Research projects

Project CEMAPRE internal

TitleHow did economic cycle affect students expectations about transition from Upper Secondary to Higher Education
ParticipantsMargarida Chagas Lopes, Graça Leão Fernandes (Principal Investigator)
SummaryDropout, particularly in the transition from Upper Secondary to Higher Education (HE), meaning a
loss of human capital investment is a serious problem, mainly in countries like Portugal where
investment in human capital is crucial for fostering economic growth.

In Portugal this loss in the transition trajectory leads to a number of Higher Education "graduates"
still far below European average levels, 25% against 32,3% in 2018 (PORDATA), and the Millenium
Sustainable Goals (Goal 4) subscribed by Portugal.

In our previous research we looked at evidence about how a diversity of factors, age, sex,
educational and economic characteristics of the family of origin, previous school failure, are
responsible for dropout or delay in Higher Education enrollment. And how the weight of these factors
on dropout decision vary with economic cycle.

Literature survey shows that expectations\motivation are important factors in the decision making
process related to transition to Higher Education after the socio economic ones like budget
constrains to move to Higher Education and\or will to earn their own money.

The OCDE PISA RESULTS 2015 (OECD 2017) emphasizes that expectations and motivation matter in the
transition to Higher Education. It also found that parents and peers expectations have impact on
students’ ones as well as age, sex, type of course followed in Upper Secondary.

In the Portuguese case, a study for the period 2012-2013 about the decision to enroll in Higher
Education, which didn’t take economic crisis’ effects in consideration, found that the
consistency of that decision, given the expectations is an important determinant of success mainly
for male, older and with better performance students [Sá e Tavares (2017)].

Because we want to study the impact of economic cycle on expectations we have data for academic
years 2008-2009, 2012-2013 and 2018-2019 (note: data have been actualized to more recent ones).