G. Pitti, V. Pipitone, G. Fulantelli, M. Allegra

The University Choice in Italy: Differences between North and South

  • Abstract

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Keywords: JEL Classification: A23; I20; Keywords: Higher Education; University; Gap between North and South

What moves the young Italian school graduates to enroll at the university? What are the reasons why a growing number of students prefer universities outside their own region? These are the questions that we aim to answer in this paper, taking into account the territorial differences in Italy. The estimated probit models show that, with respect to the geographic areas, the type of high-school attended influences the decision of the Italian students to continue their studies transversally. This brings us to focus on the role of the family context in decision making. Even though the type of school is an «inertial» common factor in decision making, it tends to differ substantially on local basis. In most advanced regions of the country the decision to continue studies seem to suffer most from the external socio-economic context, while in areas with economic development delay, the decision seems independent of the external context and linked to students academic performance and gender differences. The decision path which leads students to prefer universities far from their home region appears more linear. Looking at students who have already decided to start their degree course, «quality» emerges as a strong and statistically significant cross-factor: the lower the quality of the regional universities is, the higher is the possibility that students migrate to other regions. This is a result which clearly calls into question the actual or perceived utility of the «legal value» of academic qualifications.

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