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Enrollment costs, university quality and higher education choices in Italy

Pigini, Claudia and Staffolani, Stefano (2013): Enrollment costs, university quality and higher education choices in Italy.

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Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the higher education choices of Italian secondary school leavers by addressing the roles of university quality, costs and geographical distance to the institution as well as the relationship between students’ choices and their personal and household’s attributes, such as individual secondary school background and the socio-economic condition of the family of origin. Grounding such decision process on the framework of the Random Utility Model (RUM), we provide empirical evidence on the determinants of students’ choices by estimating a nested logit model on the ISTAT survey of secondary school graduates. Results show that the effects of increasing costs of enrollments and university standards are strongly differentiated across sub-groups of individuals. In particular, the choice probability of weaker students, in the sense of secondary school background and household’s socio–economic condition, is more sensitive to changes in university costs and quality.

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