nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2007‒03‒31
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Resources and Standards in Urban Schools By Stephen Machin; Sandra McNally; Costas Meghir
  2. Does adult education at upper secondary level influence annual wage earnings? By Stenberg, Anders
  3. Principals as Agents? Investigating Accountability in the Compensation and Performance of School Principals By Sherrilyn M. Billger
  4. Does Secondary School Tracking Affect Performance? Evidence from IALS By Kenn Ariga; Giorgio Brunello
  5. Which Factors Determine Academic Performance of Undergraduate Students in Economics? Some Spanish Evidence By Dolado, Juan José; Morales, Eduardo
  6. A Microfoundation for Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation and the Under-Participation Trap By Alison L. Booth; Melvyn Coles
  7. Full-time Schooling, Part-time Schooling, and Wages: Returns and Risks in Portugal By Corrado Andini; Pedro Telhado Pereira
  8. Mother’s Education and Birth Weight By Arnaud Chevalier; Vincent O’Sullivan
  9. School drop-out and push-out factors in Brazil : the role of early parenthood, child labor, and poverty By Cardoso, Ana Rute; Verner, Dorte
  10. Earnings, Schooling and Economic Reform: Econometric Evidence from Hungary (1986-2004) By Nauro F. Campos; Dean Jolliffe
  11. Overeducation and Wages in Europe: Evidence from Quantile Regression. By Ana I. Moro Egido; Santiago Budría
  12. American Economic Development Since the Civil War or the Virtue of Education By Fabrice Murtin
  13. The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005 By Claudia Goldin; Lawrence F. Katz
  14. Web-Based Roadway Geometry Design Software for Transportation Education By Chen-Fu Liao; David Levinson

  1. By: Stephen Machin (University College London, CEE, CEP, London School of Economics and IZA); Sandra McNally (CEE, CEP, London School of Economics and IZA); Costas Meghir (University College London, CEE, Institute for Fiscal Studies and IZA)
    Abstract: Despite being central to government education policy in many countries, there remains considerable debate about whether resources matter for pupil outcomes. In this paper we look at this question by considering an English education policy initiative - Excellence in Cities - which has been a flagship policy aimed at raising standards in inner-city secondary schools. We report results showing a positive impact of the extra resources on school attendance and performance in Mathematics (though not for English) but, interestingly, there is a marked heterogeneity in the effectiveness of the policy. Its greatest impact has been in more disadvantaged schools and on the performance of middle and high ability students within these schools. A back-of-envelope cost-benefit calculation suggests the policy to be cost-effective. We conclude that additional resources can matter for children in the poorest secondary schools, particularly when building on a solid educational or ability background. However, small changes in resources have little or no effect on the ‘hard to reach’ children who have not achieved a sufficiently strong prior level.
    Keywords: education, resources, evaluation, disadvantage
    JEL: I21 H52 C52
    Date: 2007–03
  2. By: Stenberg, Anders (Stockholm University, SOFI)
    Abstract: Adult education at upper secondary level (AE) is an integral part of the Swedish educational system. Of the cohort born in 1970, about one third has at some point been registered in AE. This evaluation of AE is the first to use register data on the course credits actually attained. The results indicate that credits equal to one year of AE yield point estimates that range from 5 per cent for individuals with prior two-year upper secondary school to 15 per cent for those with prior compulsory school. The positive effects are mainly driven by courses in health related subjects and computer science. Of the participants in AE, more than 40 per cent continue to university. The returns to years in higher education are not found to be different between individuals with and without a prior AE registration except for those with one year or less at university.
    Keywords: Adult education; wage earnings
    JEL: H52 J68
    Date: 2007–02–20
  3. By: Sherrilyn M. Billger (Illinois State University and IZA)
    Abstract: In this study I examine the relationship between accountability (e.g., state sanctions for poor performance, or the presence of goals required by the district) and public secondary principal pay and school performance. Though such incentives and standards are increasingly common, the existing literature provides little evidence on the effectiveness of these policies. I explore cross-sectional variation in data from the Schools and Staffing Survey, and use quantile regressions where the conditional distributions of pay and school outcomes reflect variation in performance that is not observable in the data. I find that accountability coincides with lower college matriculation rates and lower principal pay, particularly for the best principals. On the other hand, accountability corresponds to higher retention rates at the worst schools. Though they may not be directly rewarded, school principals appear to act as agents for students in danger of dropping out.
    Keywords: pay for performance, school principals, school accountability, education finance
    JEL: J3 J48 I22
    Date: 2007–03
  4. By: Kenn Ariga (Kyoto University); Giorgio Brunello (University of Padova, CESifo and IZA)
    Abstract: There is substantial cross-country variation in secondary school design, with some countries tracking students into different ability schools very early, and other countries with little or no tracking at all. Does tracking length affects school performance, as measured by standardized test scores? We use the international data from the International Adult Literacy Survey to estimate the relationship between the experienced tracking length and the performance in standardized cognitive test scores of young adults, aged between 16 and the mid-twenties. Our IV estimates suggest that the contribution of tracking to performance is positive and statistically significant: conditional on total years of schooling, one additional year spent in a track raises average performance by 3.3 to 3.4 percentage points, depending on the estimates.
