The research project "Analyses of costs and returns to subject change and university dropout" (AKEFS) examines select causes and economic consequences of changing the field of study or leaving university without a degree, from both an individual and fiscal perspective. In the first subproject, it is shown that students are more likely to change subjects or discontinue their studies if they cannot study their desired subject. According to the empirical analyses of the second subproject, the long-term average effects of studying at the university level without completing a degree appear to be positive in terms of professional prestige when compared to not attending university at all, and negative in terms of life satisfaction. No statistically significant differences were found for wages and working hours. The results of the third subproject indicate that in terms of working life, successfully completing a course of study leads, on average, to significant positive net returns in the form of wages and returns to education for public budgets, while the fiscal costs of studying without completing a degree exceed the estimated later returns. Based on the results, options for action in education policy will be developed.

Berlingieri, Francesco, Julia Heigle, Friedhelm Pfeiffer and Holger Stichnoth (2021), Analysen zu Kosten und Erträgen von Fachwechsel und Studienabbruch, in: Neugebauer M., Daniel HD., Wolter A. Wiesbaden, 261-280. Download


Berlingieri, Francesco
Heigle, Julia
Pfeiffer, Friedhelm
Stichnoth, Holger


Arbeitsmarkt, Fachwechsel, Lebenszufriedenheit, Studienerfolg, Studium ohne Abschluss