Teodora Boneva, Oxford University

Socio-economic gaps in university enrollment: The role of perceived pecuniary and non-pecuniary returns


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 duirng 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 expalin 48% of the socio-economic gap in intentions to enroll, while perceived non-pecuniary returns alone account for 37%

You can read the working paper here

Teodora Boneva is associate professor at Oxford University. Her research fields are Applied Microeconomics and Labour Economics, and her research also relates to Behavioural and Experimental Economics. In her research, she investigates the role of beliefs in educational investment decisions and the role of educational interventions in fostering skills in childhood.