nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2007‒09‒02
seventeen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Persistence of the School Entry Age Effect in a System of Flexible Tracking By Patrick A. Puhani; Andrea M. Weber
  2. Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment in Germany: The Last Five Decades By Guido Heineck; Regina T. Riphahn
  3. To Segregate or to Integrate: Education Politics and Democracy By David de la Croix; Matthias Doepke
  4. Re-Examining the Role of Teacher Quality In the Educational Production Function By Cory Koedel; Julian Betts
  5. The Causal Effect of Studying on Academic Performance By Todd R. Stinebrickner; Ralph Stinebrickner
  6. Educational attainment and second births in Romania By Cornelia Muresan
  7. Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions By Christian Belzil; Marco Leonardi
  8. Determinants of Academic Attainment in the US: a Quantile regression analysis of test scores By Haile, Getinet; Nguyen, Ngoc Anh
  9. Differences in the College Enrollment Decision Across Race By Robert Baumann
  10. Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement? Longitudinal Evidence from One Urban School District By Raegen T. Miller; Richard J. Murnane; John B. Willett
  11. Evidence about the Potential Role for Affirmative Action in Higher Education By Braz Camargo; Todd Stinebrickner; Ralph Stinebrickner
  12. Class Size and Sorting in Market Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence By Miguel Urquiola; Eric A. Verhoogen
  13. A Study of Academic Entrepreneurs Using Venture Capital Data By Junfu Zhang
  15. La educación en Colombia: Análisis del marco normativo y de los indicadores sectoriales By Ana M. Iregui; Ligia Melo; Jorge Ramos
  16. Family Background and Income during the Rise of the Welfare State: Brother Correlations in Income for Swedish Men Born 1932-1968 By Anders Björklund; Markus Jäntti; Matthew J. Lindquist
  17. Sports and the Law: Using Court Cases to Teach Sports Economics By Victor Matheson

  1. By: Patrick A. Puhani (Leibniz University of Hannover, SIAW, University of St. Gallen and IZA); Andrea M. Weber (Leibniz University of Hannover and Darmstadt University of Technology)
    Abstract: In Germany, the streaming of students into an academic or nonacademic track at age 10 can be revised at later stages of secondary education. To investigate the importance of such revisions, we use administrative data on the student population in the German state of Hessen to measure the persistence of school entry age’s impact on choice of secondary school track. Based on exogenous variation in the school entry age by birth month, we obtain regression discontinuity estimates for different cohorts and grades up to the end of secondary education. We show that the effect of original school entry age on a student’s later attending grammar school disappears exactly at the grade level in which educational institutions facilitate track modification.
    Keywords: education, identification, regression discontinuity design, instrumental variables, relative maturity
    JEL: I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2007–08
  2. By: Guido Heineck (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg); Regina T. Riphahn (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and IZA)
    Abstract: Over the last decades the German education system underwent numerous reforms in order to improve "equality of opportunity", i.e. to guarantee all pupils equal access to higher education. At the same time internationally comparative evidence yields that Germany features particularly low intergenerational mobility with respect to educational attainment. This study investigates the development in intergenerational education mobility in Germany for the birth cohorts 1929 through 1978 and tests whether the impact of parental background on child educational outcomes changed over time. In spite of massive public policy interventions and education reforms our results yield no significant reduction in the role of parental background for child outcomes over the last decades.
    Keywords: education transmission, intergenerational mobility, schooling, human capital transmission
    JEL: I21 I28 J11
    Date: 2007–08
  3. By: David de la Croix (CORE, Catholic University of Louvain); Matthias Doepke (University of California, Los Angeles, CEPR, NBER and IZA)
    Abstract: The governments of nearly all countries are major providers of primary and secondary education to their citizens. In some countries, however, public schools coexist with private schools, while in others the government is the sole provider of education. In this study, we ask why different societies make different choices regarding the mix of private and public schooling. We develop a theory which integrates private education and fertility decisions with voting on public schooling expenditures. In a given political environment, high income inequality leads to more private education, as rich people opt out of the public system. More private education, in turn, results in an improved quality of public education, because public spending can be concentrated on fewer students. Comparing across political systems, we find that concentration of political power can lead to multiple equilibria in the determination of public education spending. The main predictions of the theory are consistent with state-level and micro data from the United States as well as cross-country evidence from the PISA study.
