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Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints

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  • Frenette, Marc

Abstract

In this study, I use new Canadian data containing detailed information on academic abilities, parental influences, financial constraints, and other socio-economic background characteristics of youth to try to account for the large gap in university attendance across the income distribution. I find that 96% of the total gap in university attendance between youth from the top and bottom income quartiles can be accounted for by differences in observable characteristics. Differences in long-term factors such as standardized test scores in reading obtained at age 15, school marks reported at age 15, parental influences, and high-school quality account for 84% of the gap. In contrast, only 12% of the gap is related to financial constraints. Similar results hold across different income quartiles and when I use standardized test scores in mathematics and science. However, reading scores account for a larger proportion of the gap than other test scores.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2007295e.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2007295e

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Keywords: Children and youth; Education finance; Education; training and learning; Educational attainment; Literacy; Low income families;

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References

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  1. Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Do Universities Benefit Local Youth? Evidence from University and College Participation, and Graduate Earnings Following the Creation of a New University," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2006283e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  2. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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  5. Neill, Christine, 2009. "Tuition fees and the demand for university places," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 561-570, October.
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  7. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Frenette, Marc, 2005. "The Impact of Tuition Fees on University Access: Evidence from a Large-scale Price Deregulation in Professional Programs," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2005263e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  9. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," NBER Working Papers 9055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
  12. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Where the boys aren't: Non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," NBER Working Papers 8964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  14. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 2006. "Selective Counteroffers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 385-410, July.
  15. Alan Manning & Helen Robinson, 1998. "Something in the way she moves: a fresh look at an old gap," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 20277, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  16. Drolet, Marie, 2005. "Participation in Post-secondary Education in Canada: Has the Role of Parental Income and Education Changed over the 1990s?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2005243e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  17. Kane, Thomas J, 1994. "College Entry by Blacks since 1970: The Role of College Costs, Family Background, and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 878-911, October.
  18. Marc Frenette, 2004. "Access to College and University: Does Distance to School Matter?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(4), pages 427-443, December.
  19. Green, David A. & Milligan, Kevin & Frenette, Marc, 2006. "Revisiting Recent Trends in Canadian After-Tax Income Inequality Using Census Data," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2006274e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  20. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  21. Moffitt, Robert A., 1999. "New developments in econometric methods for labor market analysis," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 24, pages 1367-1397 Elsevier.
  22. Frenette, Marc, 2005. "Is Post-secondary Access More Equitable in Canada or the United States?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2005244e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Emanuelle Bourbeau & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2011. "Provincial Returns to Education for 21 to 35 year-olds: Results from the 1991-2006 Canadian Analytic Censuses Files," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 1106, CIRPEE.
  2. Paul Frijters & Luo Chuliang & Xin Meng, 2012. "Child Education and the Family Income Gradient in China," Discussion Papers Series 470, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  3. Philippe Belley & Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner, 2010. "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income: Comparing the U.S. and Canada," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity 20103, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  4. Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2011. "Loan Aversion among Canadian High School Students," CIRANO Working Papers, CIRANO 2011s-67, CIRANO.
  5. Philippe Belley & Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner, 2011. "Post-Secondary Attendance by Parental Income in the U.S. and Canada: What Role for Financial Aid Policy?," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute 20113, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  6. Zeman, Klarka & Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  7. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Family Background, Family Income, Cognitive Tests Scores, Behavioural Scales and their Relationship with Post-secondary Education Participation: Evidence from the NLSCY," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 0830, CIRPEE.
  8. Colin Busby, 2010. "Manitoba’s Demographic Challenge: Why Improving Aboriginal Education Outcomes Is Vital for Economic Prosperity," e-briefs, C.D. Howe Institute 99, C.D. Howe Institute.

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