nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2006‒05‒13
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design By Jens Ludwig; Douglas L. Miller
  2. Product Differentiation or Spatial Monopoly? The Market Areas of Austrian Universities in Business Education By Gunther Maier
  3. Income Shocks and Gender Gaps in Education: Evidence from Uganda By Björkman, Martina
  4. Increasing Returns to Education: Theory and Evidence By Alison Booth; Melvyn Coles; Xiaodong Gong
  5. Non-pecuniary returns to higher education: The effect on smoking intensity in the UK By Alfonso Miranda; Massimiliano Bratti
  6. Getting girls into school : evidence from a scholarship program in Cambodia By Schady, Norbert; Filmer, Deon
  7. The Impact of Homework on Student Achievement By Eren,Ozkan; Henderson,J. Daniel
  8. Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS By Andreas Ammermueller; Jörn-Steffen Pishcke
  9. Do High School Exit Exams Influence Educational Attainment or Labor Market Performance? By Thomas S. Dee; Brian A. Jacob
  10. Educational Qualification, Work Status and Entrepreneurship in Italy: an Exploratory Analysis By Fabio Sabatini
  11. Measures of human capital: A review of the literature By Trinh Le; John Gibson; Les Oxley
  12. Education, Growth, and Redistribution in the Presence of Capital Flight By Areendam Chanda; Debajyoti Chakrabarty; Chetan Ghate
  13. The Academic Achievement Gap in Grades 3 to 8 By Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
  14. Public Preschool and Maternal Labor Supply: Evidence from the Introduction of Kindergartens into American Public Schools By Elizabeth Cascio

  1. By: Jens Ludwig (Georgetown University, NBER and IZA Bonn); Douglas L. Miller (University of California, Davis and NBER)
    Abstract: This paper exploits a new source of variation in Head Start funding to identify the program’s effects on health and schooling. In 1965 the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) provided technical assistance to the 300 poorest counties to develop Head Start proposals. The result was a large and lasting discontinuity in Head Start funding rates at the OEO cutoff for grantwriting assistance. We find evidence of a large drop at the OEO cutoff in mortality rates for children from causes that could be affected by Head Start, as well as suggestive evidence for a positive effect on educational attainment.
    Keywords: early childhood education, poverty, schooling, health, Head Start
    JEL: I18 I20 I38
    Date: 2006–05
  2. By: Gunther Maier
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Björkman, Martina (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper uses exogenous variation in rainfall across districts in Uganda to estimate the causal effects of household income shocks to in children’s enrollment and cognitive skills conditional on gender. I find negative income shocks to have large negative and highly significant effects on female enrollment in primary schools and the effect grows stronger for older girls. The effect on boys’ enrollment is smaller and only marginally significant. Moreover, I find that a negative income shock has an adverse effect on test scores in general and test scores of female students in particular. The results imply that households respond to income shocks by varying the quantity and quality of girls’ education while boys are to a larger extent sheltered – a finding consistent with a model where parents’ values of child labor differ across sexes.
    Keywords: Rainfall; education; test scores; gender
    JEL: D13 I21 O12
    Date: 2006–03–02
  4. By: Alison Booth (Economics Program, RSSS, ANU); Melvyn Coles; Xiaodong Gong
    Abstract: We model educational investment and labor supply in a competitive economy with home and market production. Heterogeneous workers are assumed to have different productivities both at home and in the workplace. We show that there are increasing returns to education at the labor market participation margin, and that these depend directly on the elasticity of labor supply with respect to wages. Thus the increasing returns to education problem will be most relevant for women or other types with large enough home productivity. We estimate a three equation recursive model of working hours, wages and years of schooling, and find empirical support for the main predictions of the model.
    Keywords: returns to education, home production, labor supply
    JEL: H24 J13 J24 J31 J42
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Alfonso Miranda (Keele University, Centre for Economic Research and School of Economic and Management Studies); Massimiliano Bratti (Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Milan)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate whether higher education (HE) produces non-pecuniary returns via a reduction in the consumption of health-damaging substances. In particular, the paper focuses on studying the smoking intensity of British individuals. We use data on current smokers from the 1970 British Cohort Study and estimate endogenous switching count models for cigarette consumption. Results show that HE is endogenous with smoking. Once endogeneity is controlled for, HE is found to have a higher negative effect on smoking than in models where it is treated as exogenous.
    Keywords: Endogenous switching, count data, higher education, smoking, UK
    JEL: C35 I12 I21
    Date: 2006–04
  6. By: Schady, Norbert; Filmer, Deon
    Abstract: Increasing the schooling attainment of girls is a challenge in much of the developing world. The authors evaluate the impact of a program that gives scholarships to girls making the transition between the last year of primary school and the first year of secondary school in Cambodia. They show that the scholarship program had a large, positive effect on the school enrollment and attendance of girls. Their preferred set of estimates suggests program effects on enrollment and attendance at program schools of 30 to 43 percentage points. Scholarship recipients were also more likely to be enrolled at any scchool (not just program schools) by a margin of 22 to 33 percentage points. The impact of the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) program appears to have been largest among girls with the lowest socioeconomic status at baseline. The results are robust to a variety of controls for observable differences between scholarship recipients and nonrecipients, to unobserved heterogeneity across girls, and to selective attrition out of the sample.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Gender and Education,Gender and Development
    Date: 2006–05–01
  7. By: Eren,Ozkan (Southern Methodist University); Henderson,J. Daniel (State University of New York at Binghamton)
    Abstract: Utilizing parametric and nonparametric techniques, we asses the role of a heretofore relatively unexplored “input” in the educational process, homework, on academic achievement. Our results indicate that homework is an important determinant of student test scores. Relative to more standard spending related measures, extra homework has a larger and more significant impact on test scores. However, the effects are not uniform across different subpopulations; we find additional homework to be most effective for high and low achievers. Moreover, the parametric estimates of the educational production function overstate the impact of schooling related inputs. In all estimates, the homework coefficient from the parametric model maps to the upper deciles of the nonparametric distribution and as a by-product the parametric model understates the percentage of students with negative responses to additional homework.
