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The Relationship Between Family Income and Schooling Attainment: Evidence from a Liberal Arts College with a Full Tuition Subsidy Program

Researchers have long been interested in understanding why a Strong relationship between family income and educational attainment exists at virtually all levels of schooling. In part due to a recent increase in the disparity between the wages of college graduates and the wages of individuals with less than a college degree, there has been a specific interest in understanding why individuals from low income families are less likely to graduate from college than other students. Using unique new data obtained directly from a liberal arts school that maintains a full tuition subsidy program, this paper provides direct evidence that family environment reasons that are unrelated to the tuition costs of college are very important. The paper pays close attention to the issue of selection bias by deriving a set of seemingly very plausible conditions under which the estimator of interest is "conservative". The findings, which suggest that non-trivial differences in educational attainment would exist even if tuition was zero for all students, have implications for expensive policy programs such as the full tuition subsidy program that was recently approved by the state of California.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 20008.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:20008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 1995. "Socioeconomic background, schooling, experience, ability and monetary rewards in Greece," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 85-91, March.
  2. Todd R. Stinebrickner, 1999. "Estimation Of A Duration Model In The Presence Of Missing Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 529-542, August.
  3. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Adolescent Econometricians : How Do Youth Infer the Returns to Schooling," Working papers 9110, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human Capital Formation," NBER Working Papers 6462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  6. Belman, Dale & Heywood, John S, 1997. "Sheepskin Effects by Cohort: Implications of Job Matching in a Signaling Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 623-37, October.
  7. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  8. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "General Equilibrium Treatment Effects: A Study of Tuition Policy," NBER Working Papers 6426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. B. F. Kiker & C. M. Condon, 1981. "The Influence of Socioeconomic Background on the Earnings of Young Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(1), pages 94-105.
  10. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
  11. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Steven Stern & Victor Lavy & Michael Palumbo, 1998. "Simulation of Multinomial Probit Probabilities and Imputation of Missing Data," Virginia Economics Online Papers 388, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  13. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
  14. Heywood, John S., 1994. "How widespread are sheepskin returns to education in the U.S.?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 227-234, September.
  15. Jin Huem Park, 1994. "Estimation of Sheepskin Effects and Returns to Schooling Using he Old and the New CPS Measures of Educational Attainment," Working Papers 717, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  16. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  17. Edward P. Lazear, 1975. "Education: Consumption or Production," NBER Working Papers 0104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Belman, Dale & Heywood, John S, 1991. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education: An Examination on Women and Minorities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 720-24, November.
  19. Robert H. Haveman & Barbara L. Wolfe, 1984. "Schooling and Economic Well-Being: The Role of Nonmarket Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 377-407.
  20. Taubman, Paul, 1989. "Role of Parental Income in Educational Attainment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 57-61, May.
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