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

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%.

Authors: 
Teodora Boneva, University of Cambridge
Christopher Rauh, University of Cambridge, INET Institute
Publication Date: 
October, 2017
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2017-080
File Description: 
First version, October 25, 2017