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Investment in Tertiary Education : Main Determinants and Implications for Policy


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  • Boarini, Romina
  • Strauss, Hubert
  • de la Maisonneuve, Christine
  • Nicoletti, Giuseppe
  • Oliveira Martins, Joaquim


Many OECD countries are aiming to reform their tertiary education (TE) systems. This work explores the determinants of the investment in TE, with a focus on institutional setting of TE systems and private incentives to undertake years of schooling beyond upper-secondary degree level. For this purpose the article first develops estimates of three main drivers of graduation patterns, namely institutional arrangements of TE supply, availability of funding for TE students, and private returns to tertiary studies. Second, the article empirically assesses how these three factors affect graduation ratios. Based on this analysis, the article then discusses policy-levers of TE investment and explores possible routes of reform for TE systems in OECD countries. The main findings are as follows: graduation ratios increase with private returns to TE as well with the autonomy and accountability of the supply of education. Lack or insufficient financial help to tertiary students negatively affects graduation ratios. There is a number of policy-levers to stimulate investment in TE. They include policies affecting labour market premia, the degree of flexibility of TE provision and the availability of funding for students.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/7987.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in CESifo Economic Studies, 2008, Vol. 54, no. 2. pp. 277-312.Length: 35 pages
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/7987

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Related research

Keywords: Investment in tertiary education; returns to education; supply of tertiary education;

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Cited by:
  1. Daraio, Cinzia & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Geuna, Aldo & Lepori, Benedetto & Bach, Laurent & Bogetoft, Peter & F. Cardoso, Margarida & Castro-Martinez, Elena & Crespi, Gustavo & de Lucio, Ignacio Fernandez, 2011. "The European university landscape: A micro characterization based on evidence from the Aquameth project," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 148-164, February.
  2. Reinhilde Veugelers & Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2008. "Reforming European Universities: Scope for an Evidence-Based Process," CESifo Working Paper Series 2298, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Carlos Vieira & Isabel Vieira, 2011. "Determinants and projections of demand for higher education in Portugal," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2011_15, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).


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