nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2005‒11‒19
sixteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  2. Could do Better: The Effectiveness of Incentives and Competition in Schools By Gianni De Fraja; Pedro Landeras
  3. The Impact of Parental Income and Education on the Health of their Children By Orla Doyle; Colm Harmon; Ian Walker
  4. Is the Gender Gap in School Performance Affected by the Sex of the Teacher? By Holmlund, Helena; Sund, Krister
  5. Where Have All The Home Care Workers Gone? By Margaret Denton; Isik Urla Zeytinoglu; Sharon Davies; Danielle Hunter
  6. The Gender Gap Reloaded: Is School Quality Linked to Labor Market Performance? By Spyros Konstantopoulos; Amelie Constant
  7. Fertility and Female Labor Supply in Latin America: New Causal Evidence By Guillermo Cruces; Sebastian Galiani
  8. Socioeconomic Influences on the Health of Older Canadians: Estimates Based on Two Longitudinal Surveys By Neil J Buckley; Frank T Denton; A Leslie Robb; Byron G Spencer
  9. The Determinants of Child Labor: The Role of Primary Product Specialization By Leonardo Becchetti; Giovanni Trovato
  10. Drug Advertising and Health Habits By Toshiaki Iizuka; Ginger Zhe Jin
  11. Technological Complexity, R&D and Education: Some Pleasant Arithmetic By Peter Thompson; Mihaela Pintea
  12. Human Capital, R&D and Competition in Macroeconomic Analysis By Erik Canton; Bert Minne; Ate Nieuwenhuis; Bert Smid; Marc van der Steeg
  13. Teaching to do economics with the computer By Kurt Schmidheiny; Harris Dellas
  14. Shifts and Twists in the Relative Productivity of Skilled Labor By Dupuy,Arnaud; Marey,Philip

  1. By: Mario Raposo (Universidade da Beira Interior); Helena Alves (Universidade da Beira Interior)
    Abstract: Facing a growing competitive environment, higher education institutions have increased dramatically the competition for recruiting and retaining students providing a high quality service as a solution to compete. Frequently, researchers who have studied the service quality and client satisfaction have measured it by comparing consumers’ expectations with their perception of the provided service. This study was undertaken to provide data for analysing students’ expectations when they enter University, as well as to know which influences origin those expectations at the beginning of undergraduate studies. Then these expectations were compared with student’s service perceptions after one year of study. An analysis between expected service and service received is maid and the results shown that the gap between those, is great in aspects mainly directly related to educational service. A factorial analysis shows that service expectations are mainly formed around the dimensions related to aspects of learning and career, reputation of the University and how the support services are delivered by staff.
    Keywords: Service expectations, service quality, higher education, marketing
    JEL: A20 A23 M31
    Date: 2005–11–15
  2. By: Gianni De Fraja (University of York (UK) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)); Pedro Landeras (University of Cantabria - Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of incentive mechanisms and of the competitive environment on the interaction between schools and students, in a set-up where the students' educational attainment depends on their peer group, on their effort, and on the quality of the school's teaching. We show that increasing the power of the incentive scheme and the effectiveness of competition may have the counterintuitive effect of lowering the students' effort, with ambiguous effects on their attainment. In a simple dynamic set-up, where the reputation of the schools affects recruitment, we show that increased competition leads to segregation of pupils by ability.
    Keywords: Students effort, Schools quality, Peer-group effect, Incentives
    JEL: I20 H42
    Date: 2004–02–18
  3. By: Orla Doyle (Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Colm Harmon (University College Dublin, CEPR and IZA Bonn); Ian Walker (University of Warwick, Institute for Fiscal Studies and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the robustness of recent findings on the effect of parental background on child health. We are particularly concerned with the extent to which their finding that income effects on child health are the result of spurious correlation rather than some causal mechanism. A similar argument can be made for the effect of education - if parental education and child health are correlated with some common unobservable (say, low parental time preference) then least squares estimates of the effect of parental education will be biased upwards. Moreover, it is very common for parental income data to be grouped, in which case income is measured with error and the coefficient on income will be biased towards zero and there are good reasons why the extent of bias may vary with child age. Fixed effect estimation is undermined by measurement error and here we adopt the traditional solution to both spurious correlation and measurement error and use an instrumental variables approach. Our results suggest that the income effects observed in the data are spurious.
