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Family Income and Higher Education Choices: The Importance of Accounting for College Quality

  • Josh Kinsler
  • Ronni Pavan

In the examination of the determinants of educational choices, little attention has been devoted to the relationship between family income and the quality of higher education. Using the 1979 and 1997 waves of the NLSY, we show that family income significantly affects the quality of higher education, especially for high-ability individuals.While the impact of family income on college quality is significant in both samples, it has declined considerably over time for high-ability students. Overall, the trends we observe are highly consistent with increases in tuition across the quality spectrum, coupled with more generous merit-based aid at high-quality institutions.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/663649
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/663649
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Human Capital.

Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 453 - 477

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/663649
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JHC/

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  1. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Effects of College Quality? Evidence From Matching," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20033, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  2. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," NBER Working Papers 13527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
  5. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
  6. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," NBER Working Papers 15446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  8. Terry Long, B.Bridget, 2004. "How have college decisions changed over time? An application of the conditional logistic choice model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 271-296.
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