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Business cycles and investment in human capital: international evidence on higher education

  • Sakellaris, Plutarchos
  • Spilimbergo, Antonio

We study the effect of economic fluctuations on investment in higher education for a wide range of countries. Our main focus is foreign students who come to the United States to attend university. There is a strong relation between enrollment and the business cycle in the sending country. The cyclical pattern of enrollment is sharply different for two groups of countries. For OECD countries enrollment is countercyclical, whereas for non-OECD countries it is procyclical. At business cycle frequencies, opportunity cost plays a dominant role in explaining enrollment from OECD countries, whereas ability to pay and credit constraints seem more prevalent at non-OECD countries. The results are confirmed using data on domestic enrollment from national sources.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 52 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 221-256

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Handle: RePEc:eee:crcspp:v:52:y:2000:i:1:p:221-256
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jme

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  1. Peter C.B. Phillips, 1995. "Impulse Response and Forecast Error Variance Asymptotics in Nonstationary VAR's," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1102, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Flug, Karnit & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Wachtenheim, Erik, 1998. "Investment in education: do economic volatility and credit constraints matter?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 465-481, April.
  3. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
  4. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
  5. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1983. "Individual attributes and self-selection of higher education : College attendance versus college completion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-32, June.
  6. Harris Dellas & Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2003. "On the cyclicality of schooling: theory and evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 148-172, January.
  7. Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  8. Perli, Roberto & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1998. "Human capital formation and business cycle persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-92, June.
  9. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
  10. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
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