nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2006‒02‒26
twenty-one papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Competition and Resource Effectiveness in Education By David Mayston
  2. Parallel lives? Ethnic segregation in schools and neighbourhoods By Simon Burgess; Ruth Lupton; Deborah Wilson
  3. Mother's Education and Child Health: Is There a Nurturing Effect? By Yuyu Chen; Hongbin Li
  4. The Dynamics of School Attainment of England’s Ethnic Minorities By Adam Briggs; Simon Burgess; Deborah Wilson
  5. New Evidence on Race Discrimination under "Separate but Equal" By Bradley A. Hansen; Mary Eschelbach Hansen
  6. An econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression in post-reform Italian Universities By Gianna Boero; Tiziana Laureti; Robin Naylor
  7. Parental Investment in Childhood and Later Adult Well-Being: Can More Involved Parents Offset the Effects of Socioeconomic Disadvantage? By Darcy Hango
  8. The return to firm investment in human capital By Carneiro, Pedro; Almeida, Rita
  9. University competition: Symmetric or asymmetric quality choices? By Vanhaecht E.; Pauwels W.
  10. Is Spanish-Only Schooling Responsible for the Puerto Rican Language Gap? By Joshua Angrist; Aimee Chin; Ricardo Godoy
  11. Wage inequality and unemployment with overeducation By Xavier Cuadras Morató; Xavier Mateos-Planas
  12. Political Selection and the Quality ofGovernment: Evidence from South India By Timothy Besley; Rohini Pande; Vijayendra Rao
  13. Social Segregation in Secondary Schools : How Does England Compare with Other Countries ? By Stephen P. Jenkins; John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf
  14. Human Capital and Interethnic Marriage Decisions By Delia Furtado
  15. Demand (and Supply) in an Inter-District Public School Choice Program By Randall Reback
  16. Teacher-Student Matching and the Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness By Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
  17. Why Does Spousal Education Matter for Earnings? Assortative Mating or Cross-productivity By Chong Huang; Hongbin Li; Pak Wai Liu; Junsen Zhang
  18. The Roles of High School Completion and GED Receipt in Smoking and Obesity By Donald S. Kenkel; Dean R. Lillard; Alan D. Mathios
  19. Urban Poverty, School Attendance, and Adolescent Labor Force Attachment: Some Historical Evidence By Howard Bodenhorn
  20. The Causes of Political Integration: An Application to School Districts By Nora Gordon; Brian Knight
  21. Health Supplier Quality and the Distribution of Child Health By Simon Burgess; Carol Propper; John A. Rigg

  1. By: David Mayston
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of competition in the markets for teachers and for housing on the long-standing issue of the influence of school resourcing on educational attainment. The existence of such competition is found to imply not only downward bias in many earlier empirical estimates of the role of resources in the educational production function, but also powerful general equilibrium effects, especially for the impact of relative levels of school resources upon the distribution of relative levels of educational attainment across individual schools, that highlight the importance of how resources are distributed across individual schools. The paper derives optimal resource allocation rules for distributing government educational budgets across individual schools and examines the properties of the associated funding formulae.
    Date: 2006–02
  2. By: Simon Burgess; Ruth Lupton; Deborah Wilson
    Abstract: We provide evidence on the extent of ethnic segregation experienced by children across secondary schools and neighbourhoods (wards). Using 2001 Schools Census and Population Census data we employ the indices of dissimilarity and isolation and compare patterns of segregation across nine ethnic groups, and across Local Education Authorities in England. Looking at both schools and neighbourhoods, we find high levels of segregation for the different groups, along with considerable variation across England. We find consistently higher segregation for South Asian pupils than for Black pupils. For most ethnic groups children are more segregated at school than in their neighbourhood. We analyse the relative degree of segregation and show that high population density is associated with high relative school segregation.
    Keywords: education, sorting
    JEL: J7 J16 J42
    Date: 2005–06
  3. By: Yuyu Chen; Hongbin Li
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine the effect of maternal education on the health of young children by using a large sample of adopted children from China. As adopted children are genetically unrelated to the nurturing parents, the educational effect on them is most likely to be the nurturing effect. We find that the mother's education is an important determinant of the health of adopted children even after we control for income, the number of siblings, health environments, and other socioeconomic variables. Moreover, the effect of the mother's education on the adoptee sample is similar to that on the own birth sample, which suggests that the main effect of the mother's education on child health is in post-natal nurturing. Our work provides new evidence to the general literature that examines the determinants of health and that examines the intergenerational immobility of socioeconomic status.
