Nearly a third of high school graduates in the US do not enroll in college. In fact, for children whose households are in the lowest quintile of the US income distribution, nearly half of high school graduates do not enroll in college. Given the robust and high return associated with a college degree, as well as college tuition subsidies for lower-income households, these patterns continue to puzzle researchers and policy-makers alike. This paper focuses on information constraints as one possible explanation for these patterns.
We report results from two randomized information experiments. In the first, respondents are informed that college-educated workers'annual earnings are 80 percent higher than those of non-college workers (see Jensen, 2010, and Nguyen, 2008, for international examples). In the second experiment, respondents are informed that the average annual net costs of public and non-profit private universities in the US are $12,620 and $23,290, respectively (among examples of cost-based interventions conducted in the US are Carroll and Sacerdote, 2012, and Hoxby and Turner, 2013). We elicit respondents' beliefs regarding their (own and/or friend's child's) college attendance and other related outcomes, before and immediately after the information intervention, as well as two months later.
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