attending college together.

Keywords: Social Interactions, Siblings, College Choice, Chile

JEL Classification: I20, I23, I24, J24, D19

Suggested Citation

Aguirre, Josefa and Matta, Juan, Walking in Your Footsteps: Sibling Spillovers in Higher Education Choices (September 26, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3255875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3255875

Josefa Aguirre

School of Government, Pontificia Universidad Catolica ( email )

Av Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins 340
Santiago, Región Metropolitana 8331150
Chile

Juan Matta (Contact Author)

New York University ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

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