nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2005‒10‒15
eleven papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Should top universities be led by top researchers, and are they? By Amanda H Goodall
  3. School Progression and the Grade Distribution of Students: Evidence from the Current Population Survey By Elizabeth U. Cascio
  4. The Determinants of Sunk Cost Sensitivity In Students By Jeffrey Carpenter; Peter Hans Matthews; Ashley D. Brown
  5. Education Attainment in Brazil: The Experience of FUNDEF By Luiz de Mello; Mombert Hoppe
  6. The Education Challenge in Mexico: Delivering Good Quality Education to All By Stéphanie Guichard
  7. Time to Learn? The Organizational Structure of Schools and Student Achievement By Eren, Ozkan; Millimet, Daniel
  8. The impact of women’s educational and economic resources on fertility. Spanish birth cohorts 1901-1950 By Pau Baizán; Enriqueta Camps
  9. The Impact of Education Finance Litigation Reform on Resource By Matthew G. Springer; Keke Liu; James W. Guthrie
  10. Instrument Choice and the Returns to Education: New Evidence from Vietnam By Jean-Louis Arcand; Béatrice d'Hombres; Paul Gyselinck
  11. Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education by Ethnic Group: Evidence from Northeastern Brazil By Jean-Louis Arcand; Béatrice d'Hombres

  1. By: Amanda H Goodall (Warwick Business School)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the question: should the world’s top universities be led by top researchers, and are they? The lifetime citations are counted by hand of the leaders of the world’s top 100 universities identified in a global university ranking. These numbers are then normalised by adjusting for the different citation conventions across academic disciplines. Two statistical measures are used -- Pearson’s correlation coefficient and Spearman’s rho. This study documents a positive correlation between the lifetime citations of a university’s president and the position of that university in the global ranking. Better universities are run by better researchers. The results are not driven by outliers. That the top universities in the world -- who have the widest choice of candidates -- systematically appoint top researchers as their vice chancellors and presidents seems important to understand. There are two main areas of contribution. First, this paper attempts to use bibliometric data to address a performance-related question of a type not seen before (to the author’s knowledge). Second, despite the importance of research to research universities -- as described in many mission-statements -- no studies currently exist that ask whether it matters if the head of a research university is himself or herself a committed researcher. Given the importance of universities in the world, and the difficulty that many have in appointing leaders, this question seems pertinent.
    Keywords: citations, leadership, world university rankings, university presidents
    JEL: A
    Date: 2005–10–11
  2. By: Sigurdson, Jon (European Institute of Japanese Studies)
    Abstract: This report provides insights on the expansive development in Shanghai of human resources in higher education and the creation of a huge web of incubators, university science parks, district industrial parks, and various specialized development zones. With a total population of some 17 million and a GDP per capita of around US$3,000 the city planners expects that 2.5 per cent of its GDP will in 2005 be used for research and development. FDI in high technology and returning scientists in microelectronics illustrate the ambitions of Shanghai to become a knowledge city. More than 140 foreign-controlled R&D laboratories have already been established in Shanghai. Their number and sizes will increase and also involve more basic research as the IPR regime improves. Shanghai will emerge as innovative knowledge region on the world stage that before 2020 will be competing with other global knowledge regions such as the Oxford-London-Cambridge triangle by attracting talent and creating new knowledge. This report highlights a rapid and continued expansion of higher education in Shanghai that now has 59 colleges and universities with a total enrolment in 2004 of 600,000 students. The City has 10 universities which are included in the national list of Top-100 Universities which have been selected by the Ministry of Education to receive special treatment and extra resources. Three of a dozen Chinese universities with expectation to become recognized as world-famous research universities are located in Shanghai – Fudan University, Tongji University and Shanghai Jiaotong University. Fudan University Science Park and the School of Microelectronics at Fudan University provide examples of the changing character of the university system in Shanghai Linked to the development of human resources is a web of technological infrastructure of which Zhangjiang High-Technology Development Zone provides an illustration of ongoing efforts to integrate industrial production, research and university education. Shanghai is attracting overseas entrepreneurs in its advancing semiconductor industry, exemplified by SMIC with one of its bases in Zhangjiang High-Technology Development Zone, Shanghai is also attracting returning scientists to expand its IC knowledge base as exemplified by the School of Microelectronics at Fudan University, which has 600 graduate students.
    Keywords: Human factors; Universities; Fudan University; Regional innovation System (RIS) Semiconductors; High Technology Parks; Overview of Science and Technology
    JEL: I18 O31 O32 R58
    Date: 2005–10–06
  3. By: Elizabeth U. Cascio (University of California, Davis and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Education researchers have long made inferences about grade retention from the grade distribution of same-aged students. Recent economics studies have followed suit. This paper examines the validity of the “below grade” proxy for retention using data from supplemental questionnaires administered in the U.S. Current Population Survey during the 1990s. I estimate that 21% of non-repeaters are below grade, while 12% of repeaters are not. Misclassification attenuates regression coefficients by 35% when the proxy is an outcome and by 65% when it is a regressor. The latter figure is a benchmark, as classification and regression errors are arguably correlated. Biases are likely substantial in other surveys and time periods.
