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Family Income and Participation in Post-Secondary Education


  • Corak, Miles

    () (CUNY Graduate Center)

  • Lipps, Garth

    () (Statistics Canada)

  • Zhao, John

    () (Statistics Canada)


The relationship between family income and post-secondary participation is studied in order to determine the extent to which higher education in Canada has increasingly become the domain of students from well-to-do families. An analysis of two separate data sets suggests that individuals from higher income families are much more likely to attend university, but this has been a long-standing tendency and the participation gap between students from the highest and lowest income families has in fact narrowed. The relationship between family income and post-secondary participation did become stronger during the early to mid 1990s, but weakened thereafter. This pattern reflects the fact that policy changes increasing the maximum amount of a student loan as well as increases in other forms of support occurred only after tuition fees had already started increasing.

Suggested Citation

  • Corak, Miles & Lipps, Garth & Zhao, John, 2004. "Family Income and Participation in Post-Secondary Education," IZA Discussion Papers 977, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp977

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Split-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Return to Schooling," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 225-235, April.
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    3. Moffitt, Robert A., 1999. "New developments in econometric methods for labor market analysis," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 24, pages 1367-1397 Elsevier.
    4. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Split Sample Instrumental Variables," Working Papers 699, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
    6. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-1018, December.
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    More about this item


    intergenerational mobility; educational finance; university;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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