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Household Characteristics of Higher Education Participants


  • Martin Ryan

    (Geary Institute, University College Dublin & Faculty of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2)

  • Siobhan McCarthy

    (Faculty of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2)

  • Carol Newman

    (Department of Economics, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2)


The aim of this paper is to analyse the characteristics of Irish households that have a member participating in higher education, using surveys of Irish households collected in 1994-95 and 1999-2000. The results do not show a significant effect of income; this is notable, especially alongside the strong result that longer-term factors such as household wealth and cultural capital have a significant effect. This lends support to the argument proposed by Heckman (2000) that family income is only important over the entire educational investment cycle of a child. However, the importance of grant eligibility is a notable result, which suggests that short-term financial constraints cannot be dismissed. A combination of suitably beneficial short-term and long-term factors may be important for encouraging participation in higher education.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Ryan & Siobhan McCarthy & Carol Newman, 2007. "Household Characteristics of Higher Education Participants," Working Papers 200702, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200702

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    higher education; human capital; credit constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate


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