nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2005‒04‒09
two papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia By Jishnu Das; Stefan Dercon; James Habyarimana; Pramila Krishnan
  2. Charter School Quality and Parental Decision Making With School Choice By Eric A. Hanushek; John F. Kain; Steven G. Rivkin; Gregory F. Branch

  1. By: Jishnu Das; Stefan Dercon; James Habyarimana; Pramila Krishnan
    Abstract: Following a tradition that relates household-level shocks to educational attainment, we examine the impact of teacher-level shocks on student learning. As a plausible measure for these shocks, we use teacher absenteeism during a 30-day recall period. A 5-percent increase in teacher absence rate reduced learning by 4 to 8 percent of average gains over the year, for both Mathematics and English. The estimated impacts are substantial and, in addition to the losses due to time away from class, likely reflect lower teaching quality when in class and less lesson-preparation when at home. Health problems-primarily their own illness and the illnesses of family members-account for more than 60 percent of teacher absenteeism. This suggests both that households are unable to substitute adequately for school-level teaching inputs and that, to support human capital formation, insurance at the school-level may be a policy priority that is worth exploring further.
    Date: 2004–07
  2. By: Eric A. Hanushek; John F. Kain; Steven G. Rivkin; Gregory F. Branch
    Abstract: Charter schools have become a very popular instrument for reforming public schools, because they expand choices, facilitate local innovation, and provide incentives for the regular public schools while remaining under public control. Despite their conceptual appeal, evaluating their performance has been hindered by the selective nature of their student populations. This paper investigates the quality of charter schools in Texas in terms of mathematics and reading achievement and finds that, after an initial start-up period, average school quality in the charter sector is not significantly different from that in regular public schools. Perhaps most important, the parental decision to exit a charter school is much more sensitive to education quality than the decision to exit a regular public school, consistent with the notion that the introduction of charter schools substantially reduces the transactions costs of switching schools. Low income charter school families are, however, less sensitive to school quality than higher income families.
    JEL: I2 H4 D1
    Date: 2005–04

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