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Earnings Information and Public Preferences for University Tuition: Evidence from Representative Experiments

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  • Lergetporer, Philipp

    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    (University of Munich)

Abstract

Higher education finance depends on the public's preferences for charging tuition, which may be partly based on beliefs about the university earnings premium. To test whether public support for tuition depends on earnings information, we devise survey experiments in representative samples of the German electorate (N>15,000). The electorate is divided, with a plurality opposing tuition. Providing information on the university earnings premium raises support for tuition by 7 percentage points, turning the plurality in favor. The opposition-reducing effect persists two weeks after treatment. Information on fiscal costs and unequal access does not affect public preferences. We subject the baseline result to various experimental tests of replicability, robustness, heterogeneity, and consequentiality.

Suggested Citation

  • Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2021. "Earnings Information and Public Preferences for University Tuition: Evidence from Representative Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 14386, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14386
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    Cited by:

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    2. Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2022. "Income Contingency and the Electorate's Support for Tuition," IZA Discussion Papers 14991, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Lergetporer, P & Woessmann, L, 2022. "Income Contingency and the Electorates Support for Tuition," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 606, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    4. Bietenbeck, Jan & Marcus, Jan & Weinhardt, Felix, 2020. "Tuition Fees and Educational Attainment," IZA Discussion Papers 13709, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tuition; higher education; information; earnings premium; public opinion; voting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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