Intended college attendance: Evidence from an experiment on college returns and costs

Zachary Bleemer, Basit Zafar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We conduct an information experiment about college returns and costs embedded within a representative survey of US household heads. Baseline perceptions of college costs and benefits are substantially biased, with larger biases among lower-income and non-college households. Respondents are randomly exposed to objective information about average college "returns" or costs. We find a significant impact of the "returns" experiment, persisting in a follow-up survey two months later: intended college attendance expectations increase by about 0.2 of the standard deviation in the baseline likelihood, and gaps by household income or parents' education decline by 20-30%. We find no impact of the cost information treatment. Further analysis supports the information's salience, as opposed to information-based updating, as the main channel through which the returns intervention impacts intentions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Public Economics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017

Fingerprint

Experiment
Costs
Attendance
Household
Low income
Information costs
Costs and benefits
Education
Standard deviation
Household income

Keywords

  • College enrollment
  • College returns and costs
  • Information
  • Subjective expectations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

Intended college attendance : Evidence from an experiment on college returns and costs. / Bleemer, Zachary; Zafar, Basit.

In: Journal of Public Economics, 01.01.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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