IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18745.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

College as Country Club: Do Colleges Cater to Students' Preferences for Consumption?

Author

Listed:
  • Brian Jacob
  • Brian McCall
  • Kevin M. Stange

Abstract

This paper investigates whether demand-side market pressure explains colleges' decisions to provide consumption amenities to their students. We estimate a discrete choice model of college demand using micro data from the high school classes of 1992 and 2004, matched to extensive information on all four-year colleges in the U.S. We find that most students do appear to value college consumption amenities, including spending on student activities, sports, and dormitories. While this taste for amenities is broad-based, the taste for academic quality is confined to high-achieving students. The heterogeneity in student preferences implies that colleges face very different incentives depending on their current student body and the students who the institution hopes to attract. We estimate that the elasticities implied by our demand model can account for 16 percent of the total variation across colleges in the ratio of amenity to academic spending, and including them on top of key observable characteristics (sector, state, size, selectivity) increases the explained variation by twenty percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Jacob & Brian McCall & Kevin M. Stange, 2013. "College as Country Club: Do Colleges Cater to Students' Preferences for Consumption?," NBER Working Papers 18745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18745
    Note: CH ED LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18745.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 588-638, August.
    2. Terry Long, B.Bridget, 2004. "How have college decisions changed over time? An application of the conditional logistic choice model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 271-296.
    3. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-157, July.
    4. Rothschild, Michael & White, Lawrence J, 1995. "The Analytics of the Pricing of Higher Education and Other Services in Which the Customers Are Inputs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 573-586, June.
    5. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, September.
    6. Christopher T. Conlon & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2013. "Demand Estimation under Incomplete Product Availability," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 1-30, November.
    7. Annette Alstadsæter, 2011. "Measuring the Consumption Value of Higher Education," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(3), pages 458-479, September.
    8. Lazear, Edward P, 1977. "Education: Consumption or Production?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 569-597, June.
    9. Guimaraes, Paulo & Portugal, Pedro, 2009. "A Simple Feasible Alternative Procedure to Estimate Models with High-Dimensional Fixed Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 3935, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. 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.
    11. Caroline M. Hoxby, 1997. "How the Changing Market Structure of U.S. Higher Education Explains College Tuition," NBER Working Papers 6323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. David A. Kodde & Jozef M. M. Ritzen, 1984. "Integrating Consumption and Investment Motives in a Neoclassical Model of Demand for Education," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 598-608, November.
    13. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
    14. J L Horowitz, 1991. "Modeling the choice of choice set in discrete-choice random-utility models," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(9), pages 1237-1246, September.
    15. Griffith, Amanda & Rask, Kevin, 2007. "The influence of the US News and World Report collegiate rankings on the matriculation decision of high-ability students: 1995-2004," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 244-255, April.
    16. Michael, Robert T, 1973. "Education in Nonmarket Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 306-327, Part I, M.
    17. Hessel Oosterbeek & Hans van Ophem, 2000. "Schooling choices: Preferences, discount rates, and rates of return," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 15-34.
    18. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
    19. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2007. "What Do Parents Value in Education? An Empirical Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1603-1637.
    20. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
    21. Devin G. Pope & Jaren C. Pope, 2009. "The Impact of College Sports Success on the Quantity and Quality of Student Applications," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 750-780, January.
    22. Dana Goldman & John A. Romley, 2008. "Hospitals As Hotels: The Role of Patient Amenities in Hospital Demand," NBER Working Papers 14619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. McDuff, DeForest, 2007. "Quality, tuition, and applications to in-state public colleges," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 433-449, August.
    24. James Monks & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "The Impact of US News and World Report College Rankings on Admission Outcomes and Pricing Decisions at Selective Private Institutions," NBER Working Papers 7227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. J L Horowitz, 1991. "Modeling the Choice of Choice Set in Discrete-Choice Random-Utility Models," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 23(9), pages 1237-1246, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18745. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.