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Distance Effects, Social Class and the Decision to Participate in Higher Education in Ireland

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  • JOHN CULLINAN

    (National University of Ireland, Galway)

  • DARRAGH FLANNERY

    (University of Limerick)

  • SHARON WALSH

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • SELINA MCCOY

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin)

Abstract

While a number of international studies have attempted to assess the influence of geographic accessibility on the decision to participate in higher education, this issue has not been addressed in detail in an Irish context. The aim of this paper is to fill this gap and to present a higher education choice model that estimates the impact of travel distance on the decision of school leavers to proceed to higher education in Ireland, while also controlling for a range of individual level characteristics and school related variables. To do so we use data from the 2007 wave of the School Leavers’ Survey and find that, on average, travel distance is not an important factor in the higher education participation decision, when factors such as student ability are accounted for. However, further analysis shows that travel distance has a significantly negative impact on participation for those from lower social classes and that this impact grows stronger as distance increases. We also find that the distance effects are most pronounced for lower ability students from these social backgrounds. This has important implications for higher education policy in Ireland, especially in relation to equity of access and the design of the maintenance grant system.

Suggested Citation

  • John Cullinan & Darragh Flannery & Sharon Walsh & Selina Mccoy, 2013. "Distance Effects, Social Class and the Decision to Participate in Higher Education in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(1), pages 19-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:44:y:2013:i:1:p:19-51
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    Cited by:

    1. Delaney, Judith M. & Devereux, Paul J., 2020. "Choosing differently? College application behavior and the persistence of educational advantage," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    2. John Cullinan & Kevin Denny & Darragh Flannery, 2021. "A distributional analysis of upper secondary school performance," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 1085-1113, February.
    3. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2020. "How Gender and Prior Disadvantage Predict Performance in College," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 51(2), pages 189-239.
    4. Małgorzata Kłobuszewska & Magdalena Rokicka, 2016. "Do local characteristics matter? Secondary school track choice in Poland," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 45.
    5. Helbig, Marcel & Jähnen, Stefanie & Marczuk, Anna, 2017. "Eine Frage des Wohnorts. Zur Bedeutung der räumlichen Nähe von Hochschulen für die Studienentscheidung in Deutschland," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 55-70.
    6. Costa Rosalina Pisco & Vieira Carlos & Vieira Isabel, 2017. "How far is too far? An analysis of students’ perceptions of the impact of distance between university and family home on academic performance," European Review of Applied Sociology, Sciendo, vol. 10(15), pages 28-40, December.
    7. Sørensen, Elise Stenholt & Høst, Anders Kamp, 2015. "Does distance determine who is in higher education?," MPRA Paper 74517, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Margaret Hodgins & Patricia Mannix-McNamara, 2021. "The Neoliberal University in Ireland: Institutional Bullying by Another Name?," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(2), pages 1-20, May.

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