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Does slow and steady win the race ? An Italian case

Anna Bussu, Claudio Detotto, Laura Serra

This paper presents an empirical study focusing on students’ drop-out and irregular careers at the University of Sassari (Sardinia, Italy). The analysis is based on 1167 students registered in a full-time undergraduate program (three years according to the Italian system), which have both not changed and not abandoned the degree course. Using a Probit model, our findings document the individual, background and environmental factors that play the main role in explaining the likelihood of irregular careers’ occurrence. We observe that residential students perform worse than the commuter students. Furthermore, other factors seem to explain the success in attending an academic institution, here measured as the probability to finish the undergraduate programme in the nominal duration, namely individual characteristics (like gender and age), students’ background (family income, secondary schools and final marks obtained), institutions’ environment (department’s teaching and research quality) and students well-being (students’ satisfaction). Finally, some policy implications are discussed.

Keywords : probit ; regular careers ; commuter students ; residential students ; undergraduate.

Working paper TerRA n°07