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We use rich administrative data to estimate a novel two-sided matching model of sorting into field and institution within higher education.

The United Kingdom is one of the worst performing countries in the OECD when it comes to “intergenerational mobility”, or the extent to which children’s labour market outcomes are predicted by the income of their parents.

Recent work from the United States (Chetty et al, 2020) concluded that “changing how students are allocated to colleges could substantially increase intergenerational mobility, even without changing colleges’ educational programs.” This is an appealing argument for policymakers, as it implies well-designed policy tweaks could have large payoffs in terms of improving mobility. 

The aim of this paper is to better understand which policy tweaks – if any – are likely to yield those increases in mobility in England, while considering some of the potential costs of those policies.1  

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