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Access, Choice and Participation in Higher Education

  • Steve Gibbons
  • Anna Vignoles

Geographical distance between parental home and college poses a potential barrier to higher education entry, and could be a deciding factor when choosing between institutions. Some students may be constrained in their education choices because they cannot afford to leave home, or have personal or cultural reasons to remain close to their family. This paper provides quantitative evidence on these issues using administrative data on a cohort of university entrants in England, which includes both individual and school level information. Our findings are that geographical distance has little or no impact on the decision to participate, but has a strong influence on institutional choice. Institution attendance probabilities fall with distance from home, with an elasticity of -1. Small, but behaviourally important differences between demographic groups have implications for the sorting of students across institutions. There are also implications for the spatial distribution of human capital, because the quality of students' education is linked to the quality of institutions that are close to home.

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp101.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0101.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0101
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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  1. Spiess, C. Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2010. "Does distance determine who attends a university in Germany?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 470-479, June.
  2. Jo Blanden & Alissa Goodman & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2002. "Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0517, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Marc Frenette, 2004. "Access to College and University: Does Distance to School Matter?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(4), pages 427-443, December.
  4. Gobillon, Laurent & Selod, Harris & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "The mechanisms of spatial mismatch," CEPR Discussion Papers 5346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Geraint Johnes & Robert McNabb, 2004. "Never Give up on the Good Times: Student Attrition in the UK," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(1), pages 23-47, 02.
  6. Alessandra Faggian & Philip McCann & Stephen Sheppard, 2006. "An analysis of ethnic differences in UK graduate migration behaviour," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 461-471, June.
  7. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Miren Lafourcade, 2005. "Transport costs: measures, determinants, and regional policy implications for France," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 319-349, June.
  8. Frenette, Marc, 2002. "Too Far to Go on? Distance to School and University Participation," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2002191e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  9. Iftikhar Hussain & Sandra McNally & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2009. "University Quality and Graduate Wages in the UK," CEE Discussion Papers 0099, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  10. Anh Ngoc Nguyen & Jim Taylor, 2003. "Post-high school choices: New evidence from a multinomial logit model," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, 05.
  11. N Powdthavee & A Vignoles, 2008. "The Socio-Economic Gap in University Drop Out," Discussion Papers 08/23, Department of Economics, University of York.
  12. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
  13. Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Access to College and University: Does Distance Matter?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003201e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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