Autoren: Alecke, B., Mitze, T. (2012)

Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik 13 (4) , S. 357-386

The question of costs and benefits related to the introduction of tuition fees still dominates the current discussion of higher education policy in Germany. In this contribution, we quantify the effect of tuition fees on state-to-state migration patterns among university freshmen in Germany using an empirical migration model for all 16 German states (Bundesländer) in the period 1999 to 2010. Overall, our results reveal a negative effect of tuition fees on gross in-migration to fee-charging states since their introduction in 2006. Although the absolute size of this spatial redistribution effect is moderate, by means of simulation exercises we nevertheless show that the potential use of tuition fees as a planning instrument for higher education policy may not be seen as negligibly. With regard to the questions, which of the other determinants in the migration model can affect gross in-migration flows in a similar way as the introduction of tuition fees was able to do, we find that only a very drastic improvement in the quality of teaching and research facilities at universities in non-charging states relative to fee-charging universities would be able to evoke a similar effect on the spatial redistribution of university freshmen among German states. This raises a closely related question, namely, which of the available instruments may serve best to accomplish the goal of high utilization rates for existing capacities at universities in East Germany as formulated in the University Pact 2020 (Hochschulpakt 2020).