"Workhorses of Opportunity": Regional Universities Increase Local Social Mobility

60 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2022

See all articles by Greg Howard

Greg Howard

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Russell Weinstein

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics

Abstract

Regional public universities educate approximately 70 percent of college students at four-year public universities and an even larger share of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They aim to provide opportunity for education and social mobility, in part by locating near potential students. In this paper, we use the historical assignment of normal schools and insane asylums (normal schools grew into regional universities while asylums remain small) and data from Opportunity Insights to identify the effects of regional universities on the social mobility of nearby children. Children in counties given a normal school get more education and have better economic and social outcomes, especially lower-income children. For several key outcomes, we show this effect is a causal effect on children, and not only selection on which children live near universities.

Keywords: economic mobility, regional universities, college attendance

JEL Classification: J62, I23, I26, R53

Suggested Citation

Howard, Greg and Weinstein, Russell, "Workhorses of Opportunity": Regional Universities Increase Local Social Mobility. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15622, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4244417 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4244417

Greg Howard (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

Russell Weinstein

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - School of Labor & Employment Relations ( email )

504 East Armory Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820-6297
United States

HOME PAGE: http://publish.illinois.edu/RussellWeinstein

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics ( email )

410 David Kinley Hall
1407 W. Gregory
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

HOME PAGE: http://publish.illinois.edu/RussellWeinstein

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