Valentin Tissot*, Jade Ponsard**

phd seminar
à distance

Valentin Tissot*, Jade Ponsard**

How students think about their future: Aspirations and economic conditions*
From remote land to land of opportunity? Roads and educational investment responses in the USA**
Mardi 8 juin 2021| 11:00 - 12:15

Anushka Chawla : anushka.chawla[at]
Kenza Elass : kenza.elass[at]
Carolina Ulloa Suarez : carolina.ulloa-suarez[at]


*Existing literature has emphasized the role of individual social characteristics in shaping students' aspirations. Yet, it is also important to understand how students' aspirations can be influenced by economic conditions. This paper develops a preliminary model where aspirations embody the influence of economic conditions and finds that students' aspirations are likely to be lower when economic conditions deteriorate. To test my empirical prediction, I use four waves of the PISA database between 2003 and 2018 and compare how aspirations of 15-year-old students are shaped by unemployment fluctuations across 13 countries. I find that when unemployment rate increases, educational and occupation aspirations of 15-year old students decrease. I also show that this negative relationship between unemployment and aspirations is more pronounced for students from weaker social backgrounds.

**This study investigates educational investment responses to changes in local economic opportunities driven by transport infrastructure improvement. I exploit variation in the timing of the US highways opening in the mid-20th century across rural counties to measure how youths react to new economic opportunities triggered by road connectivity at the local labor market level. An established instrumental variable is used to account for the non-random placement of highways. Preliminary results suggest that road connectivity has a negative impact on education to the benefits of early participation in the labor market. These effects are consistent with changes, caused by highway access, observed on local labor markets: the return to schooling decreases while the opportunity cost of education increases.

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