    Keywords: grade retention, misclassification, nonclassical measurement error
    JEL: I21 C81
    Date: 2005–09
  4. By: Jeffrey Carpenter; Peter Hans Matthews; Ashley D. Brown
    Abstract: We conduct a vignette study of the propensity to commit the sunk cost fallacy with 106 undergradu-ates. Our contribution is to examine the socio-demographic determinants of "sunk cost sensitivity." The likelihood of commitment is found to be positively correlated with some ethnicities, negatively correlated with both family income and high personal income, negatively correlated with intermediate levels of schooling, and more or less uncorrelated with standard measures of educational ability and performance like GPAs and SAT scores.
    Date: 2005
  5. By: Luiz de Mello; Mombert Hoppe
    Abstract: For many years, Brazil lagged behind other middle-income countries in terms of school enrolment rates. But since 1998 policies have aimed at bridging this gap, in particular, with the implementation of FUNDEF, a fund for financing sub-national spending on primary and lower-secondary education. Using state- and municipality-level data during 1991-2002, this paper shows that FUNDEF played a key role in the increase in enrolment rates over the period, particularly in small municipalities, which rely more heavily on transfers from higher levels of government as a source of revenue. These findings underscore the importance of FUNDEF in eliminating supply constraints to the improvement of education attainment. Enrolment rates are now nearly universal for primary and lower-secondary education. Emphasis should therefore be placed on policies to improve the quality of services and to remove supply constraints to the expansion of enrolment in upper-secondary and tertiary education. <P>Les taux d'inscription scolaire au Brésil Pendant de nombreuses années, les taux d'inscription scolaire au Brésil sont restés derrière ceux des pays à revenu moyen. Mais depuis 1998 des politiques ont visé à réduire cet écart, en particulier, avec la mise en place de FUNDEF, un fonds pour financer la dépense de l'éducation du primaire et du premier cycle du secondaire au niveau local. En utilisant des données au niveau des états et des municipalités de 1991 à 2002, cet article montre que FUNDEF a joué un rôle majeur dans l'augmentation des taux d'inscription au cours de la période, en particulier dans les petites municipalités, qui dépendent plus fortement des transferts à partir des niveaux plus élevés d’administration comme source de revenu. Ces résultats soulignent l'importance de FUNDEF en éliminant les contraintes d’offre liées à l'amélioration des résultats d'éducation. Les taux d'inscription sont maintenant presque universels pour l'éducation du primaire et du premier cycle du secondaire. L'accent devrait donc être mis sur des politiques pour améliorer la qualité des services et pour enlever des contraintes d’offre sur l'expansion de l'inscription dans l'enseignement du deuxième cycle du secondaire et du tertiaire.
    Keywords: education, éducation, Brazil, Brésil, decentralisation, school enrolment, décentralisation, inscription scolaire
    JEL: H52 H72 H77
    Date: 2005–04–04
  6. By: Stéphanie Guichard
    Abstract: The growth of potential GDP in Mexico is not fast enough to narrow the income gap with other OECD countries at a sufficient pace. The persistent weakness in human capital development contributes to this situation. In particular, Mexicans spend comparatively few years in formal education, and the quality of the education they receive is lower than in other OECD countries. This paper discusses the performance of education services up to the upper secondary level. It assesses both the efficiency (outcome for money invested) and the equity of the system and shows that the education system has to be improved further to narrow the human capital gap with other OECD countries at a faster pace and to better prepare children for life and work in a modern economy. The key problem is not a lack of resources but rather inefficiencies and misallocation of spending together with weak incentives for education professionals to perform well. The paper makes specific recommendations to improve the system. The ongoing efforts undertaken by the authorities go in the right direction but are not sufficient. This Paper relates to the 2005 OECD Economic Survey of Mexico ( <P>Le challenge de l'éducation au Mexique La croissance du PIB potentiel au Mexique n’est pas assez soutenue pour permettre une réduction de l’écart de revenu avec les autres pays de l’OCDE à un rythme suffisant. La faiblesse persistante du Mexique en termes de développement du capital humain contribue à cette situation. En particulier, les Mexicains passent relativement peu d’années sur les bancs de l’école, et la qualité de l’enseignement qu’ils reçoivent est moins bonne que dans les autres pays de l’OCDE. Ce papier examine la performance des services d’enseignement au Mexique jusqu’au deuxième cycle du secondaire. Il évalue tant l’efficience (les résultats obtenus par rapport aux sommes investies) que l’équité du système et montre que ce dernier doit être encore améliorer pour que le Mexique puisse combler plus vite son retard de capital humain par rapport aux autres pays de l’OCDE et mieux préparer ses enfants à vivre et travailler dans une économie moderne. Le cœur du problème n’est pas tant le manque de ressources, mais plutôt l’inefficacité et la mauvaise allocation des dépenses, ainsi que le manque d’incitations motivant les professionnels de l’éducation. Ce chapitre contient des recommandations spécifiques pour améliorer le système. Les efforts actuels des pouvoirs publics vont dans la bonne direction mais sont insuffisants. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE du Mexique, 2005 (
    Keywords: human capital, education, capital humain, Mexico, Mexique, éducation
    JEL: I20 I21 I22 I28 J2
    Date: 2005–09–30
  7. By: Eren, Ozkan (SMU); Millimet, Daniel (SMU)
    Abstract: Utilizing parametric and nonparametric techniques, we asses the impact of a heretofore relatively unexplored ‘input ’in the educational process, time allocation, on the distribution of academic acheivement. Our results indicate that school year length and the number and average duration of classes are salient determinants of student performance. However, the effects are not homogeneous — in terms of both direction and magnitude — across the distribution. We find that students below the median benefit from a shorter school year, while a longer school year benefits students above the median. Furthermore, low-achieving students benefit from fewer, shorter classes per day, while high-achieving students benefit from more and longer classes per day.
