Discussion Papers no. 932

Distance and choice of field: Evidence from a Norwegian college expansion reform

How can geographical proximity to college explain field of study choices? We empirically address this question using the major expansion of university colleges in Norway in the second half of the twentieth century, when 33 new education institutions were established in areas that did not previously have any institutions for higher education.

Our findings indicate that take-up of the relevant educations (nursing, engineering and business administration) increased substantially with the establishment of new colleges. However, we do not find evidence of an increase in education on earnings capacity overall, suggesting that the new colleges shifted in-dividuals on the intensive rather than extensive margin, between education tracks of similar length. We discuss challenges related to the estimation of education choices in a population that often started higher education late, well into their twen-ties, and also document substantial gender differences in the take-up of different higher education opportunities.

About the publication


Distance and choice of field: Evidence from a Norwegian college expansion reform


Tora K. Knutsen, Jørgen Modalsli and Marte Rønning

Series and number

Discussion Papers no. 932


Statistisk sentralbyrå


Discussion Papers



Number of pages


About Discussion Papers

Discussion papers comprise research papers intended for international journals and books. A preprint of a Discussion Paper may be longer and more elaborate than a standard journal article as it may include intermediate calculations, background material etc.