    JEL: I12 I21 O15
    Date: 2006–02
  4. By: Adam Briggs; Simon Burgess; Deborah Wilson
    Abstract: We exploit a universe dataset of state school students in England with linked test score records to document the evolution of attainment through school for different ethnic groups. The analysis yields a number of striking findings. First, we show that, controlling for personal characteristics, all minority groups make greater progress than white students over secondary schooling. Second, much of this improvement occurs in the high-stakes exams at the end of compulsory schooling. Third, we show that for most ethnic groups, this gain is pervasive, happening in almost all schools in which these students are found. We address some of the usual factors invoked to explain attainment gaps: poverty, language, school quality, and teacher influence. We conclude that our findings are more consistent with the importance of factors like aspirations and attitudes.
    Keywords: Ethnic test score gap, school attainment, education
    JEL: I20 J15
    Date: 2006–01
  5. By: Bradley A. Hansen; Mary Eschelbach Hansen (Department of Economics, American University)
    Abstract: Recently uncovered 1906 Virginia teacher-salary data allow for more precise and consistent estimation of marginal returns to certification and formal education than available in previous studies. Virginia’s “separate but equal” educational system paid black teachers in rural counties lower wages than it paid white teachers and on average paid a lower premium to blacks for certification and formal education that it paid to whites. In incorporated cities, returns to certification and normal school education were about the same for black teachers and white teachers, although average salaries were lower for black teachers.
    Keywords: race discrimination, teacher salaries
    JEL: N3 J7
    Date: 2005–09
  6. By: Gianna Boero; Tiziana Laureti; Robin Naylor
    Abstract: As in much of Europe, and in the particular context of the Bologna Convention on tertiary education, the Italian university system has experienced substantial reform in recent years, the major aims of which include increasing the participation, progression and retention rates of students in higher education. Reform has reduced the length of undergraduate degree programmes to three years with the intention that students should be able to graduate at an earlier age than in the past, in line with graduates from other European countries. This paper offers a first econometric analysis of student withdrawal and progression three years after the introduction of major reform. We use administrative data on students of two Italian universities in a probit model of the probability that the student drops out, and an OLS model of student progression. Our analyses suggest that, notwithstanding the reforms, the drop-out (withdrawal) rate is still very high and only a small proportion of students are likely to complete their studies within the institutional time. In particular, we find that differences in students’ prior educational background and performance have remarkably large effects on their withdrawal and progression probabilities. We infer from our results that poor retention and completion rates of Italian university students are unlikely to improve without further significant institutional change.
    Keywords: Dropping out, student progression, probit models, university reform
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Darcy Hango
    Abstract: Parental involvement in their children's lives can have a lasting impact on well-being. More involved parents convey to their children that they are interested in their development, and this in turn signals to the child that their future is valued. However, what happens in socio-economically disadvantaged homes? Can the social capital produced by greater parental involvement counteract some of the harmful effects of less financial capital? These questions are examined on the National Child Development Study; a longitudinal study of children born in Britain in 1958. Results on a sample of children raised in two parent families suggest that parental involvement does matter, but that it depends on when it and poverty are measured, as well as the type of involvement and the gender of the parent. Father interest in education has the strongest impact on earlier poverty, especially at age 11. Meanwhile, both father and mother interest in school at age 16 have the largest direct impact on education. The frequency of outings with mother at age 11 also has a larger direct impact on education than outings with father, however, neither compare with the reduction in the poverty effect as a result of father interest in school.
    Keywords: parental involvement, socioeconomic disadvantage, social capital, education, National Child Development Study
    JEL: I21 I32 J13 Z13
    Date: 2005–05
  8. By: Carneiro, Pedro; Almeida, Rita
    Abstract: In this paper the authors estimate the rate of return to firm investments in human capital in the form of formal job training. They use a panel of large firms with unusually detailed information on the duration of training, the direct costs of training, and several firm characteristics such as their output, workforce characteristics, and capital stock. Their estimates of the return to training vary substantially across firms. On average it is -7 percent for firms not providing training and 24 percent for those providing training. Formal job training is a good investment for many firms and the economy, possibly yielding higher returns than either investments in physical capital or investments in schooling. In spite of this, observed amounts of formal training are small.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Education For All,Access & Equity in Basic Education,Tertiary Education,Economic Theory & Research
    Date: 2006–02–01
  9. By: Vanhaecht E.; Pauwels W.
    Abstract: In this paper we model competition between two publicly financed and identical universities deciding on quality and on admission standards. The education offered by the two universities is differentiated horizontally and vertically. If horizontal differentiation dominates, the Nash equilibrium is symmetric, and the two universities offer the same quality levels. If vertical differentiation dominates, the Nash equilibrium is asymmetric, and the high quality university attracts the better students. Symmetric and asymmetric equilibria may also coexist. We highlight the importance of three driving forces behind these results: a single crossing condition, the peer group effect, and the students' mobility costs. We also compare the monopoly and the duopoly case. The model we use is an extension of Del Rey's [8] model.
