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Accounting for Changes in College Attendance Profile: a Quantitative Life-Cycle Analysis

  • Gonzalo Castex
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    This paper analyzes changes in the distribution of college enrollment rates that occurred between 1980 and 2000. It aims not only to explain the 69% increase in the overall college enrollment, but also changes in the profile of college students in terms of their ability and financial status. College attendance increased by 27% less than average among individuals in the lowest quartile of the joint family income and ability distribution. However, it increased by 12% more than average for individuals in the highest quartile of the distribution. The increase in college enrollment was far from uniform and, to explain these changes, I construct a life-cycle heterogeneous agents model of labor supply and human capital formation. The model is calibrated to match schooling patterns and labor market outcomes for the 1979 and 1997 NLSY cohorts. I explicitly model and quantitatively estimate the effect of four potential driving forces to explain the observed changes: The increase in the college wage gap, the change in the allocation of grants and scholarships, the increase in educational costs, and the changes in the ability and family income distribution. Finally, I explore alternative educational policies and their effect on different population groups.

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    Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 598.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:598
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    1. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Working Papers 2011-037, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    2. Akyol, Ahmet & Athreya, Kartik, 2005. "Risky higher education and subsidies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 979-1023, June.
    3. Felicia Ionescu, 2009. "The Federal Student Loan Program: Quantitative Implications for College Enrollment and Default Rates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 205-231, January.
    4. Mark P. Keightley & Carlos Garriga, 2009. "A General Equilibrium Theory of College with Education Subsidies, In-School Labor Supply, and Borrowing Constraints," 2009 Meeting Papers 1180, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Stacey H. Chen, 2002. "Is Investing College Education Risky?," Labor and Demography 0202001, EconWPA.
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    7. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2013. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Working Paper Series 15_13, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
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    10. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "The Evolution Of Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 915-936, 08.
    11. Joseph G. Altonji & Prashant Bharadwaj & Fabian Lange, 2008. "Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Michael P. Keane, 2002. "Financial Aid, Borrowing Constraints, and College Attendance: Evidence from Structural Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 293-297, May.
    13. Remzi Kaygusuz, 2010. "Taxes and Female Labor Supply," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 725-741, October.
    14. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    15. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2008. "Taxation, aggregates and the household," Working Papers 660, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    16. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
    17. Joshua Aizenman, 1986. "Labor Markets and the Choice of Technology in an Open Developing Economy," NBER Working Papers 1998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Giovanni L. Violante & Costas Meghir & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2008. "Equilibrium Effects of Education Policies: a Quantitative Evaluation," 2008 Meeting Papers 868, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005," NBER Working Papers 12984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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