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Does the Choice of University Matter? A Study of the Differences across UK Universites in Life Sciences Students' Degree Performance

  • Massimiliano Bratti

    (University of Warwick)

This paper investigates differences across UK universities in 1993 life sciences students' degree performance using individual-level data from the Universities' Statistical Record (USR). Differences across universities are analysed by specifying and estimating a subject- specific educational production function. Even after including a wide range of controls for the quality of students, significant differences emerge across universities in students' degree performance. We apply a two-stage estimation procedure and find evidence that a large part of 'university effects' cannot be explained by the kind of institutional inputs commonly used in the literature on school quality. Finally, we compare the unadjusted ranking of universities based on the proportion of 'good' (first and upper second class honours) degrees awarded with that based on the estimated probability of a 'good' degree obtained from the microeconometric model and find significant differences between the two indicators of universities' performance.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series HEW with number 0012003.

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Date of creation: 26 Feb 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0012003
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  1. Dolton, Peter J & Makepeace, G H, 1990. "The Earnings of Economics Graduates," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 237-50, March.
  2. Massimiliano Bratti, 2001. "Does the Choice of University Matter? A Study of the Differences across UK Universites in Life Sciences Students' Degree Performance," HEW 0012003, EconWPA.
  3. McNabb, Robert & Pal, Sarmistha & Sloane, Peter, 2002. "Gender Differences in Educational Attainment: The Case of University Students in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(275), pages 481-503, August.
  4. Collier, Paul & Mayer, Colin, 1986. "An Investigation of University Selection Procedures," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(380a), pages 163-70, Supplemen.
  5. Jeremy P. Smith & Robin A. Naylor, 2001. "Dropping out of university: A statistical analysis of the probability of withdrawal for UK university students," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 164(2), pages 389-405.
  6. Kathy Cannings & Sophie Mahseredjian & Claude Montmarquette, 1997. "How Do Young People Choose College Majors ?," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-38, CIRANO.
  7. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4bafb729911e486baf90b34c9, Mathematica Policy Research.
  8. Nevin, Edward, 1972. "How Not to Get a First," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(326), pages 658-73, June.
  9. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The effect of school quality on educational attainment and wages," IFS Working Papers W00/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
  11. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1999. "Do Higher Salaries Buy Better Teachers?," NBER Working Papers 7082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. McGuckin, Robert H & Winkler, Donald R, 1979. "University Resources in the Production of Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(2), pages 242-48, May.
  13. Donald Robertson & James Symons, 2003. "Do Peer Groups Matter? Peer Group versus Schooling Effects on Academic Attainment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 31-53, February.
  14. Mark C. Berger, 1988. "Predicted future earnings and choice of college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 418-429, April.
  15. Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail & Naylor, Robin, 2000. "Graduate Employability: Policy and Performance in Higher Education in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(464), pages F382-411, June.
  16. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1982. "From School to University: The Demand for Post-Compulsory Education in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 654-67, September.
  17. Monks, James, 2000. "The returns to individual and college characteristics: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 279-289, June.
  18. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
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