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Cows Don't Give Milk: An Effort Model of College Graduation

This paper estimates a dynamic model of college enrollment, progression, and graduation. A central feature of the model is student effort, which has a direct effect on class completion and an indirect effect mitigating risks on class completion and college persistence. The estimated model matches rich administrative data for a representative cohort of college students in Colombia. Estimates indicate that effort has a much greater impact than ability on class completion. Failing to consider effort as an input to class completion leads to overestimating ability’s role by a factor of two or three. It also promotes tuition discounts based on a pre-determined student trait—ability—rather than effort, which can be affected through policy, thus limiting higher education’s potential for social mobility.

higher education, academic progression, dropout
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Ferreyra, Maria Marta, Carlos Garriga, Juan David Martin-Ocampo, and Angelica Maria Sanchez-Diaz. (). Cows Don't Give Milk: An Effort Model of College Graduation. (EdWorkingPaper: 23-713). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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