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Estimating the Effect of Student Aid on College Enrollment: Evidence from a Government Grant Policy Reform

In: Income Taxation, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES)

Listed author(s):
  • Helena Skyt Nielsen
  • Torben Sørensen
  • Christopher Taber

In this paper, we estimate the response of college enrollment to changes in student aid arising from a Danish reform. We separately identify the effect of aid from that of other observed and unobserved variables such as parental income. We exploit the combination of a kinked aid scheme and a reform to identify the effect of direct costs on enrollment. To allow for potential biases due to borrowing constraints, we use detailed information on parents' assets. We find that enrollment is less responsive than found in other studies and that borrowing constraints only deter college enrollment to a minor extent. (JEL H52, I22, I23)

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This chapter was published in:
  • Roger Gordon & Thomas Piketty, 2010. "Income Taxation, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord08-1.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12122.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12122
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    1. McPherson, Michael S & Schapiro, Morton Owen, 1991. "Does Student Aid Affect College Enrollment? New Evidence on a Persistent Controversy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 309-318, March.
    2. Meta Brown & John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2009. "A New Test of Borrowing Constraints for Education," NBER Working Papers 14879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1995. "Estimating labour supply responses using tax reforms," IFS Working Papers W95/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Neil S. Seftor & NSarah E. Turner, 2002. "Back to School: Federal Student Aid Policy and Adult College Enrollment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 336-352.
    5. Shea, John, 2000. "Does parents' money matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 155-184, August.
    6. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1986. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 1-39, July.
    7. Jacob Arendt, 2013. "The effect of public financial aid on dropout from and completion of university education: evidence from a student grant reform," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1545-1562, June.
    8. Jesse Rothstein & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2007. "Constrained After College: Student Loans and Early Career Occupational Choices," Working Papers 18, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
    9. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
    10. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "General Equilibrium Treatment Effects: A Study of Tuition Policy," NBER Working Papers 6426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Thomas J. Kane, 1995. "Rising Public College Tuition and College Entry: How Well Do Public Subsidies Promote Access to College?," NBER Working Papers 5164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2008. "The Effect of Credit Constraints on the College Drop-Out Decision: A Direct Approach Using a New Panel Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2163-2184, December.
    15. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
    16. 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.
    17. Susan M. Dynarski, 1999. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," NBER Working Papers 7422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," NBER Working Papers 9055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    20. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Daniel W. & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 3134, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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