    Keywords: Generalized Kernel Estimation,Nonparametric,School Inputs,Stochastic Dominance,Student Achievement
    JEL: C21 I21 I28
    Date: 2006–04–27
  8. By: Andreas Ammermueller; Jörn-Steffen Pishcke
    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.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2006–05
  9. By: Thomas S. Dee; Brian A. Jacob
    Abstract: State requirements that high school graduates pass exit exams were the leading edge of the movement towards standards-based reform and continue to be adopted and refined by states today. In this study, we present new empirical evidence on how exit exams influenced educational attainment and labor market experiences using data from the 2000 Census and the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data (CCD). Our results suggest that the effects of these reforms have been heterogeneous. For example, our analysis of the Census data suggests that exit exams significantly reduced the probability of completing high school, particularly for black students. Similarly, our analysis of grade-level dropout data from the CCD indicates that Minnesota's recent exit exam increased the dropout rate in urban and high-poverty school districts as well as in those with a relatively large concentration of minority students. This increased risk of dropping out was concentrated among 12th grade students. However, we also found that Minnesota's exit exam lowered the dropout rate in low-poverty and suburban school districts, particularly among students in the 10th and 11th grades. These results suggest that exit exams have the capacity to improve student and school performance but also appear to have exacerbated the inequality in educational attainment.
    JEL: I2 J3
    Date: 2006–05
  10. By: Fabio Sabatini
    Abstract: This paper provides an exploratory analysis on the relationship between educational qualification and work status in Italy, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and self-employed workers. Rough data are drawn from four waves (1995, 1998, 2002, and 2004) of the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW) carried out by the Bank of Italy. Stylised facts emerging from the empirical evidence are the surprisingly low level of educational qualification exhibited by employers and the tendency of workers holding higher levels of educational qualification not to chose to undertake an entrepreneurial activity. Such workers generally become members of the arts and professions, or take up a career as high-level employees.
    Keywords: Education, Work status, Employment, Self-employment, Entrepreneurship, Human capital
    JEL: I21 J23 J24 M13
    Date: 2006–05
  11. By: Trinh Le; John Gibson; Les Oxley (The Treasury)
    Abstract: Human capital is increasingly believed to play an important role in the growth process, however, adequately measuring its stock remains controversial. This paper identifies three general approaches to human capital measurement; cost-based, income-based and education-based, and presents a critical review of the theories and their applications to data from a range of countries. Emphasis on empirical evidence will be given to the case of New Zealand.
    Keywords: human capital, economic growth
    JEL: C52 F43 N10 O41
    Date: 2005–11
  12. By: Areendam Chanda; Debajyoti Chakrabarty; Chetan Ghate
    Abstract: The conventional wisdom in the literature on capital controls and growth argues that capital controls increase the ability of a government to tax capitalists which proves detrimental for growth. To address this issue, we construct an OLG model to study the effect of capital controls on human capital investments and the incidence of redistributive taxation in a growing economy. We argue to the contrary: i.e., the conventional wisdowm linking higher capital controls to lower growth is reproduced only when an economy is sufficiently developed. For under-developed countries, higher capital controls can induce balanced growth, and the wisdom does not apply. When the model is augmented with a subsistence sector, we show that if workers are sufficiently poor, then workers do not invest in human capital. Hence, a modern sector does not exist. Higher capital controls however makes it feasible for a modern sector to exist by lowering the threshold income level required by workers to invest in human capital. Our results are consistent with recent evidence which show that, while financial liberalizations are associated with significant increases in growth, the effect is larger for countries with high education levels. Our results are also consistent with empirical evidence that argues that liberalizing the capital account positively affects growth only after a country has achieved a certain degree of economic development.
  13. By: Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
    Abstract: Using data for North Carolina public school students in grades 3 to 8, we examine achievement gaps between white students and students from other racial and ethnic groups. We focus on successive cohorts of students who stay in the state's public schools for all six years, and study both differences in means and in quantiles. Our results on achievement gaps between black and white students are consistent with those from other longitudinal studies: the gaps are sizable, are robust to controls for measures of socioeconomic status, and show no monotonic trend between 3rd and 8th grade. In contrast, both Hispanic and Asian students tend to gain on whites as they progress through these grades. Looking beyond simple mean differences, we find that the racial gaps between low-performing students have tended to shrink as students progress through school, while racial gaps between high-performing students have widened. Racial gaps differ widely across geographic areas within the state; very few of the districts or groups of districts that we examined have managed simultaneously to close the black-white gap and raise the relative test scores of black students.
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2006–05
  14. By: Elizabeth Cascio
    Abstract: Beginning in the mid-1960s, many state governments, particularly in the South and West, began to subsidize kindergartens for the first time. These initiatives generated wide variation across states over time in the supply of seats for five year olds in public schools. This paper uses the staggered timing and age-targeting of these preschool expansions to examine how the provision of universal child care through public schools affects maternal labor supply. I find that single women with five year olds but no younger children were more likely to be employed once kindergartens were available. The estimated effect is large, implying that three mothers entered the labor force for every ten children enrolled in public school. By contrast, I detect no significant labor supply response among other single women with eligible children or among married mothers of five year olds. These findings complement other research suggesting that preschools targeted toward at-risk populations, such as children in single-parent families, are more cost effective than universal programs.
    JEL: H52 I20 J13 J22
    Date: 2006–05

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