nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2007‒12‒01
twelve papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects By Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
  2. Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments By Justine S. Hastings; Jeffrey M. Weinstein
  3. Why Parents Worry: Initiation into Cannabis Use by Youth and their Educational Attainment By Jan C. van Ours; Jenny Williams
  4. Skills Mismatch and Returns to Training in Australia:Some New Evidence By George Messinis; Nilss Olekalns
  5. Education and Civic Engagement: Review of Research and a Study on Norwegian Youths By Jon Lauglo; Tormod Óia
  6. Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.? By Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
  7. A Human Development Index by Income Groups By Grimm, Michael; Harttgen, Kenneth; Klasen, Stephan; Misselhorn, Mark
  8. Skilled Voices?: Reflections on Political Participation and Education in Austria By Florian Walter; Sieglinde Rosenberger
  9. Migration, Self-selection and Returns to Education in the WAEMU By Philippe De Vreyer; Flore Gubert; François Roubaud
  10. Skills required for innovation: A review of the literature By Petr Hanel
  11. Do On-Line Labor Market Intermediaries Matter? The Impact of AlmaLaurea on the University-to-Work Transition By Manuel F. Bagues; Mauro Sylos Labini
  12. Population Ageing, Government Budgets, and Productivity Growth in Politico-Economic Equilibrium By Martín Gonzales-Eiras; Dirk Niepelt

  1. By: Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
    Abstract: We use data on statewide end-of-course tests in North Carolina to examine the relationship between teacher credentials and student achievement at the high school level. The availability of test scores in multiple subjects for each student permits us to estimate a model with student fixed effects, which helps minimize any bias associated with the non-random distribution of teachers and students among classrooms within schools. We find compelling evidence that teacher credentials affect student achievement in systematic ways and that the magnitudes are large enough to be policy relevant. As a result, the uneven distribution of teacher credentials by race and socio-economic status of high school students -- a pattern we also document -- contributes to achievement gaps in high school.
    JEL: I21 J45
    Date: 2007–11
  2. By: Justine S. Hastings; Jeffrey M. Weinstein
    Abstract: There is growing empirical evidence that low-income parents place lower weights on academics when choosing schools, implying that school choice plans may have the smallest impact on the choices of the families they are targeting. This paper uses a natural experiment generated by the 2004 implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School District (CMS) and a field experiment we designed and implemented as part of the district's 2006 school choice plan to examine how transparent information on school-level academic performance affects the test scores of the schools parents choose and the subsequent impact on their children's academic outcomes. We find in both cases that providing parents with transparent information on the academic achievement at schools with their school choice forms results in significantly more parents choosing substantially higher-performing schools. We then use instrumental variables approaches, exploiting random variation generated by each experiment in the test score of the school attended to estimate the impact of attending a higher-scoring school on student academic outcomes. We find that attending higher-performing schools results in significant increases in their children's standardized test scores at the end of the first year. If the results we find represent permanent increases in student-level test scores, they suggest a small policy change that lowers information or decision making costs for these parents had a substantial monetary impact on their children's lifetime earnings, adding to growing evidence that small changes in information can greatly affect choices, program participation, and outcomes.
