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An econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression in post-reform Italian Universities

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  • G. Boero

    ()

  • T. Laureti
  • R. Naylor

    ()

Abstract

As in much of Europe, and in the particular context of the Bologna Convention on tertiary education, the Italian university system has experienced substantial reform in recent years, the major aims of which include increasing the participation, progression and retention rates of students in higher education. Reform has reduced the length of undergraduate degree programmes to three years with the intention that students should be able to graduate at an earlier age than in the past, in line with graduates from other European countries. This paper offers a first econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression three years after the introduction of major reform. We use administrative data on students of two Italian universities in a probit model of the probability that the student drops out, and an OLS model of student progression. Our analyses suggest that, notwithstanding the reforms, the drop-out (withdrawal) rate is still very high and only a small proportion of students are likely to complete their studies within the institutional time. In particular, we find that differences in students' prior educational background and performance have remarkably large effects on their withdrawal and progression probabilities. We infer from our results that poor retention and completion rates of Italian university students are unlikely to improve without further significant institutional change.

Suggested Citation

  • G. Boero & T. Laureti & R. Naylor, 2005. "An econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression in post-reform Italian Universities," Working Paper CRENoS 200504, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  • Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:200504
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. L. Biggeri & M. Bini & L. Grilli, 2001. "The transition from university to work: a multilevel approach to the analysis of the time to obtain the first job," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 164(2), pages 293-305.
    2. Manski, C.F., 1992. "Identification Problems in the Social Sciences," Working papers 9217, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    3. G. Boero & A. Mcknight & R. Naylor & J. Smith, 2001. "Graduates and graduate labour markets in the UK and Italy," Working Paper CRENoS 200111, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    4. Arulampalam, Wiji & Naylor, Robin A. & Smith, Jeremy P., 2005. "Effects of in-class variation and student rank on the probability of withdrawal: cross-section and time-series analysis for UK university students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 251-262, June.
    5. McNabb, Robert & Pal, Sarmistha & Sloane, Peter, 2002. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: The Case of University Students in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(275), pages 481-503, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carmen Aina & Eliana Baici & Giorgia Casalone, 2011. "Time to degree: students' abilities, university characteristics or something else? Evidence from Italy," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 311-325.
    2. Carmen Aina & Eliana Baici & Giorgia Casalone, 2010. "Time-to-Degree: Students' Abilities, University Characteristics or What Else? Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 130, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    3. Di Pietro, Giorgio & Cutillo, Andrea, 2008. "Degree flexibility and university drop-out: The Italian experience," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 546-555, October.
    4. CARRIERI, Vincenzo & D'AMATO, Marcello & ZOTTI, Roberto, 2013. "Selective Admission Tests and Students' Performances. Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a Large Italian University," CELPE Working Papers 0/00, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    5. Gitto, Lara & Minervini, Leo Fulvio & Monaco, Luisa, 2016. "University dropouts in Italy: Are supply side characteristics part of the problem?," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 108-116.
    6. Hahm, Sabrina & Kluve, Jochen, 2016. "Effects of the Bologna Reform on Educational Outcomes: Micro Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 10201, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Lucifora, Claudio, 2009. "The "Bologna Process" and college enrollment decisions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 638-647, December.
    8. Hahm, Sabrina & Kluve, Jochen, 2016. "Effects of the Bologna Reform on educational outcomes: Micro evidence from Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 639, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    9. Giorgia Casalone & Carmen Aina & Eliana Baici, 2010. "Time-to-degree: Students' abilities, university characteristics or what else?," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5,in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 3, pages 67-86 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    10. Carolina Castagnetti & Luisa Rosti, 2010. "The Gender Gap in Academic Achievements of Italian Graduates," Quaderni di Dipartimento 118, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.
    11. Bernhard Enzi & Benedikt Siegler, 2016. "The Impact of the Bologna Reform on Student Outcomes – Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Regional Supply of Bachelor Programs in Germany," Working Papers 165, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    12. Carolina Castagnetti & Silvia Dal Bianco & Luisa Rosti, 2011. "Shortening university career fades the signal away. Evidence from Italy," Quaderni di Dipartimento 146, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.
    13. Castagnetti, Carolina & Rosti, Luisa, 2009. "Effort allocation in tournaments: The effect of gender on academic performance in Italian universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 357-369, June.
    14. Carmen Aina, 2011. "The Determinants of Success and Failure of Italian University Students. Evidence from administrative data," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 119(2), pages 85-108.
    15. Roberto Zotti, 2015. "Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Dropping Out From University: An Empirical Analysis Of Students’ Performances," Working Papers 70, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
    16. Bernhard Enzi & Benedikt Siegler, 2016. "The Impact of the Bologna Reform on Student Outcomes Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Regional Supply of Bachelor Programs in Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 225, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    17. G. Marletto, 2006. "La politica dei trasporti come politica per l'innovazione: spunti da un approccio evolutivo," Working Paper CRENoS 200605, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    18. Massimiliano BRATTI & Chiara BROCCOLINI & Stefano STAFFOLANI, 2006. "Is '3+2' Equal to 4? University Reform and Student Academic Performance in Italy," Working Papers 251, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    19. Fabio Berton & Daniele Bondonio, 2014. "The Impact of Degree Duration on Higher Education Participation: Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Experiment," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 137, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    20. Gitto, Lara & Minervini, Leo Fulvio & Monaco, Luisa, 2012. "University dropouts: supply-side issues in Italy," MPRA Paper 56656, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Nov 2013.
    21. OA Carboni & G. Medda, 2007. "Government Size and the Composition of Public Spending in a Neoclassical Growth Model," Working Paper CRENoS 200701, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    22. Siegler, Benedikt & Enzi, Bernhard, 2016. "The Impact of the Bologna Reform on Student Outcomes," Discussion Papers in Economics 29635, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    23. Carmen Aina, 2010. "University Drop-out in Italy," Working Papers 134, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.

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    Keywords

    dropping out; student progression; probit models; university reform;

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