nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2006‒04‒22
fifteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England in Wales: What Do We Know? By Alan Manning; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  2. Comprehensive Education or Vocational Training for the Unemployed? By Stenberg, Anders
  3. The effect of pre-primary education on primary school performance By Samuel Berlinski; Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
  4. Skill Transferability Regret and Mobility By Borghans Lex; Golsteyn Bart
  5. Racial Identity and Education By Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
  6. Tuition fees and admission standards: how do public and private universities really compete for students? By Tania Oliveira
  8. Misreported schooling and returns to education: evidence from the UK By Erich Battistin; Barbara Sianesi
  9. Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery By Justine S. Hastings; Thomas J. Kane; Douglas O. Staiger
  10. Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS By Andreas Ammermueller; Jörn-Steffen Pischke
  11. What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City By Thomas J. Kane; Jonah E. Rockoff; Douglas O. Staiger
  12. The Role of University Characteristics in Determining Post-Graduation Outcomes: Panel Evidence from Three Recent Canadian Cohorts By Julian Betts; Christopher Ferrall; Ross Finnie
  13. On the Link Between On-the-Job Training and Earnings' Dispersion By Saïd Hanchane; Jacques Silber
  15. Teaching urban history in Italian universities By Giovanni Favero; Paola Lanaro

  1. By: Alan Manning (London School of Economics); Jörn-Steffen Pischke (London School of Economics and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: British secondary schools moved from a system of extensive and early selection and tracking in secondary schools to one with comprehensive schools during the 1960s and 70s. Before the reform, students would take an exam at age eleven, which determined whether they would attend an academically oriented grammar school or a lower level secondary school. The reform proceeded at an uneven pace in different areas, so that both secondary school systems coexist during the 1960s and 70s. The British transition therefore provides an excellent laboratory for the study of the impact of a comprehensive versus a selective school system on student achievement. Previous studies analyzing this transition have typically used a value-added methodology: they compare outcomes for students passing through either type of school controlling for achievement levels at the time of entering secondary education. While this seems like a reasonable research design, we demonstrate that it is unlikely to successfully eliminate selection effects in who attends what type of school. Very similar results are obtained by looking at the effect of secondary school environment on achievement at age 11 and controlling for age 7 achievement. Since children only enter secondary school at age 11, these effects are likely due to selection bias. Careful choice of treatment and control areas, and using political control of the county as an instrument for early implementation of the comprehensive regime do not solve this problem.
    Keywords: tracking, selective secondary schooling, comprehensive schools
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2006–04
  2. By: Stenberg, Anders (SOFI, Stockholms universitet)
    Abstract: The Adult Education Initiative (AEI) in Sweden was introduced in the autumn of 1997 and generated a massive expansion of subsidized adult comprehensive education. This paper uses data on a large sample of unemployed persons aged 25 to 55 to evaluate the effects of comprehensive upper secondary education as compared with the vocational part of Labour Market Training (LMT). Register data of annual wage earnings are available from 1991 to 2003. Fixed effects estimates indicate a weaker impact on wage earnings of comprehensive education relative to vocational training. However, for individuals aged 43-55 the parameters are insignificantly different from zero. Coefficient results close to zero are also obtained for females who prior to enrolment had two-year upper secondary school or resided in a municipality associated with a low average educational level.
    Keywords: Adult education; wage earnings
    JEL: H52 J68
    Date: 2005–10–03
  3. By: Samuel Berlinski (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College, London); Sebastian Galiani; Paul Gertler
    Abstract: Although the theoretical case for universal pre-primary education is strong, the empirical foundation is weak. In this paper, we contribute to the empirical case by investigating the effect of a large expansion of universal pre-primary education on subsequent primary school performance in Argentina. We estimate that one year of preprimary school increases average third grade test scores by 8 percent of a mean or by 23 percent of the standard deviation of the distribution of test scores. We also find that preprimary school attendance positively affects student’s self-control in the third grade as measured by behaviors such as attention, effort, class participation, and discipline.
    Date: 2006–03
  4. By: Borghans Lex; Golsteyn Bart (ROA rm)
    Abstract: After graduation many students start working in sectors not related to their field of study or participate in training targeted at work in other sectors. In this paper, we look at mobility immediately after graduation from the perspective that educational choices have been made when these pupils had little experience of the actual working life in these professions. We develop a model where students accumulate partially transferable human capital but also learn about their professional preferences at the university and during the first years in the labor market. As a consequence of this newly acquired insight, these young workers might realize that working in another occupational field would better fit their preferences, although they are better equipped to work in their own field. The empirical analysis reveals that if wages are 1% lower due to lower skill transferability, the probability that a graduate who regrets his choice actually switches decreases by 2.2 percentage points, while those who switch on average take 0.3 months additional education.
