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How Risky Is College Investment?

Author

Listed:
  • Lutz Hendricks

    () (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

  • Oksana Leukhina

    () (University of Washington)

Abstract

This paper is motivated by the fact that nearly half of U.S. college students drop out without earning a bachelor’s degree. Its objective is to quantify how much uncertainty college entrants face about their graduation outcomes. To do so, we develop a quantitative model of college choice. The innovation is to model in detail how students progress towards a college degree. The model is calibrated using transcript and financial data. We find that more than half of college entrants can predict whether they will graduate with at least 80% probability. As a result, stylized policies that insure students against the financial risks associated with uncertain graduation have little value for the majority of college entrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutz Hendricks & Oksana Leukhina, 2015. "How Risky Is College Investment?," Working Papers 2015-014, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2015-014
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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Hendricks_Leukhina_2015_how-risky.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How Risky Is College Investment?
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2015-12-16 11:30:39

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    Cited by:

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    2. Kartik B. Athreya & Felicia Ionescu & Urvi Neelakantan & Ivan Vidangos, 2020. "Who Values Access to College?," Richmond Fed Economic Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 20-03, pages 1-5, March.
    3. Matsuda, Kazushige, 2020. "Optimal timing of college subsidies: Enrollment, graduation, and the skill premium," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    4. Maria Marta Ferreyra & Carlos Garriga & Juan D. Martin-Ocampo & Angélica María Sánchez Díaz, 2021. "Raising College Access and Completion: How Much Can Free College Help?," Borradores de Economia 1155, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    5. Gonzalo Castex, 2017. "College risk and return," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 91-112, October.
    6. Bernhard Eckwert & Itzhak Zilcha, 2020. "The role of colleges within the higher education sector," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 69(2), pages 315-336, March.
    7. Kevin Donovan & Christopher Herrington, 2019. "Factors Affecting College Attainment and Student Ability in the U.S. since 1900," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 31, pages 224-244, January.
    8. Manuel Macera & Hitoshi Tsujiyama, 2018. "Frictional Labor Markets, Education Choices and Wage Inequality," 2018 Meeting Papers 827, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; college dropout risk;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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