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College Expansion and Curriculum Choice

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Kaganovich
  • Xuejuan Su

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of college enrollment expansion on student academic achievements and labor market outcomes in the context of competition among colleges. When public policies promote “access” to college education, colleges adjust their curricula: Less selective public colleges adopt a less demanding curriculum in order to accommodate the influx of less able students. As we argue in the paper, this adjustment benefits low-ability college students at the expense of those of medium ability. At the same time, this reduces the competitive pressure faced by elite colleges, as less selective colleges become a less appealing alternative for the medium ability students. The selective, elite colleges therefore adopt a more demanding curriculum to better serve their most able students, again at the expense of medium ability students. The model offers an explanation to two sets of empirical phenomena: (i) the observed U-shaped earnings growth profile among college-educated workers in the U.S. and (ii) the diverging selectivity trends of American colleges.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kaganovich & Xuejuan Su, 2015. "College Expansion and Curriculum Choice," CESifo Working Paper Series 5299, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5299
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Blankenau, William, 2005. "Public schooling, college subsidies and growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 487-507, March.
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    11. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2008. "Educational Vouchers And Cream Skimming," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1395-1435, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Volker Meier & Ioana Cosmina Schiopu, 2015. "Why Academic Quality in Higher Education Declines," CESifo Working Paper Series 5480, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Elise S. Brezis & Joel Hellier, 2013. "Social mobility at the top: Why are elites self-reproducing?," Working Papers 312, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Brezis, Elise S. & Hellier, Joël, 2018. "Social mobility at the top and the higher education system," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 36-54.
    4. Hellier, Joël, 2017. "Stratified higher education,social mobility at the top and efficiency: The case of the French ‘Grandes écoles’," MPRA Paper 76724, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Elisa S. Brezis & Joel Hellier, 2016. "Social Mobility and Higher-Education Policy," Working Papers 095, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    curriculum; postsecondary education; enrollment expansion; income distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • H44 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets

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