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Information policies and higher education choices experimental evidence from Colombia

Author

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  • Bonilla-Mejía, Leonardo
  • Bottan, Nicolas L.
  • Ham, Andrés

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of a large-scale information policy that nudges high school students towards college information websites in Colombia. We collect panel data on 6000 students in 115 public schools and match them to administrative records. Students in 58 randomly-chosen schools received a 35-minute presentation on the earning premiums of college, funding opportunities to cover costs, and the importance of test scores for admissions and financial aid. Our findings indicate that students learn about financial aid but do not update their inflated beliefs about college earnings, are not motivated to improve academic performance, nor substantially modify their enrollment choices. These results are precisely estimated, robust, and consistent with the related literature. We conduct an in-depth analysis of the reasons driving the limited effects of information provision on higher education choices, identifying factors that may increase the effectiveness of these policies to motivate the demand for college.

Suggested Citation

  • Bonilla-Mejía, Leonardo & Bottan, Nicolas L. & Ham, Andrés, 2019. "Information policies and higher education choices experimental evidence from Colombia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:83:y:2019:i:c:s2214804318304245
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2019.101468
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    3. Estelle Herbaut & Koen Geven, 2019. "What Works to Reduce Inequalities in Higher Education? A Systematic Review of the (Quasi-)Experimental Literature on Outreach and Financial Aid," Working Papers hal-03456943, HAL.
    4. Sandra García & Arturo Harker & Jorge Cuartas, 2016. "Building Dreams: the Impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Educational Aspirations in Colombia," Documentos de trabajo 017665, Escuela de Gobierno - Universidad de los Andes.
    5. Deetlefs, A.M. Jeanette & Chalmers, Jenny & Tindall, Karen & Wiryakusuma-McLeod, Cindy & Bennett, Sue & Hay, Iain & Humphries, Jacqueline & Eady, Michelle J. & Cronin, Lynette & Rudd, Karl, 2021. "Applying behavioral insights to increase rural and remote internships: Results from two Randomized Controlled Trials," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    6. Alexandra de Gendre & Nicolás Salamanca, 2020. "On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2020n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    7. Favara, Marta & Glewwe, Paul & Porter, Catherine & Sanchez, Alan, 2021. "Expecting Better? How Young People Form Their Earnings Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 14289, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Estelle Herbaut & Koen Geven, 2019. "What Works to Reduce Inequalities in Higher Education? A Systematic Review of the (Quasi-)Experimental Literature on Outreach and Financial Aid," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/527ht1a96e8, Sciences Po.
    9. Pietrzyk, Irena & Erdmann, Melinda, 2020. "Investigating the impact of interventions on educational disparities: Estimating average treatment effects (ATEs) is not sufficient," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nudges; Information policies; Knowledge; Expectations; Higher education choices;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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