Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

What did abolishing university fees in Ireland do?


Author Info

  • Kevin Denny

    (University College Dublin)


University tuition fees for undergraduates were abolished in Ireland in 1996. This paper examines the effect of this reform on the socioeconomic gradient (SES) to determine whether the reform was successful in achieving its objective of promoting educational equality. It finds that the reform clearly did not have that effect. It is also shown that the university/SES gradient can be explained by differential performance at second level which also explains the gap between the sexes. Students from white collar backgrounds do significantly better in their final second level exams than the children of blue-collar workers. The results are very similar to recent findings for the UK. I also find that certain demographic characteristics have large negative effects on school performance i.e. having a disabled or deceased parent. The results show that the effect of SES on school performance is generally stronger for those at the lower end of the conditional distribution of academic attainment.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201017.

as in new window
Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 24 May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201017

Contact details of provider:
Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: tuition costs; university; fees; socio-economic background; educational attainment;

Other versions of this item:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Blog mentions

As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Free university does not improve achievement equality
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-07-19 14:49:00
  2. What did abolishing university fees in Ireland do?
    by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-06-23 13:02:27
  3. Irland tog bort avgifter för högre studier
    by Niclas Berggren in Nonicoclolasos on 2010-07-30 02:52:34
  4. Interesting
    by Tim Worstall in Tim Worstall on 2010-07-20 07:19:05
  5. A semana (20/08-02/09)
    by Roberto Ushisima in Empresas e Mercados on 2011-09-02 22:01:00
  6. A degree is not just for Christmasâ?¦
    by kevin denny in Kevin Denny: Economics more-or-less on 2012-03-11 20:05:52
  7. Social class and educational attainment of Irish children
    by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-08-25 01:58:00
  8. Its not the points, its the system, thats a problem in the points system
    by brianmlucey in Brian M. Lucey on 2012-05-31 10:18:22
  9. The effect of abolishing university fees in Ireland
    by kevin denny in Kevin Denny: Economics more-or-less on 2013-11-26 10:33:31
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Cullinan, John & Flannery, Darragh & Walsh, Sharon & McCoy, Selina, 2012. "Distance Effects, Social Class and the Decision to Participate in Higher Education in Ireland," Papers WP444, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  2. Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Cathy Redmond, 2010. "Parental Education, Grade Attainment & Earnings Expectations among University Students," Working Papers 201035, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.


This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Economic Logic blog


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201017. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nicolas Clifton).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.