    Keywords: student achievement, school quality, school year length, stochastic dominance, distributional analysis
    JEL: C14 I21 I28
    Date: 2005–10
  8. By: Pau Baizán; Enriqueta Camps
    Abstract: In this chapter we portray the effects of female education and professional achievement on fertility decline in Spain over the period 1920-1980 (birth cohorts of 1900-1950). A longitudinal econometric approach is used to test the hypothesis that the effects of women’s education in the revaluing of their time had a very significant influence on fertility decline. Although in the historical context presented here improvements in schooling were on a modest scale, they were continuous (with the interruption of the Civil War) and had a significant impact in shaping a model of low fertility in Spain. We also stress the relevance of this result in a context such as the Spanish for which liberal values were absent, fertility control practices were forbidden, and labour force participation of women was politically and socially constrained.
    Keywords: Fertility decline, human capital, intergenerational transfers of knowledge
    JEL: J22 J24 J13 J16
    Date: 2005–09
  9. By: Matthew G. Springer (Peabody College of Vanderbilt University); Keke Liu (Peabody College of Vanderbilt University); James W. Guthrie (Peabody College of Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: Two of the most prominent principles championed in school finance- related policy are equity and adequacy. The thick of empirical literature related to equity and adequacy has focused on the effect of court-mandated reform on resource distribution – a logical bridge considering both are derivatives, legally, of the United States Constitution and the legal system has been a primary driver compelling school finance reform. For example, 36 states had their respective state funding mechanisms challenged on equity grounds, while 37 states had the constitutionality of their respective funding mechanisms challenged on adequacy grounds. And, of these states, state funding mechanisms were ruled unconstitutional on 27 occasions. This article reports the results of a study on the impact of court-mandated reform on resource allocation patterns and whether differences exist between equity versus adequacy rulings. Results of whether there are fundamental resource allocation differences as a consequence of court-mandated reform based on adequacy versus equity grounds are mixed.
    Keywords: education finance reform school finance equalization
    JEL: I22
    Date: 2005–10–13
  10. By: Jean-Louis Arcand (CERDI-CNRS, University of Auvergne & European Development Network); Béatrice d'Hombres (CERDI-CNRS, University of Auvergne & University of Padua); Paul Gyselinck (CERDI-CNRS, University of Auvergne)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on instrument choice while consistently estimating the returns to education in Vietnam. Using data culled from the 2 rounds of the Vietnam Living Standards Survey (VLSS), we explore different sets of exogenous instruments that rely on demand and supply side sources of variation in schooling as well as the matrix of instruments proposed by Hausman and Taylor (1981). Instrument validity tests suggest that many variables do not satisfy the necessary conditions allowing them to be used as instruments. As in several studies, we find that IV estimates of the returns to education are substantially higher than the corresponding OLS estimate. We show how the Hausman-Taylor matrix of instruments, when combined with other instruments, may be a useful way of consistently estimating an average return to education rather than a local average treatment effect (Angrist, 1994).
    Keywords: ate of return, instrumental variables procedures, Instrument choice, Hausman-Taylor estimator, Hahn-Hausman test, Vietnam
    JEL: J31 I21 C30
    Date: 2005–10–11
  11. By: Jean-Louis Arcand (CERDI-CNRS, University of Auvergne & European Development Network); Béatrice d'Hombres (CERDI-CNRS, University of Auvergne & University of Padua)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine inter-ethnic differences in the returns to education for the three main ethnic groups in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador (MRS), Bahia state, in Northeastern Brazil. Our results suggest that sheepskin effects take the traditional form of an additional return to the completion of a diploma for whites, whereas for blacks the additional return stems entirely from the sheepskin-like effect associated with admission to university. We show that it is possible to explain the observed pattern of inter-ethnic differences in the returns to education using a model of statistical discrimination that builds on the work of S. Lundberg and R. Startz and incorporates differences in the cost of acquiring an education that are usually associated with signaling models.
    Keywords: Statistical Discrimination, Earnings, Brazil
    JEL: J71 J31
    Date: 2005–10–13

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