    Keywords: child health, intergenerational transmission
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2005–11
  4. By: Holmlund, Helena (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Sund, Krister (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Girls outperform boys in school. We investigate whether the gender performance gap can be attributed to the fact that the teacher profession is female dominated, that is, is there a causal effect on student outcomes from having a same-sex teacher? Using data on uppersecondary school students and their teachers from the municipality of Stockholm, Sweden, we find that the gender performance differential is larger in subjects where the share of female teachers is higher. We argue, however, that this effect can not be interpreted as causal, mainly due to teacher selection into different subjects and nonrandom student-teacher matching. Exploring the fact that teacher turnover and student mobility give rise to variation in teacher’s gender within student and subject, we estimate the effect on student outcomes of changing to a teacher of the same sex. We find no strong support for our initial hypothesis that a same-sex teacher improves student outcomes.
    Keywords: -
    Date: 2005–11–04
  5. By: Margaret Denton; Isik Urla Zeytinoglu; Sharon Davies; Danielle Hunter
    Abstract: Because of the on-going need to co-ordinate care and ensure its continuity, issues of retention and recruitment are of major concern to home care agencies. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors affecting turnover decisions among visiting home care workers. In 1996, 620 visiting nurses and personal support workers from three non-profit agencies in a mid-sized Ontario city participated in a survey on their work and health. By the fall of 2001, 320 of these respondents had left the agencies. Analysis of the turnover data showed a temporal association between the implementation of managed competition and turnover. We mailed a self-completion questionnaire asking about their reasons for leaving the agency and about their subsequent work experience. One hundred and sixty nine (53%) responded to this survey. Respondents indicated dissatisfaction with the implementation of managed competition, with pay, hours of work, lack of organizational support and work load as well as health reasons, including work-related stress, as reasons for leaving. Less than one-third remained employed in the home care field, one-third worked in other health care workplaces and one-third were no longer working in health care. Their responses to our 1996 survey were used to predict turnover. Results show that nurses were more likely to leave if they had unpredictable hours of work, if they worked shifts or weekends and had higher levels of education. They were more likely to stay with the agency if they reported working with difficult clients, had predictable hours, good benefits, had children under 12 years of age in the home, and were younger. Personal support workers were more likely to leave if they reported higher symptoms of stress, and had difficult clients. They were more likely to stay if they worked weekends and perceived their benefits to be good.
    Keywords: turnover, home care workers, nurses, personal support workers, managed competition, home care sector, policy, for-profit agency, non-profit agency
    JEL: I11 I18
    Date: 2005–09
  6. By: Spyros Konstantopoulos (Northwestern University and IZA Bonn); Amelie Constant (IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This study examines the gender gap in wages of young adults in the late 1970s, mid 1980s, and 2000, in the middle and the tails of the wage distribution using quantile regression. We also examine the importance of school quality indicators in predicting future labor market performance. We conduct analyses for three major racial groups in the US: Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. We employ base year and follow up data from two rich longitudinal studies: the National Longitudinal Study (NLS) of high school seniors in 1972 and the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) of eighth graders in 1988. Our results indicate that school quality is an important predictor of and positively associated to future wages for Whites, but it is less so for the two minority groups. We confirm significant gender disparities in wages favoring men across three surveys in the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000 that are unaccounted for. While the unexplained gender gap is evident across the entire wage distribution, it is more pronounced for Whites and less pronounced for Blacks and Hispanics. Overall, the gender gap in wages is more pronounced in higher paid jobs (top 10 percent) for all groups, indicating the presence of a n alarming "glass ceiling."
    Keywords: wages, gender differences, school quality, school effects, quantile regression
    JEL: J16 J24 J31
    Date: 2005–11
  7. By: Guillermo Cruces (ECLAC & STICERD); Sebastian Galiani (Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: We study the effect of fertility on maternal labor supply in Argentina and Mexico exploiting a source of exogenous variability in family size first introduced by Angrist and Evans (1998) for the United States. We find that the estimates for the US can be generalized both qualitatively and quantitatively to the populations of two developing countries where, compared to the US, fertility is known to be higher, female education levels are much lower and there are fewer formal facilities for childcare.
    JEL: J13 J22
    Date: 2005–11–11
  8. By: Neil J Buckley; Frank T Denton; A Leslie Robb; Byron G Spencer
    Abstract: It is well established that there is a positive statistical relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health but identifying the direction of causation is difficult. This study exploits the longitudinal nature of two Canadian surveys, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics and the National Population Health Survey, to study the link from SES to health (as distinguished from the health-to-SES link). For people aged 50 and older who are initially in good health we examine whether changes in health status over the next two to four years are related to prior SES, as represented by income and education. Although the two surveys were designed for different purposes and had different questions for income and health, the evidence they yield with respect to the probability of remaining in good health is similar. Both suggest that SES does play a role and that the differences across SES groups are quantitatively significant, increase with age, and are much the same for men and women.
