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Does Distance Determine Who Attends a University in Germany?

  • C. Katharina Spieß
  • Katharina Wrohlich

We analyze the role of distance from a university in the decision to attend higher education in Germany. Students who live near a university can avoid moving and the increased living expenses by commuting. Thus, transaction cost arguments would suggest that the greater the distance to the nearest university, the lower the participation in higher education. We analyse this hypothesis by combining data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) with a database from the German Rectors' Conference on university postal codes. Based on a discrete time hazard rate model we show that distance to the next university at the time of completing high school significantly affects the decision to enrol in tertiary education. Controlling for many other socio-economic and regional variables, we find that 1 kilometre distance decreases the probability to enrol in higher education by 0.2 - 0.3 percentage points

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 118.

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Length: 30 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp118
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  1. Michaela Sixt, 2007. "Die strukturelle und individuelle Dimension bei der Erklärung von regionaler Bildungsungleichheit," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 66, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2012. "Financial Student Aid and Enrollment in Higher Education: New Evidence from Germany," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 124-147, 03.
  3. Shea, John, 2000. "Does parents' money matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 155-184, August.
  4. Do, Chau, 2004. "The effects of local colleges on the quality of college attended," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 249-257, June.
  5. Stefan Denzler & Stefan C. Wolter, 2008. "Unsere zukünftigen Lehrerinnen und Lehrer – Institutionelle Faktoren bei der Wahl eines Studiums an einer Pädagogischen Hochschule," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0012, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  6. Ira N. Gang & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2000. "Is Child like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 550-569.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2000. "Changes in the Wage Structure, Family Income, and Children's Education," NBER Working Papers 7986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Frenette, Marc, 2002. "Too Far to Go on? Distance to School and University Participation," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2002191e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  9. Gundi Knies & C. Katharina Spieß, 2007. "Regional Data in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)," Data Documentation 17, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Frenette, Marc, 2009. "Do universities benefit local youth? Evidence from the creation of new universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 318-328, June.
  11. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  12. Lauer, Charlotte, 2003. "Family background, cohort and education: A French-German comparison based on a multivariate ordered probit model of educational attainment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 231-251, April.
  13. D. Vuri, 2008. "The effect of availability and distance to school on children's time allocation in Ghana and Guatemala," UCW Working Paper 40, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
  14. Marc Frenette, 2004. "Access to College and University: Does Distance to School Matter?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(4), pages 427-443, December.
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