April 2008

IZA DP No. 3444: The "Bologna Process" and College Enrolment Decisions

published in: Labour Economics, 2009, 16 (6), 638-647

We use survey data on cohorts of high school graduates observed before and after the Italian reform of tertiary education implementing the ‘Bologna process’ to estimate the impact of the reform on the decision to go to college. We find that individuals leaving high school after the reform have a probability of going to college that is 10 percent higher compared to individuals making the choice under the old system. We show that this increase is concentrated among individuals with good high-school performance and low parental (educational) background. We interpret this result as an indication of the existence of constraints (pre-reform) – for good students from less affluent household – on the optimal schooling decision. For the students who would not have enrolled under the old system we also find a small negative impact of the reform on the likelihood to drop-out from university.