    Keywords: public education, private education, voting, democracy
    JEL: D72 I21 H42 O10
    Date: 2007–08
  4. By: Cory Koedel (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia); Julian Betts
    Abstract: This study uses administrative data linking students and teachers at the classroom level to estimate teacher value-added to student test scores. We find that variation in teacher quality is an important contributor to student achievement more important than has been implied by previous work. This result is attributable, at least in part, to the lack of a ceiling effect in the testing instrument used to measure teacher quality. We also show that teacher qualifications are almost entirely unable to predict value-added. Motivated by this result, we consider whether it is feasible to incorporate value-added into evaluation or merit pay programs.
    Keywords: teacher quality, educational production, teacher value-added, value-added, test-score ceiling effects, teacher evaluation, teacher accountability, elementary school
    JEL: I20 I21 J24
    Date: 2007–08–22
  5. By: Todd R. Stinebrickner; Ralph Stinebrickner
    Abstract: Despite the large amount of attention that has been paid recently to understanding the determinants of educational outcomes, knowledge of the causal effect of the most fundamental input in the education production function - students' study time and effort - has remained virtually non-existent. In this paper, we examine the causal effect of studying on grade performance using an Instrumental Variable estimator. Our approach takes advantage of a unique natural experiment and is possible because we have collected unique longitudinal data that provides detailed information about all aspects of this experiment. Important for understanding the potential impact of a wide array of education policies, the results suggest that human capital accumulation is far from predetermined at the time of college entrance.
    JEL: I2 J22 J24
    Date: 2007–08
  6. By: Cornelia Muresan (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: This study investigates the effect of educational attainment and educational enrolment on the risks of second birth in Romania, using data from the Generations and Gender Survey of 2005. Looking at the 1950-2005 period, we found a persistently negative effect of education on second birth, i.e., women with a relatively high level of education have lower risks of birth. Being in education significantly reduces the risk of second birth compared to women with no educational qualification. The risk is not lower, however, when we compare women who are still enrolled in education with individuals who have a high level of education. The strong negative effect of age at first birth observed when we do not control for personality weakens once we control for unobserved heterogeneity. We also show the extent to which changes in the socio-political regime, in family policies, and in the educational system affect the impact of education on second births.
    Keywords: Romania, education of women, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2007–08
  7. By: Christian Belzil (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CIRANO and IZA); Marco Leonardi (University of Milan and IZA)
    Abstract: We develop a non-rational expectation econometric model of sequential schooling decisions. Using unique Italian panel data in which individual differences in attitudes toward risk are measurable (with error), we investigate the effect of risk aversion on the probability of entering higher education. This allows us to characterize the subjective (as opposed to the objective) effect of higher education on marginal risk exposure. Because the measure of risk aversion (the classical Arrow-Pratt degree of absolute risk aversion) is posterior to schooling decisions, it depends on current wealth realizations and we must therefore take into account its endogeneity. We also allow risk aversion to be measured with error. After taking into account both the endogeneity of wealth and measurement error, we find that risk aversion is a key determinant (comparable to parents’ educational background) of the decisions to enter higher education. Precisely, risk aversion acts as a deterrent to higher education investment.
    Keywords: risk aversion, ex-ante risk, schooling, subjective beliefs, dynamic discrete choices
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2007–08
  8. By: Haile, Getinet; Nguyen, Ngoc Anh
    Abstract: We investigate the determinants of high school students’ academic attainment in maths, reading and science; focusing particularly on possible effects that ethnicity and family background may have on attainment. Using data from the NELS2000 and employing quantile regression techniques, we find two important results. First, the gaps in maths, reading and science test scores among ethnic groups vary across the conditional quantiles of the measured test scores. Specifically, Blacks and Hispanics tend to fare worse in their attainment at higher quantiles, particularly in science. Secondly, the effects of family background factors such as parental education and father’s occupation also vary across quantiles of the test score distribution. The implication of these findings is that the commonly made broad distinction on whether one is from a privileged/disadvantaged ethnic and/or family background may not tell the whole story that the academic attainment discourse has to note. Interventions aimed at closing the gap in attainment between Whites and minorities may need to target higher levels of the test score distribution.
