nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2006‒02‒26
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmstrom
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. University competition: Symmetric or asymmetric quality choices? By Vanhaecht E.; Pauwels W.
  2. An econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression in post-reform Italian Universities By Gianna Boero; Tiziana Laureti; Robin Naylor

  1. By: Vanhaecht E.; Pauwels W.
    Abstract: In this paper we model competition between two publicly financed and identical universities deciding on quality and on admission standards. The education offered by the two universities is differentiated horizontally and vertically. If horizontal differentiation dominates, the Nash equilibrium is symmetric, and the two universities offer the same quality levels. If vertical differentiation dominates, the Nash equilibrium is asymmetric, and the high quality university attracts the better students. Symmetric and asymmetric equilibria may also coexist. We highlight the importance of three driving forces behind these results: a single crossing condition, the peer group effect, and the students' mobility costs. We also compare the monopoly and the duopoly case. The model we use is an extension of Del Rey's [8] model.
    Date: 2005–08
  2. By: Gianna Boero; Tiziana Laureti; Robin Naylor
    Abstract: As in much of Europe, and in the particular context of the Bologna Convention on tertiary education, the Italian university system has experienced substantial reform in recent years, the major aims of which include increasing the participation, progression and retention rates of students in higher education. Reform has reduced the length of undergraduate degree programmes to three years with the intention that students should be able to graduate at an earlier age than in the past, in line with graduates from other European countries. This paper offers a first econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression three years after the introduction of major reform. We use administrative data on students of two Italian universities in a probit model of the probability that the student drops out, and an OLS model of student progression. Our analyses suggest that, notwithstanding the reforms, the drop-out (withdrawal) rate is still very high and only a small proportion of students are likely to complete their studies within the institutional time. In particular, we find that differences in students’ prior educational background and performance have remarkably large effects on their withdrawal and progression probabilities. We infer from our results that poor retention and completion rates of Italian university students are unlikely to improve without further significant institutional change.
    Keywords: Dropping out, student progression, probit models, university reform
    Date: 2005

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