nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2006‒05‒06
eleven papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know? By Manning, Alan; Pischke, Jörn-Steffen
  2. School and Residential Ethnic Segregation:An Analysis of Variations across England’s Local Education Authorities By Ron Johnston; Deborah Wilson; Simon Burgess; Richard Harris
  3. Participation in Adult Schooling and its Earnings Impact in Canada By Zhang, Xuelin; Palameta, Boris
  4. The Importance of Functional Literacy: Reading and Math Skills and Labour Market Outcomes of High School Drop-outs By Finnie, Ross; Meng, Ronald
  5. On the Importance of Finnishing School: Half a Century of Inter-Generational Economic Mobility in Finland By Sari Pekkala; Robert E. B. Lucas
  6. Ethnicity and the Millennium Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean By Matías Busso; Martín Cicowiez; Leonardo Gasparini
  7. Equality of Opportunity and Optimal Cash and In-Kind Policies By Leonardo Gasparini; Santiago Pinto
  8. Simulating Income Distribution Changes in Bolivia: a Microeconometric Approach By Leonardo Gasparini; Mariana Marchionni; Federico H. Gutierrez
  9. Assessing the returns to studying abroad By Hessel Oosterbeek; Dinand Webbink
  10. Incidencia de las Horas Trabajadas en el Rendimiento Académico de Estudiantes Universitarios Argentinos By María Victoria Fazio
  11. Educación y Mercado de Trabajo By Martín Tetaz

  1. By: Manning, Alan; Pischke, Jörn-Steffen
    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 valueadded 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: comprehensive schools; selective secondary schooling; tracking
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2006–04
  2. By: Ron Johnston; Deborah Wilson; Simon Burgess; Richard Harris
    Abstract: Schools are central to the goals of a multi-cultural society, but their ability to act as arenas within which meaningful inter-cultural interactions take place depends on the degree to which students from various cultural backgrounds meet there. Using recently-released data on the ethnic composition of both schools and small residential areas, this paper explores not only the extent of ethnic segregation in England’s schools but also whether that segregation is greater than the underpinning segregation in the country’s residential areas. The results show greater segregation in schools – considerably so for primary schools and more so for some ethnic groups relative to others – than in neighbourhoods, patterns which have considerable implications for educational policy.
    Keywords: ethnic segregation, neighbourhoods, schools
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2006–04
  3. By: Zhang, Xuelin; Palameta, Boris
    Abstract: Based on a sample drawn from Statistics Canada's Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID: 1993 to 1998 and 1996 to 2001), the study finds that young (17 to 34 years old) and single workers were more likely than older (35 to 59 years old) and married and divorced workers to participate in adult schooling and to obtain a post-secondary certificate. Workers with less than a high school education who might have the greatest need to increase their human capital investment were less likely to participate in adult education than workers with high school or more education. The study shows that male workers who obtained a post-secondary certificate while staying with the same employer generally registered higher wage and earnings gains than their counterparts who did not go back to school, regardless of age and initial level of education. On the other hand, men who obtained a certificate and switched jobs generally realized no significant return to their additional education, with the exception of young men (17 to 34 years old) who would receive significant returns to a certificate, whether they switched employer or stayed with the same employer. Obtaining a certificate generated significant wage and earnings returns for older women (aged 35 to 59) who stayed with the same employer, and significant wage returns for young women who switched employers.
    Keywords: Labour, Education, Salaries and wages, Adult education
    Date: 2006–03–24
  4. By: Finnie, Ross; Meng, Ronald
    Abstract: This study assesses the effects of literacy and numeracy skills on the labour market outcomes of Canadian high school drop-outs. We find that these skills have significant effects on the probability of being employed and on hours and weeks of work for both men and women, and also have strong (direct) influences on men's, but not women's, incomes. These findings imply that high school curricula that develop literacy and numeracy skills could provide significant returns even for those who do not complete their programs and wind up at the lower end of the labour market. Our findings similarly suggest that training programs catering to drop-outs could substantially improve these individuals' labour market outcomes by developing these basic skills. The results also have implications for dual labour market theory, since it is often assumed that the secondary market is characterized by minimal returns to human capital'contrary to what is found here.
    Keywords: Labour, Education, Employment, Literacy
    Date: 2006–03–27
  5. By: Sari Pekkala (Government Institute for Economic Research); Robert E. B. Lucas (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University)
    Abstract: Trends in inter-generational economic mobility in Finland are analyzed using panel data from 1950 through 1999 on more than 200 thousand sons and daughters born between 1930 and 1970. A significant decline is estimated in the inter-generational transmission elasticity from the 1930 birth cohort until the baby boom cohorts of the early1950s. After that we observe no increase in the extent of mobility for 1950s and 1960s birth cohorts. The result holds both for sons and daughters. The quite dramatic transformation of the Finnish economy in the second half of the twentieth century is outlined in the paper. However, a decomposition of the inter-generational transmission elasticities across cohorts shows that most of the decline in transmission reflected a reduction in the impact of family income on duration of children’s education accompanied by a decline in the returns to schooling. Despite the large volume of rural–urban migration during this period of transformation, regional mobility played only a minor role in increasing economic mobility.
