College Curriculum, Diverging Selectivity, and Enrollment Expansion

46 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2016

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: October 17, 2016

Abstract

We analyze the impact of expansion of higher education on student outcomes in the context of competition among colleges which differentiate themselves horizontally by setting curricular standards. When public or economic pressures compel less selective colleges to lower their curricular demands, low-ability students benefit at the expense of medium-ability students. This reduces competitive pressure faced by more selective colleges, which therefore adopt more demanding curricula to better serve their most able students. This stylized model of curricular product differentiation in higher education offers an explanation for the diverging selectivity trends of American colleges. It also appears consistent with the U-shaped earnings growth profile we observe among college-educated workers in the U.S.

Keywords: curricular standard, higher education, college selectivity, enrollment expansion, income distribution

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

Suggested Citation

Kaganovich, Michael and Su, Xuejuan, College Curriculum, Diverging Selectivity, and Enrollment Expansion (October 17, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6122, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2871148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2871148

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

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