Teodora Boneva, Christopher Rauh

To understand the socio-economic enrollment gap in university attendance, we elicit students' beliefs about the benefits of university education in a sample of 2,540 secondary school students. Our choice model estimates reveal that perceived non-pecuniary benefits explain a large share of the variation in intentions to enroll. Expected job satisfaction, parental approval, and perceptions about social life during the 3-4 years after finishing secondary school are most important. Students with low socio-economic status perceive pecuniary and non-pecuniary returns to be lower. Beliefs explain 48% of the socio-economic gap in intentions to enroll, while perceived non-pecuniary returns alone account for 37%.

JEL Codes  
I24: Education and Inequality
I26: Returns to Education
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J62: Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
higher education
socio-economic inequality
intergenerational mobility