    Date: 2005–08
  10. By: Joshua Angrist; Aimee Chin; Ricardo Godoy
    Abstract: Between 1898 and 1948, English was the language of instruction for most post-primary grades in Puerto Rican public schools. Since 1949, the language of instruction in all grades has been Spanish. We use this policy change to estimate the effect of English-intensive instruction on the English-language skills of Puerto Ricans. Although naive estimates suggest that English instruction increased English-speaking ability among Puerto Rican natives, estimates that allow for education-specific cohort trends show no effect. This result is surprising in light of the strong presumption by American policymakers at the time that instruction in English was the best way to raise English proficiency. This has implications for medium of instruction policy in former colonies as well as U.S. education policy toward immigrant children.
    JEL: I28 O15 J15 J24
    Date: 2006–02
  11. By: Xavier Cuadras Morató; Xavier Mateos-Planas
    Abstract: A skill-biased change in technology can account at once for the changes observed in a number of important variables of the US labour market between 1970 and 1990. These include the increasing inequality in wages, both between and within education groups, and the increase in unemployment at all levels of education. In contrast, in previous literature this type of technology shock cannot account for all of these changes. The paper uses a matching model with a segmented labour market, an imperfect correlation between individual ability and education, and a fixed cost of setting up a job. The endogenous increase in overeducation is key to understand the response of unemployment to the technology shock.
    Keywords: Unemployment, wage premium, overeducation, SBTC
    JEL: E24 J31 J64
    Date: 2006–01
  12. By: Timothy Besley; Rohini Pande; Vijayendra Rao
    Abstract: This paper uses household data from India to examine the economic and socialstatus of village politicians, and how individual and village characteristics a®ectpolitician behavior while in o±ce. Education increases the chances of selectionto public o±ce and reduces the odds that a politician uses political poweropportunistically. In contrast, land ownership and political connections enableselection but do not a®ect politician opportunism. At the village level, changesin the identity of the politically dominant group alters the group allocation ofresources but not politician opportunism. Improved information °ows in thevillage, however, reduce opportunism and improve resource allocation.
    Date: 2005–08
  13. By: Stephen P. Jenkins; John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf
  14. By: Delia Furtado (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Despite a longstanding belief that education importantly affects the process of immigrant assimilation, little is known about the relative importance of different mechanisms linking these two processes. This paper explores this issue through an examination of the effects of human capital on one dimension of assimilation, immigrant intermarriage. I argue that there are three primary mechanisms through which human capital affects the probability of intermarriage. First, human capital may make immigrants better able to adapt to the native culture thereby making it easier to share a household with a native. Second, it may raise the likelihood that immigrants leave ethnic enclaves, thereby decreasing the opportunity to meet potential spouses of the same ethnicity. Finally, assortative matching on education in the marriage market suggests that immigrants may be willing to trade similarities in ethnicity for similarities in education when evaluating potential spouses. Using a simple spouse-search model, I first derive an identification strategy for differentiating the cultural adaptability effect from the assortative matching effect, and then I obtain empirical estimates of their relative importance while controlling for the enclave effect. Using U.S. Census data, I find that assortative matching on education is the most important avenue through which human capital affects the probability of intermarriage. Further support for the model is provided by deriving and testing some of its additional implications.
    Keywords: Interethnic Marriage, Human Capital, Second-Generation Immigrants, Assimilation
    JEL: J12 I21 J15
    Date: 2006–02
  15. By: Randall Reback (Barnard College, Columbia University)
    Abstract: This study examines parents’ demand for sending their children to a public school located outside their residential school district. Using a unique data set that contains information concerning both inter-district transfers and rejections of transfer applications, I am able to identify which school district characteristics attract the greatest demand for incoming transfers. The analyses reveal that mean student test scores are stronger predictors of transfer demand than both students’ socio-economic characteristics and school district spending, suggesting that parents care more about outcomes than inputs. In addition, while districts are only supposed to reject transfer students due to capacity concerns, districts’ supply decisions are also correlated with differences in student performance across neighboring districts.
    Keywords: school choice, inter-district open enrollment, public school demand
    JEL: I21 I28 H40
    Date: 2004–10
  16. By: Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
    Abstract: We use administrative data on North Carolina public schools to document the tendency for more highly qualified teachers to be matched with more advantaged students, and we measure the bias this pattern generates in estimates of the impacts of various teacher qualifications on student achievement. One of the strategies we use to minimize this bias is to restrict the analysis to schools that assign students to classrooms in a manner statistically indistinguishable from random assignment. Using data for 5th grade, we consistently find significant returns to teacher experience in both math and reading and to licensure test scores in math achievement. We also find that the returns in math are greater for socioeconomically advantaged students, a finding that may help explain why the observed form of teacher-student matching persists in equilibrium.