    JEL: D83 H0 I2 I28
    Date: 2007–11
  3. By: Jan C. van Ours; Jenny Williams
    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: cannabis use; age of initiation; educational attainment
    JEL: C41 D12 I19
    Date: 2007
  4. By: George Messinis; Nilss Olekalns
    Abstract: This paper utilises Australian data to evaluate the effect of firm-provided job training on labour income. It also examines whether training can shed light on the effects of skill-job mismatch. We employ the Heckman selection model to account for selection bias in training as well as work participation. The evidence shows that training has a significant positive impact on wages. Also, training ameliorates the disadvantage associated with the mismatch between formal education and required education. In addition, training is most valuable to the undereducated and young workers, and assists in the restoration and replenishment of human capital
    Keywords: Training; Education; Overeducation; Undereducation; Earnings; Human capital depreciation
    JEL: J24 J30 I21
    Date: 2007
  5. By: Jon Lauglo; Tormod Óia
    Abstract: What difference does education make for young adults' engagement in politics and social issues? This study is part of the OECD?s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) project on "Measuring the Social Outcomes of Learning" (SOL). It discusses relevant international research, with special attention to studies in the Nordic countries, and analyses survey responses by more than 11 000 Norwegian youths aged 13 to 19. "Engagement" is defined as youth's declared interest in politics and social issues and by their participation in various forms of political activity. Educational performance and especially educational aspirations matter for this type of engagement. Socialisation in family environments with regard to civic related issues, however, matters even more for taking interest in such types of civic engagement. It also seems that young people experience educational benefits from growing up in families who care about the civic domain. Separately, the findings suggest that young people who are politically active do not easily conform to the status quo. Rather, they confront the authority structures of their schools more often than other young people do. The paper concludes with suggestions for policy and research. <BR>Quel est l'impact de l'éducation sur l'engagement politique et social des jeunes adultes ? Ce rapport, publié dans le cadre du projet « Mesurer les retombées sociales de l'éducation » du Centre pour la recherche et l'innovation de l'OCDE (CERI), traite de la recherche internationale en la matière, et plus particulièrement dans les pays nordiques, et analyse les réponses à une enquête menée auprès de plus de 11 000 Norvégiens âgés de 13 à 19 ans. Par « engagement » on entend l'intérêt déclaré des jeunes pour les problèmes politiques et sociaux ainsi que leur participation à diverses formes d'action politique. Les performances éducatives, et notamment les aspirations scolaires, ont une importance dans ce type d'engagement. Mais la socialisation aux problèmes civiques au sein des familles compte pour bien plus dans l'intérêt porté à l'engagement civique. Également, les jeunes semblent retirer des bénéfices éducatifs du fait de grandir dans des familles intéressées par les questions civiques. D'un autre côté, 'étude suggère que les jeunes qui sont politiquement actifs ne s'accommodent pas du statu quo ; ils ont tendance à se confronter aux autorités de leurs établissements plus souvent que les autres. En conclusion, le rapport fait des recommandations en matière de politique et de recherche.
    Date: 2007–11–23
  6. By: Charles T. Clotfelter; Helen F. Ladd; Jacob L. Vigdor
    Abstract: Using detailed data from North Carolina, we examine the frequency, incidence, and consequences of teacher absences in public schools, as well as the impact of an absence disincentive policy. The incidence of teacher absences is regressive: schools in the poorest quartile averaged almost one extra sick day per teacher than schools in the highest income quartile, and schools with persistently high rates of teacher absence were much more likely to serve low-income than high-income students. In regression models incorporating teacher fixed effects, absences are associated with lower student achievement in elementary grades. Finally, we present evidence that the demand for discretionary absences is price-elastic. Our estimates suggest that a policy intervention that simultaneously raised teacher base salaries and broadened financial penalties for absences could both raise teachers' expected income and lower districts' expected costs.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2007–11
  7. By: Grimm, Michael; Harttgen, Kenneth; Klasen, Stephan; Misselhorn, Mark
    Abstract: One of the most frequent critiques of the HDI is that is does not take into account inequality within countries. We suggest a relatively easy and intuitive approach which allows to compute the three components and the overall HDI for quintiles of the income distribution. This allows comparisons of the level in human development of the poor and non-poor within and across countries. An empirical illustration shows large discrepancies in human development within countries especially in Africa. These discrepancies are lower the higher the HDI, but only weekly so. Inequality in income is generally higher than inequality in education and life-expectancy.
