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Essays on the economics of human capital accumulation

Rizzica, L; (2014) Essays on the economics of human capital accumulation. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores channels through which human capital accumulation can be fostered focusing in particular on education policies. Chapter 1 analyzes the effects of the UK Widening Participation Policies which aim at raising the motivation towards school of teenagers from low socio-economic background. I use a Sharp Regression Discontinuity design to estimate the effects of raising aspirations on college enrollments. The estimates obtained show that the policy had a significant positive impact on pupils' aspirations and on their propensity to stay on in education after the age of 16, but did not affect college enrollment rates except for pupils coming from richer families. To interpret these empirical results I build a model of schooling choice that incorporates non cognitive traits such as aspirations in the ability production function. Chapter 2 again focuses on tertiary education policies and looks at an Italian reform which generated a substantial geographical expansion of tertiary education supply. I implement a Difference-in-Differences analysis and find that the reform significantly increased girls' enrollment rates but not boys'; on the other hand, boys substituted education away from home with education at the local university. These results suggest that girls face some non financial cost of moving away from home which may eventually prevent them from attending college. Chapter 3 analyzes the impact of parental migration on the household investments on the human capital of children left behind. I frame the household decision making problem as a sequential game in which the migrant spouse decides how much remittances to send back and then the one left behind allocates the total available budget according to his preferences. Such model predicts that the migrant anticipates the spouse's choice and manages to offset the possible negative impact on expenditure for children. The model predictions are tested using data from Indonesia.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Essays on the economics of human capital accumulation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1437009
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