Essays on the Economics of Higher Education

Xiaoxuan Jia

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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A series of UK higher education reforms over the past 30 years have created an increasingly competitive market where students have a large number of institutions/degree courses to choose from and institutions compete to attract students. This thesis investigates the factors that could potentially influence students’ decision to invest in higher education and their choice of universities. The second chapter investigates how university league tables affect prospective students’ application decisions. The results suggest a one standard deviation change in the subject-level ranking score of an institution is associated with a 4.3% increase in application numbers per faculty. This effect is particularly pronounced among institutions with the best scores, and it has grown stronger over time. The third chapter analyses whether the sharp increase in tuition fees in 2012 for home (UK) and EU students have changed their expected earnings after graduation. Thus it indirectly assesses whether the increased fees have increased their demand for information on the returns to higher education and made them more aware of the labour market for university graduates. The results suggest while the increased tuition fees have no impact on students’ expected starting salary, home and EU students that entered university in or after 2012 have lowered their expected return to higher education. The fourth chapter studies the price sensitivity of non-EU students to changes in overseas tuition fees. After controlling for institutional quality and endogeneity of fees, we find that overall, overseas students do not react negatively to changes in fees, and better ranked institutions and institutions with more home/UK students attracts more students from outside the Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Chevalier, Arnaud, Supervisor
Award date1 Apr 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015

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