Estimating the Effects of Dormitory Living on Student

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Volume 30, Issue 1


Estimating the effects of dormitory living on student performance


Pedro de Araujo Colorado College

James Murray University of Wisconsin - La Crosse


Many large universities require freshman to live in dormitories on the basis that living on campus leads to better classroom performance and lower drop out incidence. Large universities also provide a number of academic services in dormitories such as tutoring and student organizations that encourage an environment condusive to learning. A survey was administered to college students at a large state school to determine what impact dormitory living has on student performance. We use a handful of instrumental variable strategies to account for the possibly endogenous decision to live on campus. We find a robust result across model specifications and estimation techniques that on average, living on campus increases GPA by between 0.19 to 0.97. That is, the estimate for the degree of improvement to student performance caused by living on campus ranges between one-fifth to one full letter grade.




We thank Arun Srinivasan, the participants of the 2009 Sourthern Economics Conference, and an anonymous referee for their useful comments. All errors are our own. Citation: Pedro de Araujo and James Murray, (2010) ''Estimating the effects of dormitory living on student performance'', Economics Bulletin, Vol. 30 no.1 pp. 866-878. Submitted: Feb 09 2010.   Published: March 25, 2010.  


1. Introduction

It is widely believed that students can acquire academic benets from living on campus. So much so, that many colleges and universities, ranging from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, require students to live on campus during their rst year with few exceptions. Typically, students exempt from such a policy include students over the age of 25, students that are married and/or have children, and students in the military....