    Keywords: tracking, secondary schools, efficiency
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2007–02
  5. By: Dolado, Juan José; Morales, Eduardo
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of academic performance of first-year undergraduate students in Economics at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, over the period 2001-2005. We focus on a few core subjects which differ in their degree of mathematical complexity. Type of school, specialization track at high school, and the grades obtained at the university entry-exam are among the key factors we examine. Our main finding is that those students who completed a technical track at high school tend to do much better in subjects involving mathematics than those who followed a social sciences track (tailor-made for future economics students) and that the latter do not perform significantly better than the former in subjects with less degree of formalism. Moreover, students from public schools are predominant in the lower and upper parts of the grade distribution while females tend to perform better than males.
    Keywords: academic performance; multinomial logit; pre-university determinants; quantile regressions
    JEL: I21 I29
    Date: 2007–03
  6. By: Alison L. Booth; Melvyn Coles
    Abstract: This paper considers educational investment, wages and hours of market work in an imperfectly competitive labour market with heterogeneous workers and home production. It investigates the degree to which there might be both underemployment in the labour market and underinvestment in education. A central insight is that the ex-post participation decision of workers endogeneously generates increasing marginal returns to education. Although equilibrium implies underinvestment in education, optimal policy is not to subsidise education. Instead it is to subsidise labour market participation which we argue might be efficiently targeted as state provided childcare support.
    Keywords: Education, home production, hours of work, imperfect competition.
    JEL: H24 J13 J24 J31 J42
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: Corrado Andini (University of Madeira and CEEAplA); Pedro Telhado Pereira (University of Madeira, CEEAplA, CEPR and IZA)
    Abstract: The standard wage equation proposed by Mincer (1974) assumes that individuals start working after leaving school, which is not the actual case for many people. Using longitudinal data on Portuguese male workers, former working students, we estimate the total impact of an additional year of full-time schooling on both the mean and the shape of the conditional wage distribution. The same exercise is also performed for part-time schooling. We find that the conditional average earnings return to one year of part-time schooling is much lower than the analogous return to one year of full-time schooling. However, the conditional wage risk implied by one year of part-time schooling is much lower than the analogous risk implied by one year of full-time schooling, thus complicating policy considerations. Nevertheless, we find evidence that the full-time schooling strategy dominates, in conditional wage distribution, the part-time schooling strategy, meaning that the choice of working while enrolled in school does not ultimately pay.
    Keywords: working students, return to schooling, wage level, panel data
    JEL: I21 J31 C23
    Date: 2007–03
  8. By: Arnaud Chevalier (Royal Holloway University of London, University College Dublin, London School of Economics and IZA); Vincent O’Sullivan (Warwick University and University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Low birth weight has considerable short and long-term consequences and leads to high costs to the individual and society even in a developed economy. Low birth weight is partially a consequence of choices made by the mother pre- and during pregnancy. Thus policies affecting these choices could have large returns. Using British data, maternal education is found to be positively correlated with birth weight. We identify a causal effect of education using the 1947 reform of the minimum school leaving age. Change in compulsory school leaving age has been previously used as an instrument, but has been criticised for mostly picking up time trends. Here, we demonstrate that the policy effects differ by social background and hence provide identification across cohorts but also within cohort. We find modest but heterogenous positive effects of maternal education on birth weight with an increase from the baseline weight ranging from 2% to 6%.
    Keywords: returns to education, health
    JEL: I12 I29
    Date: 2007–02
  9. By: Cardoso, Ana Rute; Verner, Dorte
    Abstract: This paper aims to identify the major drop-out and push-out factors that lead to school abandonment in an urban surrounding-the shantytowns of Fortaleza, Northeast Brazil. The authors use an extensive survey addressing risk factors faced by the population in these neighborhoods, which cover both in-school and out-of-school youth of both genders. They focus on the role of early parenthood, child labor, and poverty in pushing teenagers out of school. The potential endogeneity of some of the determinants is dealt with in the empirical analysis. The authors take advantage of the rich set of variables available and apply an instrumental variables approach. Early parenthood is instrumented with the age declared by the youngsters as the ideal age to start having sexual relationships. Work is instrumented using the declared reservation wage (minimum salary acceptable to work). Results indicate that early parenthood has a strong impact of driving teenagers out of school. Extreme poverty is another factor lowering school attendance, as children who have suffered hunger at some point in their lives are less likely to attend school. In this particular urban context, working does not necessarily have a detrimental effect on school attendance, which could be linked to the fact that dropping out of school leads most often to inactivity and not to work.