    Keywords: education, training and the labour market;
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Patacchini, Eleonora; Zenou, Yves
    Abstract: We investigate the sources of differences in school performance between students of different races by focusing on identity issues. We find that having a higher percentage of same-race friends has a positive effect of white teenagers’ test score while having a negative effect on blacks’ test scores. However, the higher the education level of a black teenager’s parent, the lower this negative effect, while for whites, it is the reverse. It is thus the combination of the choice of friends (which is a measure of own identity) and the parent’s education that are responsible for the difference in education attainment between students of different races but also between students of the same race. One interesting aspects of this paper is to provide a theoretical model that grounds the instrumental variable approach used in the empirical analysis to deal with endogeneity issues.
    Keywords: education achievement; endogeneity issues; ethnic minorities; peer effects
    JEL: A14 I21 J15 J24
    Date: 2006–03
  6. By: Tania Oliveira
    Abstract: We study a market where two universities, a public and a private one, compete for students by setting admission standards. Students differ in ability and receive a wage premium for participating in higher education. This wage increases with the quality of the university attended. The private university maximizes profits, the public university maximizes welfare. We show that there is no "same-standard" equilibrium. In a specific example we show that multiple equilibria can exist. In one equilibrium the private university sets a higher admission standard, and in the other equilibrium the public university sets a higher admission standard.
    Keywords: Competition between private and public universities; educational standards
    JEL: H42 H52 I22
    Date: 2006–04
  7. By: Zamarro,Gemma (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper presents a method for estimating returns to schooling that takes into account that returns may be heterogeneous among agents and that educational decisions are made sequentially. A sequential decision model is interesting because it explicitly considers that the level of education of each individual is the result of previous schooling choices and so, the variation of supply-side instruments over time will emerge as a source of identification of the desired parameters. A test for heterogeneity in returns from sequential schooling decisions is developed and expressions for Marginal Treatment Effects are obtained in this context. Returns are estimated and tested from cross-sectional data from a Spanish household survey that contains rich family background information and useful instruments. This data is stratified by level of education and so estimators are adapted to take this feature into account. Finally, this methodology is used to analyze possible effects of the 1970 reform of the Spanish education system.
    Keywords: schooling;selection models;heterogeneity;sequential decisions;policy evaluation
    JEL: I21 I28 C10 J31
    Date: 2006
  8. By: Erich Battistin (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Barbara Sianesi (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: In this paper we study the impact of misreported treatment status on the estimation of causal treatment effects. We characterise the bias introduced by misclassification on the average treatment effect on the treated under the assumption of selection on observables. Although the bias of matching-type estimators computed from misclassified data cannot in general be signed, we show that the bias is most likely to be downward if misclassification does not depend on variables entering the selection-on-observables assumption, or only depends on such variables via the propensity score index. We extend the framework to multiple treatments. We provide results to bound the returns to a number of educational qualifications in the UK semi-parametrically, and by using the unique nature of our data we assess the plausibility for the two biases from measurement error and from omitted variables to cancel out.
    Keywords: Measurement Error, Misclassification, Programme Evaluation, Returns to Educational Qualifications, Treatment Effect, Bounds
    JEL: C10 I20 J31
    Date: 2006–04
  9. By: Justine S. Hastings; Thomas J. Kane; Douglas O. Staiger
    Abstract: We use data from a public school choice lottery to estimate the effect of attending a first-choice school. For the average student, attending a first-choice school is not associated with improvements in test scores or other academic outcomes. However, academic achievement is only one goal families may have when choosing a school and, depending on their preferences, parents may trade-off academic achievement against other desirable school traits. We estimate the implicit weight families attached to school test scores as revealed by their choices, and test for interactions between those preferences and the impact of winning the lottery. We find that those whose parents placed high weights on school test scores in their school choices experienced significant gains in test scores. Therefore, the impact of winning the lottery on academic achievement depends upon parents' objectives when choosing schools.
    JEL: I0 I2 I20 I28
    Date: 2006–04
  10. By: Andreas Ammermueller (ZEW, Mannheim); Jörn-Steffen Pischke (London School of Economics and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We estimate peer effects for fourth graders in six European countries. The identification relies on variation across classes within schools. We argue that classes within primary schools are formed roughly randomly with respect to family background. Similar to previous studies, we find sizeable estimates of peer effects in standard OLS specifications. The size of the estimate is much reduced within schools. This could be explained either by selection into schools or by measurement error in the peer background variable. When we correct for measurement error we find within school estimates close to the original OLS estimates. Our results suggest that the peer effect is modestly large, measurement error is important in our survey data, and selection plays little role in biasing peer effects estimates. We find no significant evidence of non-linear peer effects.
