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Students' expectations of the economic returns to college education: results of a controlled experiment

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  • Botelho, Anabela
  • Pinto, Ligia Costa

Abstract

This study reports the results of an experiment designed to elicit students' subjective beliefs about the economic returns to college education. An important feature of our experimental design is the inclusion of financial incentives for accurate reporting. We also consider the extent to which individuals' beliefs about their own returns differ from their beliefs about the returns for others. The evidence shows that students do have a self-enhancement tendency, and this finding cannot be attributed to previously uncontrolled order effects. The evidence also indicates that there is no significant difference between beliefs elicited using hypothetical surveys or real financial incentives in the elicitation procedure. This finding suggests that economists' reluctance to gather subjective data on earnings expectations may not be warrant.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 23 (2004)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 645-653

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:23:y:2004:i:6:p:645-653

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References

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  4. Anabela Botelho & Glenn W. Harrison & Lígia Pinto & Elisabet E. Rutstrom & Paula Veiga, 2005. "Discounting in developing countries: a pilot experiment in Timor-Leste," NIMA Working Papers 31, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
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  26. Anabela Botelho & Glenn W. Harrison & Marc A. Hirsch & Elisabet E. Rutstrom, 2001. "Bargaining behavior, demographics and nationality: a reconsideration of the experimental evidence," NIMA Working Papers 16, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
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Cited by:
  1. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Stephan Veen, 2006. "Incentives for Schools, Educational Signals and Labour Market Outcomes," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0009, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Jun 2006.
  2. Gunderson, Morley & Krashinsky, Harry, 2009. "Do Education Decisions Respond to Returns by Field of Study?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-62, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2009.
  3. Menon, Maria Eliophotou, 2008. "Perceived rates of return to higher education: Further evidence from Cyprus," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 39-47, February.
  4. Philip Oreopoulos & Ryan Dunn, 2012. "Information and College Access: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Garcia-Aracil, Adela & Winter, Carolyn, 2006. "Gender and ethnicity differentials in school attainment and labor market earnings in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 289-307, February.
  6. Boudarbat, Brahim, 2008. "Field of study choice by community college students in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 79-93, February.

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