    Keywords: health transitions, income, education
    JEL: I10
    Date: 2005–10
  9. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome II - Faculty of Economics); Giovanni Trovato (University of Rome II - Faculty of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper tests predictions of a traditional intra-household bargaining model which, under reasonable assumptions, shows that lack of bargaining power in the value chain significantly reduces the capacity of obtaining benefits from increased product demand arising from trade liberalization and therefore is positively associated with child labor. Cross-sectional and panel negative binomial estimates in a sample of emerging countries support this hypothesis showing that proxies of the labor force bargaining power in the international division of labor (such as the share of primary product exports) are significantly related to child labor, net of the effect of traditional controls such as parental income, the quality of education, international aid and trade liberalization. The positive impact of the share of primary product exports on child labor outlines a potential paradox. The paradox suggests that trade liberalisation has not always straightforward positive effects on social indicators and that its short run effects on income distribution and distribution of skills and market power across countries need to be carefully evaluated.
    Keywords: child labor, distribution and growth, trade liberalisation
    JEL: D1 F1 F4
    Date: 2004–10–13
  10. By: Toshiaki Iizuka; Ginger Zhe Jin
    Abstract: We examine the effect of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of drug treatment on two important health habits, smoking and exercise, using the 1997-2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the National Health Insurance Survey (NHIS), and MSA-level DTCA data. We find that the DTCA of tobacco cessation products increases the tendency to smoke for insured people with college education. Similarly, the DTCA related to four chronic conditions reduces the likelihood to engage in moderate exercise. These findings suggest that DTCA does not only affect pharmaceutical demand in the short-run, but also have long-run impacts on people's health by affecting their health habits.
    JEL: I12 I18 D83
    Date: 2005–11
  11. By: Peter Thompson; Mihaela Pintea (Economics Florida International University)
    Abstract: Persistent trends in R&D intensity and educational attainment, in conjunction with the absence of any trend in per capita income growth, are inconsistent with the predictions of most growth models. Jones (2002) has made a strong point that the data are consistent with out-of-steady state predictions of his semi-endogenous growth model. He concludes that when secular increases in R&D intensity and educational attainment will come to an end, income growth can be expected to decline dramatically. In this paper we suggest an alternative explanation that predicts no such collapse. We assume that increases in productivity can result from formal R&D effort and from learning by doing. However, during the latter half of the 20th century, increased technological complexity has made passive learning more difficult. We argue that firms have consequently substituted R&D for learning and, because skilled workers can overcome the challenges of learning in a more complex environment more readily than can unskilled workers, the relative demand for skill has risen. The consequent increase in the returns to skill in turn has induced an increase in educational attainment. Our theory explains how increases in R&D intensity and educational attainment can be equilibrium responses to changing conditions that make growth more difficult. Despite greater complexity, R&D and educational attainment must, as in Jones (2002), eventually cease to grow. But, in stark contrast to Jones, our theory does not imply that income and productivity growth will collapse once the new steady state is reached. We formalize these ideas with a general equilibrium model of R&D and learning in the spirit of earlier work by Young (1991, 1993), Lucas (1993), and Parente (1994). For simplicity we assume that R&D is not necessary to develop new product generations, which arrive to each firm randomly according to an exogenous Poisson process. Instead, R&D is assumed to influence the productivity of a new product at the time it is launched, and the more R&D that is conducted, the less there is left to learn. Skilled labor is a necessary input into R&D, and it also enhances a firm’s ability to learn in production. We further assume that the value of skilled labor in learning increases the more difficult learning is. Thus, we show that an increase in the difficulty of learning raises the demand for skilled workers in R&D and in production. The immediate effect is to increase the price of skill. The initial increase in wages of skilled workers is offset over time by an induced rise in the supply of skills. To sustain an increased supply of skills in the long run wage inequality must remain higher than before the increase in the difficulty of learning. These dynamic responses are obtained in a setting in which the aggregate rate of growth is constant. Thus, a reversal in the difficulty of learning would induce a decline in R&D and in the returns to skill, but no decline in economic growth.
    Keywords: economic growth, R&D, learning
    JEL: O40
    Date: 2005–11–11
  12. By: Erik Canton (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Bert Minne (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Ate Nieuwenhuis (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Bert Smid (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Marc van der Steeg (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: Long-run per capita economic growth is driven by productivity growth. Major determinants of productivity are investments in education and research, and the intensity of competition on product markets. While these ideas have been incorporated into modern growth theories and tested in empirical analyses, they have not yet found their way to applied macroeconomic models used to forecast economic developments. In this paper, we discuss various options to include human capital, R&D and product market competition in a macroeconomic framework. We also study how policy can affect the decisions to build human capital or to perform research, and how competition policy impacts on macroeconomic outcomes. We finally sketch how these mechanisms can be implemented into the large models used at the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB).
