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Why Are Youth from Lower-income Families Less Likely to Attend University? Evidence from Academic Abilities, Parental Influences, and Financial Constraints

  • Frenette, Marc

In this study, I use new Canadian data containing detailed information on academic abilities, parental influences, financial constraints, and other socio-economic background characteristics of youth to try to account for the large gap in university attendance across the income distribution. I find that 96% of the total gap in university attendance between youth from the top and bottom income quartiles can be accounted for by differences in observable characteristics. Differences in long-term factors such as standardized test scores in reading obtained at age 15, school marks reported at age 15, parental influences, and high-school quality account for 84% of the gap. In contrast, only 12% of the gap is related to financial constraints. Similar results hold across different income quartiles and when I use standardized test scores in mathematics and science. However, reading scores account for a larger proportion of the gap than other test scores.

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Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2007295e.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2007295e
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  11. Frenette, Marc, 2005. "The Impact of Tuition Fees on University Access: Evidence from a Large-scale Price Deregulation in Professional Programs," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005263e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  12. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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  14. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Green, David A. & Milligan, Kevin & Frenette, Marc, 2006. "Revisiting Recent Trends in Canadian After-Tax Income Inequality Using Census Data," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006274e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  16. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
  17. Kane, Thomas J, 1994. "College Entry by Blacks since 1970: The Role of College Costs, Family Background, and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 878-911, October.
  18. Marc Frenette, 2004. "Access to College and University: Does Distance to School Matter?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(4), pages 427-443, December.
  19. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Where the boys aren't: Non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," NBER Working Papers 8964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Do Universities Benefit Local Youth? Evidence from University and College Participation, and Graduate Earnings Following the Creation of a New University," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006283e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  21. Drolet, Marie, 2005. "Participation in Post-secondary Education in Canada: Has the Role of Parental Income and Education Changed over the 1990s?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005243e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  22. Neill, Christine, 2009. "Tuition fees and the demand for university places," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 561-570, October.
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