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The choice to enrol in a small university: A case study of Piemonte Orientale


  • Caliman, Tiziana


  • Cassone, Alberto



In the recent past, expectations concerning universities have emphasised their active role in enhancing economic and regional development. The universities in geographical areas suffering from structural problems are particularly required to play this role. Moreover, the correlation between the socioeconomic status (and the education) of parents and that of their adult offspring is positive and significant, in both the statistical and practical senses. This paper investigates the experience of a small Italian University (Piemonte Orientale 'Amedeo Avogadro'), in order to evaluate its role in human capital accumulation, necessary to economic development. The aim of this article is to verify whether this small university satisfies a specific demand which would never be satisfied by a larger university. We found important role of small Universities in the human capital accumulation in the recruitment basin, a phenomenon with medium and long term implications. The empirical results show that the representative graduate student of Piemonte Orientale is characterized by modest parental socioeconomic conditions and education. Its demographic recruitment basin is a specific and well defined geographical area. These factors have a positive impact on the choice of enrolment (Piemonte Orientale versus other Universities). The choice is modelled by a probit (logit) binary outcomes model using the Almalaurea cross-section sample on graduates in year 2008. We also update the dataset and re-estimate the models in order to verify the robustness of empirical results and to identify changes in the representative student, using the Almalaurea cross-section sample on graduates for year 2010. The crucial role of the modest socioeconomic background and the low mobility of the students are confirmed. The 2010 analysis does not confirm a result for year 2008, i.e. that a poor performance in secondary school increases the probability to choose Piemonte Orientale vs larger and well established universities: the result underlines a positive evolution of this small university recruitment performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Caliman, Tiziana & Cassone, Alberto, 2013. "The choice to enrol in a small university: A case study of Piemonte Orientale," POLIS Working Papers 173, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:173

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    Performance; Human Capital Accumulation; Small Universities;

    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
    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General

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