    Keywords: Human capital, R&D, competition, applied macroeconomic models
    Date: 2005–08
  13. By: Kurt Schmidheiny; Harris Dellas (Department of Economics Tufts University)
    Abstract: This paper presents the course "Doing Economics with the Computer" we taught since 1999 at the University of Bern, Switzerland. "Doing Economics with the Computer" is a course we designed to introduce sophomores playfully and painlessly into computational economics. Computational methods are usually used in economics to analyze complex problems, which are impossible (or very difficult) to solve analytically. However, our course only looks at economic models, which can (easily) be solved analytically. This approach has two advantages: First, relying on economic theory students have met in their first year, we can introduce numerical methods at an early stage. This stimulates students to use computational methods later in their academic career when they encounter difficult problems. Second, the confrontation with the analytical analysis shows convincingly both power and limits of numerical methods. Our course introduces students to three types of software: spreadsheet and simple optimizer (Excel with Solver), numerical computation (Matlab) and symbolic computation (Maple). The course consists of 10 sessions, we taught each in a 3-hour lecture. In the 1st part of each session we present the economic problem, sometimes its analytical solution and introduce the software used. The 2nd part, in the computer lab, starts the numerical implementation with step-by-step guidance. In this part, students work on exercises with clearly defined questions and precise guidance for their implementation. The 3rd part is a workshop, where students work in groups on exercises with still very clear defined questions but no help on their implementation. This part teaches students how to practically handle numerical questions in a well-defined framework. The 4th part of a session is a graded take home assignment where students are asked to answer general economic questions. This part teaches students how to translate general economic questions into a numerical task and back into an economically meaningful answer. A short debriefing in the following week is part 5 and completes each session
    JEL: A22 C63
    Date: 2005–11–11
  14. By: Dupuy,Arnaud; Marey,Philip (ROA rm)
    Abstract: Skill-biased technical change is usually interpreted in terms of the efficiency parameters of skilled and unskilled labor. This implies that the relative productivity of skilled workers changes proportionally in all tasks. In contrast, we argue that technical changes also affect the curvature of the distribution of relative productivity. Building on Rosen''s (1978) tasks assignment model, this implies that not only the efficiency parameters of skilled and unskilled workers change, but also the elasticity of substitution between skill-types of labor. Using data for the United States between 1963 and 2002, we find significant empirical support for a decrease in the elasticity of substitution at the end of the 70s followed by an increase at the beginning of the 90s. This pattern of the elasticity of substitution has contributed to the labor productivity slowdown in the mid 70s through the 80s and to a speedup in the 90s.
    Keywords: education, training and the labour market;
    Date: 2005
  15. By: Sarbajit Chaudhuri (Dept. of Economics, Calcutta University)
    Abstract: The present paper makes an attempt to examine theoretically the impact of emigration of skilled labour from developing countries on the level of welfare of the non-migrants and the level of urban unemployment of unskilled labour in a three sector Harris-Todaro model. The analysis suggests that in a reasonable production structure for a developing economy a brain drain of skilled labour raises urban unemployment of unskilled labour. The paper also shows that an emigration of skilled labour may raise the welfare of the non-migrants in a tariff-distorted economy if it imports the specialized manufacturing product or the labour-intensive good. However, if the economy imports the traditional manufacturing product, the welfare of the non-emigrating workers is likely to deteriorate.
    Keywords: Emigration of skilled labour; unskilled labour; Harris-Todaro framework; welfare of the non-migrants; urban unemployment
    JEL: F2 F F22 J64
    Date: 2005–11–11
  16. By: Helena Alves (Universidade da Beira Interior); Mário Raposo (Universidade da Beira Interior)
    Abstract: Dada la importancia que la satisfacción y retención de los alumnos está adquiriendo últimamente para la supervivencia de las instituciones de enseñanza universitaria, varios investigadores han intentado encontrar formas fiables de medir esa satisfacción. Este artículo presenta una revisión de las formas tradicionales y más recientes de medir la satisfacción, con especial énfasis en los índices de satisfacción del cliente. Debido al hecho de que estos índices parecen representar las formas más fiables de medir el grado de satisfacción, se procedió al cálculo del índice de satisfacción del estudiante en la Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). Los resultados indicaron que la satisfacción de los alumnos en la Universidade da Beira Interior es de 54 en una escala de 1 a 100; y que esta Universidad deberá prestar especial atención a las variables imagen y valor percibido, por ser las variables que más contribuyeron a la formación del criterio de satisfacción de los alumnos en esta Universidad.
    Keywords: Medición de la Satisfacción, Enseñanza Universitaria, Índice de Satisfacción del alumno.
    JEL: A20 A23 M31
    Date: 2005–11–15

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