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Earnings Information and Public Preferences for University Tuition: Evidence from Representative Experiments

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  • Philipp Lergetporer
  • Ludger Woessmann

Abstract

Higher education finance depends on the public’s preferences for charging tuition, which may be partly based on beliefs about the university earnings premium. To test whether public support for tuition depends on earnings information, we devise survey experiments in representative samples of the German electorate (N>15,000). The electorate is divided, with a plurality opposing tuition. Providing information on the university earnings premium raises support for tuition by 7 percentage points, turning the plurality in favor. The opposition-reducing effect persists two weeks after treatment. Information on fiscal costs and unequal access does not affect public preferences. We subject the baseline result to various experimental tests of replicability, robustness, heterogeneity, and consequentiality.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Lergetporer & Ludger Woessmann, 2021. "Earnings Information and Public Preferences for University Tuition: Evidence from Representative Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 9102, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9102
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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Lergetporer & Ludger Woessmann, 2022. "Income Contingency and the Electorate’s Support for Tuition," Munich Papers in Political Economy 19, Munich School of Politics and Public Policy and the School of Management at the Technical University of Munich.
    2. Jan Bietenbeck & Jan Marcus & Felix Weinhardt, 2020. "Tuition Fees and Educational Attainment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1900, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Vera Freundl & Elisabeth Grewenig & Franziska Kugler & Philipp Lergetporer & Ruth Schüler & Katharina Wedel & Katharina Werner & Olivia Wirth & Ludger Wößmann & Franziska Pfaehler, 2022. "The ifo Education Survey 2014–2021: A New Dataset on Public Preferences for Education Policy in Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 378, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Lergetporer, P & Woessmann, L, 2022. "Income Contingency and the Electorates Support for Tuition," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 606, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tuition; higher education; information; earnings premium; public opinion; voting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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