The Impact of Business Cycle Fluctuations on Graduate School Enrollment
- Female graduate school enrollment is countercyclical but male enrollment is acyclical.
- Business cycle fluctuations have non-linear impacts on female graduate school enrollment.
- Poor labor market conditions lead to a substitution from full-time enrollment to part-time enrollment.
This paper adds to the understanding of student decisions about graduate school attendance by studying the magnitude of the effect of business cycle fluctuations on enrollment. I use data on graduate school enrollment from the Current Population Survey and statewide variation in unemployment rates across time to proxy for changes in business cycle conditions. I find that overall graduate school enrollment is countercyclical for females and acyclical for males. I show that changes in the unemployment rate have non-linear impacts on female enrollment and that poor labor market conditions lead to a substitution from full-time enrollment to part-time enrollment for both genders.