    Keywords: Education For All,Youth and Governance,Population Policies,Tertiary Education,Street Children
    Date: 2007–03–01
  10. By: Nauro F. Campos (Brunel University, CEPR, WDI and IZA); Dean Jolliffe (Economic Research Service, USDA, NPC, WDI and IZA)
    Abstract: How does the relationship between earnings and schooling change with the introduction of comprehensive economic reform? This paper sheds light on this question using a unique data set and procedure to reduce sample selection bias. Our evidence is from consistently coded, non-retrospective data for about 4 million Hungarian wage earners. We find that returns to skill increased by 75 percent from 1986 to 2004 (that is, during the period stretching from communism to full membership in the European Union). Moreover, our results identify winners and losers from reform. Winners were the college and university educated and those employed in the services sector (which excludes those in public services). Our results show that reform losers were those in construction and agriculture, those who attained only primary or vocational education (who actually experience a decrease in the returns to their education) as well as those younger workers which acquired most of their education after the collapse of communism (that is, after the main reforms were in place).
    Keywords: human capital, transition economies, economic reform
    JEL: I20 J20 J24 J31 O15 O52 P20
    Date: 2007–03
  11. By: Ana I. Moro Egido (Centro de Estudios Andaluces); Santiago Budría (Universidad de Madeira y CEEAPLA)
    Abstract: La literatura existente ha asumido que el efecto de la sobre-educación es constante a lo largo de la distribución condicional de salarios. En este artículo usamos la regresión cuantílica con datos de 12 países europeos para mostrar que las diferencias entre los segmentos de la distribución de los hechos son grandes. Sobretodo, analizamos hasta qué punto la sobre-educación está relacionada con la falta de habilidades.
    Keywords: Returns to education, overeducation,quantile regression,skills heterogeneity,rendimiento de la educación, sobre-educación,regresión cuantílica, heterogeneidad en la habilidad.
    JEL: C29 D31 I21
    Date: 2007
  12. By: Fabrice Murtin
    Abstract: This paper is the first empirical framework that explains the phenomenon of fast growthcombined with the demographic transition occurring in the United States since 1860. Ipropose a structural model that unifies those events through the role of education: the keyfeature is that parental education determines simultaneously fertility, mortality and children'seducation, so that the accumulation of education from one generation to another explains bothfast growth and the reduction of fertility and mortality rates. Using original data, the model isestimated and fits in a remarkable way income, the distribution of education and agepyramids. Moreover, some historical data on Blacks, assumed to constitute the bottom of thedistribution of education, show that the model predicts correctly the joint distribution offertility and education, and that of mortality and education. Comparisons with the PSIDsuggest that the intergenerational correlation of income is also well captured. Thus, thismicrofunded growth model based on human capital accumulation accounts for many traits ofAmerican economic development since 1860. In a second step, I investigate the long-runinfluence of income inequality on growth. Because children's human capital is a concavefunction of parental income, income inequality slows down the accumulation of humancapital across generations and hence growth. Simulations show that this effect is large.
    Keywords: Unified Growth Theory, Human capital, Technological Progress, Inequality andGrowth
    JEL: D31 E27 F02 N00 O40
    Date: 2006–12
  13. By: Claudia Goldin; Lawrence F. Katz
    Abstract: U.S. educational and occupational wage differentials were exceptionally high at the dawn of the twentieth century and then decreased in several stages over the next eight decades. But starting in the early 1980s the labor market premium to skill rose sharply and by 2005 the college wage premium was back at its 1915 level. The twentieth century contains two inequality tales: one declining and one rising. We use a supply-demand-institutions framework to understand the factors that produced these changes from 1890 to 2005. We find that strong secular growth in the relative demand for more educated workers combined with fluctuations in the growth of relative skill supplies go far to explain the long-run evolution of U.S. educational wage differentials. An increase in the rate of growth of the relative supply of skills associated with the high school movement starting around 1910 played a key role in narrowing educational wage differentials from 1915 to 1980. The slowdown in the growth of the relative supply of college workers starting around 1980 was a major reason for the surge in the college wage premium from 1980 to 2005. Institutional factors were important at various junctures, especially during the 1940s and the late 1970s.
    JEL: I2 J2 J3 N3 O3
    Date: 2007–03
  14. By: Chen-Fu Liao; David Levinson (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: Traditionally, students use pencil and ruler to lay out lines and curves over contour maps for roadway geometry design. Numerous calculations of stopping sight distance, minimum turning radius, and curve alignments are required during the roadway design process in order to ensure safety, to minimize economic and environmental impacts, as well as to reduce construction costs. Iterative computations during the design process are usually performed manually by the students in order to meet any given design criteria and environmental constraints. The traditional design process of roadway geometry design is often cumbersome and time consuming. It limits students from taking a broader perspective on the overall roadway design process. An Internet-based roadway design tool (ROAD: Roadway Online Application for Design) was developed to enhance the learning experience for transportation engineering students. This tool allows students to efficiently design and to easily modify the roadway design with given economic and environmental parameters. A 3D roadway geometry model can be generated by the software at final design to allow students immerse themselves in the driver’s seat and drive through the designed roadway at maximum design speed. This roadway geometry design tool was deployed and tested in a civil engineering undergraduate class in spring 2006 at University of Minnesota, Department of Civil Engineering. Feedback was collected from instructors and students that will lead to additional enhancements of the roadway design software.
    JEL: R4 A23
    Date: 2007

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