2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Higher Education v. Trades: A Public Choice Analysis


Tiffany M. Middlemas* and Kaitlin LePage
Dr. David Gillette, Faculty Mentor

Education is a vital aspect of a growing U.S. economy, with multiple job market paths to consider when planning for a successful career. Society emphasizes a college degree as means of access to greater economic opportunities, with a second path to post-secondary education all but forgotten: vocational education. Higher education and trade schools offer different economic incentives to entice potential students on their career paths. However, these economic incentives are not the only factors that influence one’s decision. We explore various public choice aspects of the education system, particularly federal and state subsidization, and political factors, such as rent-seeking and logrolling. After accounting for a variety of factors when making educational decisions, we find profitable, rewarding, and diverse careers in both categories.

Keywords: postsecondary education, higher ed, vocational, economics, public choice

Topic(s):Economics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 310-1
Location: MC 211
Time: 1:30

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