    Keywords: Educational attainment; Quantile regression;
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2007
  9. By: Robert Baumann
    Abstract: The gap in college enrollment rates between whites and blacks has remained stable since 1990, despite large increases in tuition and higher average wages for whites. We find the determinants of the enrollment decision differ greatly between whites and blacks, and within race between black males and females, but not between white males and females. These systematic differences require separate enrollment estimations for each race and for blacks each gender. Specifically, responses to changes in family income, parents’ education, and school quality are vastly different across race-gender groups.
    Keywords: college, enrollment, tuition, race, education
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2007–08
  10. By: Raegen T. Miller; Richard J. Murnane; John B. Willett
    Abstract: Rates of employee absences and the effects of absences on productivity are topics of conversation in many organizations in many countries. One reason is that high rates of employee absence may signal weak management and poor labor-management relations. A second reason is that reducing rates of employee absence may be an effective way to improve productivity. This paper reports the results of a study of employee absences in education, a large, labor-intensive industry. Policymakers' concern with teacher absence rests on three premises: (1) that a significant portion of teachers' absences is discretionary, (2) that teachers' absences have a nontrivial impact on productivity, and (3) that feasible policy changes could reduce rates of absence among teachers. This paper presents the results of an empirical investigation of the first two of these premises; it discusses the third premise. We employ a methodology that accounts for time-invariant differences among teachers in skill and motivation. We find large variation in adjusted teacher absence rates among schools. We estimate that each 10 days of teacher absences reduce students' mathematics achievement by 3.3 percent of a standard deviation.
    JEL: I2 J08 J22 J33 J38
    Date: 2007–08
  11. By: Braz Camargo; Todd Stinebrickner; Ralph Stinebrickner
    Abstract: In two recent cases involving the University of Michigan (Gratz v. Bollinger and Gruttinger v. Bollinger), the Supreme Court examined whether race should be allowed to play an explicit role in the admission decisions of schools. The arguments made in support of affirmative action admission policies in these cases and others raise two fundamental questions. First, do students actually have incorrect beliefs about individuals from different races at the time of college entrance? Second, if students do have incorrect beliefs at the time of college entrance, can diversity on a college campus change these beliefs? While a small literature has recently shed some light on the second question, no previous work has been able to provide direct evidence about the first one. In this paper we examine the first question by taking advantage of unique data collected specifically for this purpose.
    JEL: I2 J0 J15 K0
    Date: 2007–08
  12. By: Miguel Urquiola (Columbia University and NBER); Eric A. Verhoogen (Columbia University, BREAD, CEPR and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper examines how schools choose class size and how households sort in response to those choices. Focusing on the highly liberalized Chilean education market, we develop a model in which schools are heterogeneous in an underlying productivity parameter, class size is a component of school quality, households are heterogeneous in income and hence willingness to pay for school quality, and schools are subject to a class-size cap. The model offers an explanation for two distinct empirical patterns observed among private schools that accept government vouchers: (i) There is an inverted-U relationship between class size and household income in equilibrium, which will tend to bias cross-sectional estimates of the effect of class size on student performance. (ii) Some schools at the class size cap adjust prices (or enrollments) to avoid adding another classroom, which produces stacking at enrollments that are multiples of the class size cap. This generates discontinuities in the relationship between enrollment and household characteristics at those points, violating the assumptions underlying regression-discontinuity (RD) research designs. This result suggests that caution is warranted in applying the RD approach in settings in which parents have substantial school choice and schools are free to set prices and influence their enrollments.