    Keywords: peer effects, measurement error
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2006–04
  11. By: Thomas J. Kane; Jonah E. Rockoff; Douglas O. Staiger
    Abstract: We use six years of data on student test performance to evaluate the effectiveness of certified, uncertified, and alternatively certified teachers in the New York City public schools. On average, the certification status of a teacher has at most small impacts on student test performance. However, among those with the same certification status, there are large and persistent differences in teacher effectiveness. This evidence suggests that classroom performance during the first two years, rather than certification status, is a more reliable indicator of a teacher's future effectiveness. We also evaluate turnover among teachers with different certification status, and the impact on student achievement of hiring teachers with predictably high turnover. Given relatively modest estimates of experience differentials, even high turnover groups (such as Teach for America participants) would have to be only slightly more effective in their first year to offset the negative effects of their high exit rates.
    JEL: I2 J0
    Date: 2006–04
  12. By: Julian Betts (UC-San Diego); Christopher Ferrall (Queen's University); Ross Finnie (Queen’s University and Statistics Canada)
    Abstract: This paper models earnings of male and female Bachelor’s graduates in Canada five years after graduation. Using a university fixed-effect approach, the research finds evidence of significant (fixed) variations in earnings among graduates from different universities. Within universities changes over time in various characteristics are correlated with changes in graduates’ earnings. Increases in undergraduate enrollment are associated with declines in subsequent earnings for graduates, suggesting crowding out. For men, but not women, increases in the professor/student ratio are associated with meaningful gains in students’ subsequent earnings. Models that do not condition on a student’s major show increased effects of changes in a university’s characteristics, with estimated effects rising up to almost two-fold. For women in particular, changes in several university characteristics are strongly associated with changes in women’s choice of major. Changes in university characteristics are not strongly related to the probability of employment five years after graduation.
    JEL: J0 J3 I2
    Date: 2006–03
  13. By: Saïd Hanchane (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - - [CNRS : UMR6123] - [Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I][Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II] - []); Jacques Silber (Department of Economics - [Bar-Ilan University] - [] - [])
    Abstract: Among the various factors mentioned to explain the increased wage dispersion in several Western countries in the 1980s and 1990s3 the most popular reason seems to be the demand shift in favor of highly skilled workers (see, Bound and Johnson, 1992, or Katz and Murphy, 1992). This shift could explain the growing wage gap between groups of workers with different levels of education and experience. But it could also be a determinant of the increase in within groups (such as those defined on the basis of age and education) inequality (see, Juhn, Murphy and Pierce, 1993).
    Keywords: Transition from school to work
    Date: 2006–04–11
  14. By: Ana María Iregui; Ligia Melo B.; Jorge Ramos F.
    Abstract: En este documento se presenta una visión amplia de los problemas y del funcionamiento del sector educativo en Colombia, con énfasis en la educación pública. Con este fin, en primer lugar, se realiza una evaluación detallada de las normas sobre descentralización educativa, así como de aquellas que rigen la carrera docente en el país; también se evalúa el comportamiento reciente de indicadores de gasto público, cobertura, eficiencia, calidad, se presentan algunas comparaciones internacionales y el esquema de remuneración e incentivos de los docentes. En segundo lugar, se mide el impacto sobre el rendimiento académico de factores asociados al colegio y al entorno socioeconómico de los estudiantes,y se estiman los niveles de eficiencia de una muestra de 4.542 colegios públicos y privados en el año 2002. Para este ejercicio se estima una función de producción del sistema educativo, utilizando técnicas de frontera estocástica. Los resultados indican que las variables asociadas a la infraestructura de los colegios y al entorno socioeconómico de los estudiantes, tienen un impacto positivo y significativo sobre el logro académico. En términos de eficiencia, los resultados muestran que los colegios privados se podrían estar beneficiando de condiciones de entorno más favorables, teniendo en cuenta que estos, en promedio, atienden alumnos de mayores ingresos. No obstante, cuando se asumen entornos equivalentes, no existen grandes diferencias en los niveles de eficiencia entre colegios públicos y privados.
    Date: 2006–03–01
  15. By: Giovanni Favero (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Paola Lanaro (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: This paper presents the situation of Urban History teaching in Italian universities, using the results of a web search and of an inquiry performed among Italian teachers by means of a form distribution and collection.
    Keywords: urban history, teaching, Italy
    JEL: I21 N01
    Date: 2006

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