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The Determinants of University Dropouts : A Sequential Decision Model with Selectivity Bias


  • Rachel Houle
  • Sophie Mahseredjian
  • Claude Montmarquette


In this paper, we study the determinants of university dropouts with a longitudinal data set on students' enrollments at the University of Montreal. With a bivariate probit model with selectivity bias, the variables explaining persistence and dropouts are related to the information gathered on the student about his or her interests and abilities. The average number of students in first-year compulsory courses is also a determining factor. These results support a simple version of Manski's model of schooling as an experimentation process and the models of sequential decisions of Altonji, Oosterbeek and Hartog et al. Also supported is the idea of person-environment fit, pioneered by Tinto. Cette étude examine les déterminants des abandons scolaires à l'aide de données longitudinales de l'Université de Montréal. Un modèle probit bivarié avec biais de sélection montre que les variables expliquant la persévérance et l'abandon sont reliées à l'information acquise par l'étudiant concernant ses intérêts et ses habiletés. Le nombre moyen d'étudiants dans les cours obligatoires en première année est également un facteur déterminant. Les résultats obtenus supportent une version simple du modèle d'expérimentation scolaire de Manski et des modèles de décisions séquentielles d'Altonji, d'Oosterbeek et d'Hartog et al., sans pour autant rejeter l'approche de l'adéquation entre l'environnement et la personne proposée par Tinto.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Houle & Sophie Mahseredjian & Claude Montmarquette, 1996. "The Determinants of University Dropouts : A Sequential Decision Model with Selectivity Bias," CIRANO Working Papers 96s-04, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:96s-04

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1982. "Test scores, educational opportunities, and individual choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 35-63, June.
    2. Grubb, W. Norton, 1989. "Dropouts, spells of time, and credits in postsecondary education: Evidence from longitudinal surveys," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 49-67, February.
    3. James, Estelle, 1988. "Student aid and college attendance: Where are we now and where do we go from here?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-13, February.
    4. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
    5. Hartog, Joop & Pfann, Gerard & Ridder, Geert, 1989. "(Non-)graduation and the earnings function : An inquiry on self-selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1373-1395, September.
    6. Manski, Charles F., 1989. "Schooling as experimentation: a reappraisal of the postsecondary dropout phenomenon," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 305-312, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. MacDonald, John M., 2001. "Analytic methods for examining race and ethnic disparity in the juvenile courts," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 507-519.
    2. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2004. "The determinants of university dropout in Italy: a bivariate probability model with sample selection," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 187-191.


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