nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2007‒09‒30
six papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences By Frenette, Marc; Zeman, Klarka
  2. The Demographic Challenge of the Interconnected Education and Pension System in the Czech Republic By Sergey Slobodyan; Viatcheslav Vinogradov
  3. Why Parents Worry: Initiation into Cannabis Use by Youth and their Educational Attainment By van Ours, Jan C; Williams, Jenny
  4. School grades and students' achievement: how to identify grading standards and measure their effects By Stefano Iacus; Giuseppe Porro
  5. Skill Biased Financial Development: Education, Wages and Occupations in the U.S. Financial Sector By Thomas Philippon; Ariell Reshef
  6. A micro-decomposition analysis of the macroeconomic determinants of human development By van de Walle, Dominique; Ravallion, Martin; Lambert, Sylvie

  1. By: Frenette, Marc; Zeman, Klarka
    Abstract: In this study, we use new Canadian data containing detailed information on standardized test scores, school marks, parental and peer influences, and other socio-economic background characteristics of boys and girls to try to account for the large gender gap in university attendance. Among 19-year-old youth in 2003, 38.8% of girls had attended university, compared with only 25.7% of boys. However, young men and women were about equally likely to attend college. We find that differences in observable characteristics between boys and girls account for more than three quarters (76.8%) of the gap in university participation. In order of importance, the main factors are differences in school marks at age 15, standardized test scores in reading at age 15, study habits, parental expectations and the university earnings premium relative to high school. Altogether, the four measures of academic abilities used in the study "overall marks, performance on standardized reading tests, study habits and repeating grade" collectively account for 58.9% of the gender gap in university participation. These results suggest that understanding why girls outperform boys in the classroom may be a key to understanding the gender divide in university participation.
    Keywords: Education, training and learning, Society and community, Educational attainment, Literacy, Women and gender
    Date: 2007–09–20
  2. By: Sergey Slobodyan; Viatcheslav Vinogradov
    Abstract: In their recent paper, Boldrin and Montes (2005) analyze the “return on human capital investment” theory and show that if borrowing for education is not possible, then a combined public education and pension system that uses lump sum taxes and transfers can replicate the first-best decentralized allocation achieved in an economy without taxes where borrowing for human capital accumulation (education) is allowed. Taking into account that such borrowing is either absent or inefficient in many countries, a combined public education/public pensions scheme in such countries might prove to be welfare enhancing. Guided by this theoretical framework, we calibrate the parameters of an interconnected pension and education system for the Czech Republic under different demographic scenarios and fiscal rules. We also model the impact of an increase in the retirement age and of a hypothetical imbalance of pensions or educational transfers.
    Keywords: Public education, demographic development, pay-as-you-go pensions
    JEL: H52 H55 I22 I28 J11 J26
    Date: 2007–04
  3. By: van Ours, Jan C; Williams, Jenny
    Abstract: In this paper we use individual level data from the Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey to study the relationship between initiation into cannabis use and educational attainment. Using instrumental variable estimation and bivariate duration analysis we find that those initiating into cannabis use early in life are much more likely to dropout of school compared to those who start later on. Moreover, we find that the reduction in years of schooling depends on the age at which initiation occurs, and that it is larger for females than males.
    Keywords: age of initiation; cannabis use; educational attainment
    JEL: C41 D12 I19
    Date: 2007–09
  4. By: Stefano Iacus (Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Milan, IT); Giuseppe Porro (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Trieste)
    Abstract: A new procedure to identify grading practice is proposed. In our approach, grading practice are given in terms of a categorical variable whilst usually in the literature, coefficients of the regression line which models school grades as a function of students' achievement, are taken as indicators of grading standards. The new procedure, which is essentially nonparametric, allows to identity clearly a variety of grading practices and their effect on students' performance. It also shows that ordering grading standards is not possible: hence the usual approach based on regression coefficients is unlikely to be satisfactory. The new methodology is easy to implement and widely applicable. As an example, we consider data from a survey on Italian lower secondary school students. The evidence, which essentially confirms the generic result given in the literature, suggests that higher grading standards improve students' achievement but in our case, grading standards are easily interpretable.
    Keywords: grading practice; students' achievement; classification,
    Date: 2007–08–15
  5. By: Thomas Philippon; Ariell Reshef
    Abstract: Over the past 60 years, the U.S. financial sector has grown from 2.3% to 7.7% of GDP. While the growth in the share of value added has been fairly linear, it hides a dramatic change in the composition of skills and occupations. In the early 1980s, the financial sector started paying higher wages and hiring more skilled individuals than the rest of economy. These trends reflect a shift away from low-skill jobs and towards market-oriented activities within the sector. Our evidence suggests that technological and financial innovations both played a role in this transformation. We also document an increase in relative wages, controlling for education, which partly reflects an increase in unemployment risk: Finance jobs used to be safer than other jobs in the private sector, but this is not longer the case.
    JEL: G2 J21 J24 J3
    Date: 2007–09
  6. By: van de Walle, Dominique; Ravallion, Martin; Lambert, Sylvie
    Abstract: This paper shows how differences in aggregate human development outcomes over time and space can be additively decomposed into a pure economic-growth component, a component attributed to differences in the distribution of income, and components attributed to " non-income " factors and differences in the model linking outcomes to income or non-income characteristics. The income effect at the micro level is modeled non-parametrically, so as to flexibly reflect distributional changes. The paper illustrates the decomposition using data for Morocco and Vietnam, and the results offer some surprising insights into the observed aggregate gains in schooling attainments. A user friendly STATA program is available to implement the method in other settings.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Education For All,Population Policies,Rural Poverty Reduction,Inequality
    Date: 2007–09–01

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