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Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins

Author

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  • George Bulman
  • Robert Fairlie
  • Sarena Goodman
  • Adam Isen

Abstract

We examine US children whose parents won the lottery to trace out the effect of financial resources on college attendance. The analysis leverages federal tax and financial aid records and substantial variation in win size and timing. While per-dollar effects are modest, the relationship is weakly concave, with a high upper bound for amounts greatly exceeding college costs. Effects are smaller among low-SES households, not sensitive to how early in adolescence the shock occurs, and not moderated by financial aid crowd-out. The results imply that households derive consumption value from college, and household financial constraints alone do not inhibit attendance.

Suggested Citation

  • George Bulman & Robert Fairlie & Sarena Goodman & Adam Isen, 2021. "Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(4), pages 1201-1240, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:111:y:2021:i:4:p:1201-40
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20171272
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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