    Keywords: Inter-generational mobility, cohorts, education, migration
    JEL: J62
  6. By: Matías Busso (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Martín Cicowiez (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Leonardo Gasparini (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Keywords: ethnicity, race, MDG, poverty, education, Latin America, Caribbean
    Date: 2005–09
  7. By: Leonardo Gasparini (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Santiago Pinto (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the argument for public provision of certain private goods, like education and health, based on equality of opportunity by studying the utility possibility frontier of a society in which there is a concern for the distribution of these goods. A given quality of education or health services can be consumed for free in the public sector, but people can opt-out and purchase their desired quality levels in the private sector. Some of the conclusions are: (i) a pure cash transfer is optimal when the utility redistribution is either “sufficiently” small or large; (ii) if and only if both the equality-of-opportunity concern and the utility redistribution are large enough, can an in-kind program which attracts the whole population be justified; (iii) even when everybody chooses the in-kind program, it may be optimal to perform some additional utility redistribution by increasing the size of such program.
    Keywords: equality of opportunity, redistribution, education, in-kind
    JEL: D3 H4 I2
    Date: 2005–04
  8. By: Leonardo Gasparini; Mariana Marchionni (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata; Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata); Federico H. Gutierrez (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
    Abstract: This paper uses microeconometric simulations to characterize the distributional changes occurred in the Bolivian economy in the period 1993-2002, and to assess the potential distributional impact of various alternative economic scenarios for the next decade. Wage equations for urban and rural areas estimated by both OLS and quantile regression are the main inputs for the microsimulations. A sizeable increase in the dispersion in worker unobserved wage determinants is the main factor behind the significant increase in household income inequality in the 90s. The results of the microsimulations suggest a small poverty-reducing effect of several potential scenarios, including education upgrading, sectoral transformations, labor informality reduction, gender and race wage gap closing, and changes in the structure of the returns to education. Sustainable and vigorous productivity growth seems to be a necessary condition for Bolivia to meet the poverty Millennium Development Goal by 2015.
    Keywords: distribution, Bolivia, wages, decompositions, quantile, education, MDG
    JEL: C15 D31 I21 J23 J31
    Date: 2004–08
  9. By: Hessel Oosterbeek; Dinand Webbink
    Abstract: The market for higher education increasingly becomes an international market. Nowadays, the number of students studying abroad is substantial and increasing. Many governments stimulate students to study abroad by offering a wide range of grants. However, little is known on the returns to studying abroad. This paper explores the feasibility of a new approach for finding credible evidence on the returns to studying abroad. We use a sample of graduates who applied for a specific grant for studying abroad and compare the outcomes of graduates who received the grant with the outcomes of graduates who did not receive the grant. The ranking of the applicants by the selection committee has been used to create credible control groups. We find that the grant has increased the probability of studying abroad with 23 to 42%-points and the duration of the study with 7 to 9 months. An extension of the study with 7 to 9 months increases the probability of living abroad with 30 to 39%-points. Studying abroad is associated with higher wages. However, it is not clear whether these higher wages are caused by studying abroad.
    Keywords: Studying abroad; causal effects; natural experiment
    JEL: I2 J24 J31
    Date: 2006–05
  10. By: María Victoria Fazio
    Abstract: En este trabajo se investiga la incidencia del trabajo del estudiante en su desempeño académico. Para analizar la relación entre el tiempo dedicado al trabajo y el desempeño académico de los alumnos se utilizan datos del Primer Censo de estudiantes de universidades nacionales de 1994. Los resultados compatibilizan con los argumentos contrapuestos sobre esta relación. Por un lado, si se postula un modelo lineal, se encuentra que las horas trabajadas inciden negativamente sobre el rendimiento. Por otro lado, en una especificación no lineal, las horas trabajadas se asocian en forma positiva y decreciente. En otros términos, para un nivel moderado de horas trabajadas, la incidencia puede ser positiva. Si se consideran sólo los alumnos con trabajos vinculados a la carrera, también se encuentra una relación no lineal, donde la relación positiva se evidencia para un mayor nivel de horas trabajadas. En contraste, si se analiza sólo el grupo con trabajos no vinculados, la relación resulta negativa, cualquiera sea el nivel de horas trabajadas. La investigación provee fundamentos empíricos a la legislación universitaria sobre pasantías acerca de las condiciones del trabajo del estudiante que preserven su desempeño académico.
    Keywords: trabajo del estudiante, rendimiento académico, horas trabajadas
    JEL: I21 I28 J31
    Date: 2004–06
  11. By: Martín Tetaz (U.N.L.P. U.N.N.O.B.A.)
    Abstract: La presente obra es un estudio integral de economía de la educación, que abarca 4 grandes temas; a saber: La determinación de la inteligencia y su relación con la educación; La función de producción de educación y los determinantes del rendimiento educativo; La decisión de asignación del tiempo entre trabajo, estudio y ocio en un enfoque intertemporal; y Las tasas de retorno de las inversiones en capital humano. El trabajo presenta, además, el análisis de una base de datos ad hoc, inédita, y la realización de un conjunto de experimentos para testear hipótesis sobre la función de producción de educación Aunque se recomienda la lectura de toda la obra, ésta está organizada de manera que su lectura pueda efectuarse en forma separada, capítulo a capítulo en función de los intereses particulares de cada lector.
    JEL: I2 J2 J3 J4 H8 C9 R2
    Date: 2005–10

This nep-edu issue is ©2006 by Joao Carlos Correia Leitao. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.