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Why I Choose a Vocational High School: A Study of Elicited Expectation and Educational Decision

Suaphan, Parita

The decision between vocational and general tracks of education is instrumental to the future earnings of individuals. While human capital theory suggests that individuals directly calculate the costs and benefits of education before making such decisions, empirical studies on the link between tracking choices and the costs and benefits that individuals actually expect at the time of the decision are rare. This research elicits the subjective expectation of future costs and benefits of vocational and general education, as well as measures of social support, cognitive ability, vocational preference, and ability to delay gratification of ninth graders. It investigates the effect of these factors on students' decisions between vocational and general high schools. The survey data was collected from 3,783 students from 41 schools in Udonthani Province, Thailand, and was analyzed using logistic regression. Forty-one of the sampled students were interviewed in addition to the survey, and their interview results were incorporated in the choice model analysis. The results suggest that the net monetary benefit of education is not an important vocational and general high school determinant. Rather, expected support from family and friends, cognitive ability, vocational preference, ability to delay gratification, gender, and socioeconomic status are significant factors that affect the students' decisions. The analysis of student interviews also suggests that the reasons that the majority of students do not include the costs and/or benefits of education in their decision functions, possibly include 1) students are not paying for, or are not concerned about, their educational costs and 2) students feel that the monetary benefit of education only occur in the distant future and thus feel it does not warrant present attention.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Comparative and International Education
Thesis Advisors
Levin, Henry M.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 10, 2014
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