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The Economics of Online Postsecondary Education: MOOCs, Nonselective Education, and Highly Selective Education

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  • Caroline M. Hoxby

Abstract

I consider economically sustainable online postsecondary education, including massive open online courses (MOOCs). The analysis suggests that MOOCs will be financially sustainable substitutes for some non-selective postsecondary education, but there are substantial risks. The analysis suggests that MOOCs will be financially sustainable substitutes for only a small share of highly selective postsecondary education (HSPE) and are likely to collapse the economic model that allows HSPE institutions to invest in advanced education and research. I outline a non-MOOC model of online education that may allow HSPE institutions to sustain their distinctive activities and to reach a larger number of students.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline M. Hoxby, 2014. "The Economics of Online Postsecondary Education: MOOCs, Nonselective Education, and Highly Selective Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 528-533, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:5:p:528-33
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.5.528
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kim, E. Han & Morse, Adair & Zingales, Luigi, 2009. "Are elite universities losing their competitive edge?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 353-381, September.
    2. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2013. "Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University," NBER Chapters,in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, pages 15-41 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Clotfelter, C. T., 2003. "Alumni giving to elite private colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 109-120, April.
    4. Gene M. Grossman & Henrik Horn, 1988. "Infant-Industry Protection Reconsidered: The Case of Informational Barriers to Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 767-787.
    5. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2012. "Does generosity beget generosity? Alumni giving and undergraduate financial aid," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 890-907.
    6. Melitz, Marc J., 2005. "When and how should infant industries be protected?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 177-196, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Faber & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner & Felix Weinhardt, 2015. "ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses," SERC Discussion Papers 0186, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    2. Allen R. Sanderson & John J. Siegfried, 2015. "The Case for Paying College Athletes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 115-138, Winter.
    3. repec:kap:revind:v:52:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11151-017-9590-z is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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