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Student Aid, Repayment Obligations and Enrolment in Higher Education in Germany – Evidence from a “Natural Experiment”


  • Hans J. Baumgartner
  • Viktor Steiner


We evaluate the effect of the German Federal Educational Assistance Act (BAfoeG) on enrolment rates in higher education by exploiting the exogenous variation introduced through a discrete shift in the repayment regulations. While up to 1990, students receiving assistance had to repay their loans in full, since the BAfoeG reform, 50 percent thereof has been offered as a non-repayable grant. Our results from simple difference-in-difference estimates suggest that student aid is ineffective in raising enrolment rates. Our findings may have important implications for the current debate on the reform of financing higher education in Germany and elsewhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans J. Baumgartner & Viktor Steiner, 2005. "Student Aid, Repayment Obligations and Enrolment in Higher Education in Germany – Evidence from a “Natural Experiment”," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(1), pages 29-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v125_y2005_i1_q1_p29-38

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bauer, Thomas & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1999. "Overtime Work and Overtime Compensation in Germany," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 46(4), pages 419-436, September.
    2. Bell, David N F & Hart, Robert A, 1999. "Unpaid Work," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 271-290, May.
    3. Bell, Linda A. & Freeman, Richard B., 2001. "The incentive for working hard: explaining hours worked differences in the US and Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 181-202, May.
    4. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 2003. "A sticky floors model of promotion, pay, and gender," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-322, April.
    5. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    6. Bell, David N.F. & Hart, Robert A. & Hübler, Olaf & Schwerdt, Wolfgang, 2000. "Paid and Unpaid Overtime Working in Germany and the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 133, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-348, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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