    Keywords: class size, sorting, regression discontinuity
    JEL: I2 O1 C2 L1
    Date: 2007–07
  13. By: Junfu Zhang (Clark University and IZA)
    Abstract: Academic entrepreneurship has become an increasingly important channel through which universities contribute to economic development. This paper studies academic entrepreneurs using a comprehensive venture capital database. I find that about two-thirds of the academic entrepreneurs locate their businesses in the same state as their universities. National academy membership and number of faculty awards, measures of a university’s research quality, are the most significant variables in explaining the number of academic entrepreneurs from a university. In contrast, the abundance of venture capital near the university has no significant effect on academic entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: academic entrepreneur, university spin-off, venture capital
    JEL: M13
    Date: 2007–08
  14. By: Pasquale De Muro; Francesco Burchi
    Abstract: In the world there are approximately 800 million people who live in condition of food insecurity and illiteracy. This paper shows that education is a key to food security for rural populations in developing countries. Attention is drawn to rural areas because they are traditionally more disadvantaged by national educational policies. The theoretical foundation of this research is that being educated improves rural people’s capacity to diversify assets and activities, increase productivity and income, foster resilience and competitiveness, access information on health and sanitation, strengthen social cohesion and participation: these are all essential elements to ensure food security in the long run. The main findings of this research are the following: first, the association between food insecurity and primary education is very high, while it decreases progressively with basic, secondary, and tertiary education. Such a two-way relationship is expressed through graphical tools and correlation coefficients. Second, the econometric model shows that primary education is a crucial element to reduce food insecurity in rural areas, even when compared to other factors such as access to water, health, and sanitation. Concluding from this model, an increase of access to primary education by 100% causes a decrease of food insecurity by approximately 20% or 24% depending on the definition of food insecurity and its measurement. Finally, since in most of developing countries the majority of people live in rural areas, and since it is in these areas that the largest proportion of world poverty and hunger exists, we can conclude that education for rural people is a relevant tool for promoting overall national food security.
    Keywords: Education, Food Security, Human Development, Cross-
    JEL: I2 Q18 O15 C31
    Date: 2007–07
  15. By: Ana M. Iregui; Ligia Melo; Jorge Ramos
    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. Inicialmente, se realiza una breve descripción de la política educativa durante las últimas décadas. Posteriormente, 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 algunos indicadores sectoriales sobre gasto público, cobertura, eficiencia y calidad. Finalmente, se presentan algunas comparaciones internacionales y se analiza el esquema de remuneración e incentivos de los docentes. El comportamiento de los indicadores sectoriales, durante los últimos años, sugiere que el esfuerzo del Estado en materia de educacióon ha estado orientado principalmente a la ampliación de los niveles de cobertura.
    Date: 2006–08–01
  16. By: Anders Björklund (SOFI, Stockholm University and IZA); Markus Jäntti (Abo Akademi University); Matthew J. Lindquist (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: The goal of this study is to examine trends in the importance of family background in determining adult income in Sweden. We investigate whether the association between family background and income in Sweden has changed for cohorts born 1932-1968. Our main finding is that the share of the variance in long-run income that is attributable to family background, the so-called brother correlation in income, has fallen by some 11 percentage points from 0.34 for the cohorts of brothers born in the early 1930s to below 0.23 for the cohorts born around 1950. From then on, the correlations have been more or less stable and are in line with earlier estimates. When we adjust income for the income return to years of schooling, we find constant brother correlations in income. The main effect is coming from changes in the distribution of schooling across cohorts. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that education policies have been a key factor in equalizing life chances in Sweden.
    Keywords: sibling correlation, intergenerational mobility, family background
    JEL: D1 D3 J62
    Date: 2007–08
  17. By: Victor Matheson (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it lays forth a rationale for the use of court cases in teaching a sports economics class. Second, it provides an overview of the most important cases related to sports economics. Court classes allow students to develop critical reading and reasoning skills while allowing the instructor to present readings outside the standard textbook that are accessible to most undergraduates. A sports economics course with a focus on legal issues also broadens the course to fit better within a liberal arts education rather than being a narrow speciality field.
    Keywords: sports, court cases, legal economics
    JEL: L83 K21 K31 K40
    Date: 2007–09

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