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Boneva, T., Golin, M. and Rauh, C.

Can Perceived Returns Explain Enrollment Gaps in Postgraduate Education?

WP Number: 2119

Abstract: To understand students' motives in obtaining postgraduate qualifications, we elicit intentions to pursue postgraduate education and beliefs about its returns in a sample of 1,002 university students. We find large gaps in perceptions about the immediate and later-life benefits of postgraduate education, both between first- and continuing-generation students and within the latter group. Differences in student beliefs about returns can account for 70% of the socioeconomic gaps in intentions to pursue postgraduate studies. We document large differences in students' current undergraduate experiences by socioeconomic background and find these to be predictive of perceived returns to postgraduate education.

Keywords: Higher education, beliefs, socioeconomic inequality, intergenerational mobility, postgraduate education

JEL Codes: I24 I26 J13 J24 J62

Author links: Christopher Rauh  

PDF: wp2119.pdf

Open Access Link: 10.17863/CAM.70002


Theme: transmission