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How Risky Is College Investment?

Listed author(s):
  • Lutz Hendricks

    ()

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

  • Oksana Leukhina

    ()

    (University of Washington)

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.

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File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Hendricks_Leukhina_2015_how-risky.pdf
File Function: First version, November 2015
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2015-014.

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Date of creation: Nov 2015
Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2015-014
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  1. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2009. "Addressing the Needs of Underprepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  2. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  3. Philip Babcock & Mindy Marks, 2011. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 468-478, May.
  4. Akyol, Ahmet & Athreya, Kartik, 2005. "Risky higher education and subsidies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 979-1023, June.
  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. Oksana Leukhina & Lutz A. Hendricks, 2011. "The Return to College: Selection Bias and Dropout Risk," 2011 Meeting Papers 311, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Hendricks, Lutz & Leukhina, Oksana, 2014. "The return to college: Selection and dropout risk," CFS Working Paper Series 487, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  8. Carlos Garriga & Mark P. Keightley, 2007. "A general equilibrium theory of college with education subsidies, in-school labor supply, and borrowing constraints," Working Papers 2007-051, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  9. Tin-Chun Lin & William Wei-Choun Yu & Yi-Chi Chen, 2012. "Determinants and probability prediction of college student retention: new evidence from the Probit model," International Journal of Education Economics and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(3), pages 217-236.
  10. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart H.H. & Heckman James & Humphries John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  11. Tyler Ransom & Esteban Aucejo & Arnaud Maurel & Peter Arcidiacono, 2014. "College Attrition and the Dynamics of Information Revelation," 2014 Meeting Papers 529, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Kevin M. Stange, 2012. "An Empirical Investigation of the Option Value of College Enrollment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 49-84, January.
  13. Nicholas Trachter, 2015. "Stepping stone and option value in a model of postsecondary education," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), pages 223-256, March.
  14. Satyajit Chatterjee & Felicia Ionescu, 2012. "Insuring student loans against the financial risk of failing to complete college," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 393-420, November.
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