    JEL: I2 J4
    Date: 2006–01
  17. By: Chong Huang; Hongbin Li; Pak Wai Liu; Junsen Zhang
    Abstract: In interpreting the positive relationship between spousal education and one's earnings, economists have two major hypotheses: cross-productivity between couples and assortative mating. However, no prior empirical study has been able to separate the two effects. This paper empirically disentangles the two effects by using twins data that we collected from urban China. We have two major innovations: we use twins data to control for the unobserved mating effect in our estimations, and we estimate both current and wedding-time earnings equations. Arguably, the cross-productivity effect takes time to be realized and thus is relatively unimportant at the time of the wedding. Any effect of spousal education on wedding-time earnings should more likely be the mating effect. We find that both cross-productivity and mating are important in explaining the current earnings. Although the mating effect exists for both husbands and wives, the cross-productivity effect only runs from Chinese husbands to wives. We further show that the cross-productivity effect is realized by increasing the hourly wage rate rather than working hours.
    JEL: J31 O15 P20
    Date: 2006–01
  18. By: Donald S. Kenkel; Dean R. Lillard; Alan D. Mathios
    Abstract: We analyze data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to explore the relationships between high school completion and the two leading preventable causes of death – smoking and obesity. We focus on three issues that have received a great deal of attention in research on the pecuniary returns to schooling. First, we investigate whether GED recipients differ from other high school graduates in their smoking and obesity behaviors. Second, we explore the extent to which the relationships between schooling and these health-related behaviors are sensitive to controlling for family background measures and cognitive ability. Third, we estimate instrumental variables (IV) models of the impact of schooling on smoking and obesity. Although our IV estimates are imprecise, both the OLS and IV results tend to suggest that the returns to high school completion include a reduction in smoking. We find little evidence that high school completion is associated with a lower probability of being overweight or obese for either men or women. The results also suggest that the health returns to GED receipt are much smaller than the returns to high school completion.
    JEL: I1 I2
    Date: 2006–01
  19. By: Howard Bodenhorn
    Abstract: It is well known that children raised in poverty demonstrate lower academic achievement than children raised in affluence. This study extends previous studies in three ways. First, it estimates structural instead of reduced-form models of child academic attainment. Such structural models explicitly account for choices made by children themselves, given choices made by parents and governments. Second, it provides an historical insight into the connections between poverty, child choices and educational outcomes. Nearly all extent work considers the late 20th century. This study uses a unique data set from the mid-nineteenth century. And, third, this study documents the choices underlying adolescent labor force participation. Youth in poor households are more likely than affluent youth to be asked to contribute income to the household. The choice to do so is influenced by parental choices and the expected reduction in the child's later-life wealth attributable to choosing work over additional schooling.
    JEL: I1 I3 N3
    Date: 2006–02
  20. By: Nora Gordon; Brian Knight
    Abstract: This paper examines the forces behind political integration through the lens of school district consolidations, which reduced the number of school districts in the United States from around 130,000 in 1930 to under 15,000 at present. Despite this large observed decline, many districts resisted consolidation before ultimately merging and others never merged, choosing to remain at enrollment levels that nearly any education cost function would deem inefficiently small. Why do some districts voluntarily integrate while others remain small, and how do those districts that do merge choose with which of their neighbors to do so? In addressing these questions, we empirically examine the role of potential economies and diseconomies of scale, heterogeneity between merger partners, and the role of state governments. We first develop a simulation-based estimator that is rooted in the economics of matching and thus accounts for three important features of typical merger protocol: two-sided decision making, multiple potential partners, and spatial interdependence. We then apply this methodology to a wave of school district mergers in the state of Iowa during the 1990s. Our results highlight the importance of economies of scale, diseconomies of scale, state financial incentives for consolidation, and a variety of heterogeneity measures.
    JEL: H4 H7 I2 C7
    Date: 2006–02
  21. By: Simon Burgess; Carol Propper; John A. Rigg
    Abstract: There is emerging evidence to suggest that initial differentials between the health of poor and more affluent children in the UK do not widen over early childhood. One reason may be that through the universal public funded health care system all children have access to equally effective primary care providers. This paper examines this explanation. The analysis has two components. It first examines whether children from poorer families have access to general practitioners of a similar quality to children from richer families. It then examines whether the quality of primary care to which a child has access has an impact on their health at birth and on their health during early childhood. The results suggest that children from poor families do not have access to markedly worse quality primary care, and further, that the quality of primary care does not appear to have a large effect on differentials in child health in early childhood.
    Keywords: primary care quality, child health
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2005–06

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