College Expansion and Curriculum Choice

33 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2015

See all articles by Michael Kaganovich

Michael Kaganovich

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Xuejuan Su

University of Alabama - Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies; University of Alberta, Department of Economics; University of Alberta, Department of Economics

Date Written: April 23, 2015

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of college enrollment expansion on student academic achievements and labor market outcomes in the context of competition among colleges. When public policies promote “access” to college education, colleges adjust their curricula: Less selective public colleges adopt a less demanding curriculum in order to accommodate the influx of less able students. As we argue in the paper, this adjustment benefits low-ability college students at the expense of those of medium ability. At the same time, this reduces the competitive pressure faced by elite colleges, as less selective colleges become a less appealing alternative for the medium ability students. The selective, elite colleges therefore adopt a more demanding curriculum to better serve their most able students, again at the expense of medium ability students. The model offers an explanation to two sets of empirical phenomena: (i) the observed U-shaped earnings growth profile among college-educated workers in the U.S. and (ii) the diverging selectivity trends of American colleges.

Keywords: curriculum, postsecondary education, enrollment expansion, income distribution

JEL Classification: I210, I230, I240, J240, H440

Suggested Citation

Kaganovich, Michael and Su, Xuejuan, College Expansion and Curriculum Choice (April 23, 2015). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5299, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2597997 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2597997

Michael Kaganovich (Contact Author)

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Economics ( email )

Wylie Hall
Bloomington, IN 47405-6620
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Xuejuan Su

University of Alabama - Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 870244
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

University of Alberta, Department of Economics ( email )

8-14 Tory Building
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4
Canada

University of Alberta, Department of Economics ( email )

8-14 Tory Building
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4
Canada

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
69
Abstract Views
643
rank
441,186
PlumX Metrics