I take advantage of a discontinuity in the probability of admission to a highly selective private university to estimate causal returns to investing in elite university education. I use a newly assembled data set that combines individual administrative records about high school attendance, university admission, university attendance, and tax returns. I find a discontinuity in income of 38 log points at the admission cutoff. The fuzzy regression discontinuity estimate for the elite enrollment effect is 58 log points. This should be interpreted as the average treatment effect for students applying to the elite university who are close to the cutoff and chose to enroll. When I take into account the evidence that students enrolling in the elite university tend to make different field choices, the net institutional enrollment premium is 41 log points. Cumulated over 15 years, the net-of-tuition elite premium is €246,991. I explore potential channels explaining the sizeable enrollment effects and I find that students just above the admission cutoff are 15 percentage points more likely to complete a university degree, they are 26 percentage points more likely to graduate on time and attend university with substantially higher quality peers.

The returns to elite university education: a quasi-experimental analysis

Anelli Massimo
2020-01-01

Abstract

I take advantage of a discontinuity in the probability of admission to a highly selective private university to estimate causal returns to investing in elite university education. I use a newly assembled data set that combines individual administrative records about high school attendance, university admission, university attendance, and tax returns. I find a discontinuity in income of 38 log points at the admission cutoff. The fuzzy regression discontinuity estimate for the elite enrollment effect is 58 log points. This should be interpreted as the average treatment effect for students applying to the elite university who are close to the cutoff and chose to enroll. When I take into account the evidence that students enrolling in the elite university tend to make different field choices, the net institutional enrollment premium is 41 log points. Cumulated over 15 years, the net-of-tuition elite premium is €246,991. I explore potential channels explaining the sizeable enrollment effects and I find that students just above the admission cutoff are 15 percentage points more likely to complete a university degree, they are 26 percentage points more likely to graduate on time and attend university with substantially higher quality peers.
2020
Anelli, Massimo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4038326
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