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Efficient Tuition Fees and Examinations

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  • Robert J. Gary-Bobo
  • Alain Trannoy

Abstract

We assume that students observe only a private, noisy signal of their ability and that universities can condition admission decisions on the results of noisy tests. If the university observes a private signal of each student's ability, which is soft information, then asymmetries of information are two-sided, and the optimal admission policy involves a mix of pricing and pre-entry selection, based on the university's private information. In contrast, if all test results are public knowledge, then there is no sorting on the basis of test scores: Tuition alone does the job of implementing an optimal degree of student self-selection. These results do not depend on the existence of peer effects. The optimal tuition follows a classic marginal social-cost pricing rule. (JEL: D82, H42, I22, J24) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Gary-Bobo & Alain Trannoy, 2008. "Efficient Tuition Fees and Examinations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1211-1243, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:6:p:1211-1243
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • 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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