    Keywords: Human Development, Income Inequality, Differential Mortality, Inequality in Education
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Florian Walter; Sieglinde Rosenberger
    Abstract: This study, part of OECD/CERI's project on Measuring the Social Outcomes of Learning, investigates the relationship between educational attainment and political participation in Austria. First, a model based on various theoretical considerations is introduced. This incorporates direct educational effects as well as indirect effects that occur through material resources, social capital, civic orientations and values. Using a multivariate analytical approach the model is applied to the 2002 European Social Survey. Three forms of political participation are distinguished, namely voting, elite-directed and elite-challenging activities. Educational attainment is found to have significant effects on all three types but the strongest impact is on elite-challenging activities. The latter includes forms of political action such as signing petitions and buying or boycotting certain products which are increasingly accepted as a legitimate way to express one's political preferences. Most of the effects of education arise through intermediate variables, including social capital (especially affiliation with non-political organisations), civic orientations (political interest as well as internal and external efficacy) and individual (postmaterialist) values. The effect of education on elite-directed activity operated primarily through organisational affiliation, as well as internal and external efficacy. In contrast, the effect of education on elite-challenging activity seems to be fostered via social environments that combine high levels of political interest, interpersonal trust, postmaterialist values and a certain degree of scepticism against political institutions. The paper concludes with suggestions for policy and research. <BR>Ce rapport, publié dans le cadre du projet « Mesurer les retombées sociales de l'éducation », étudie la relation entre niveau d'instruction et participation politique en Autriche. Dans un premier temps, il présente un modèle basé sur diverses considérations théoriques. Cela comprend à la fois les effets éducatifs directs et indirects qui se produisent en fonction des ressources matérielles, du capital social, des orientations civiques et des valeurs. A partir d'une approche analytique à plusieurs variables, le modèle est appliqué à l'Enquête Sociale Européenne de 2002. On distingue trois formes de participation politique, à savoir le vote, les activités conduites par l'élite et celles contestant l'élite. On s'aperçoit que le niveau d'instruction a des effets significatifs sur ces trois formes de participation, et plus particulièrement sur les activités contestant l'élite. Ces dernières incluent des actions politiques telles que la signature de pétitions, l'achat ou le boycott de certains produits, actions qui sont de plus en plus considérées comme une façon légitime d'exprimer ses préférences politiques. La plupart des effets de l'éducation se produisent au moyen de variables intermédiaires, notamment le capital social (et plus particulièrement l'affiliation à des organisations apolitiques), les orientations civiques (l'intérêt politique tout comme l'efficacité interne ou externe) et les valeurs (post-matérialistes) individuelles. L'éducation exerce un impact sur les activités conduites par l'élite principalement via l'affiliation à des organisations, et via l'efficacité interne et externe. Quant aux effets de l'éducation sur les activités contestant l'élite, ils s'exercent par le biais de l'environnement social qui inclut à la foi un niveau élevé d'intérêt politique, la confiance interpersonnelle, des valeurs post-matérialistes et un certain degré de scepticisme vis-à-vis des institutions politiques. En conclusion, ce rapport fait des recommandations en matière de politique et de recherche.
    Date: 2007–11–23
  9. By: Philippe De Vreyer (Université de Lille II, DIAL); Flore Gubert (DIAL, IRD, Paris); François Roubaud (DIAL, IRD)
    Abstract: (english) We use a unique set of identical labour force surveys that allow to observe, at the same time, migrants in seven WAEMU countries and their country of origin's labour market. We use these data first to document the patterns of migration flows in the sub-region, second to estimate the determinants of migration behaviour across these countries and to correct the estimated returns to education for the endogeneity of location choice. We finally estimate a structural model to evaluate the impact of expected earnings differentials on the probability of selecting a particular country to reside in. Our results show that Cote d'Ivoire remains the most important immigration country in the sub-region. Our data also suggests that Mali and Burkina Faso have been and still are major labour-exporting countries, largely towards Cote d'Ivoire. Benin and Togo, by contrast, combine both emigration and immigration. Looking at migrants characteristics we find that migrants tend to be less educated than non migrants in both their origin and destination countries, are more likely than natives to work in the informal sector and that they receive lower wages. Our econometric results suggest that not holding account of international migration in estimating returns to education yields upward biased estimates in three countries out of seven and downward biased estimates in two others. However, disparities in returns to education between capital cities do not vanish, suggesting that country-specific amenities and other un-measurable non-wage variables play important roles in the location choice of individuals with different levels of education. We also find that expected earnings differentials have a very significant effect on the choice probabilities: all else equal, people tend to live in countries in which their expected earnings are higher than elsewhere. _________________________________ (français) Nous utilisons les données issues d'enquêtes réalisées simultanément dans sept capitales de l'Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine pour documenter les caractéristiques des flux migratoires entre pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, puis pour estimer un modèle individuel de choix résidentiel faisant intervenir la différence de gains potentielle comme déterminant. Une estimation en trois étapes est réalisée qui permet de contrôler de l'auto-sélection des individus dans les différentes destinations. Nos résultats montrent que la Côte d'Ivoire demeure le premier pays d'accueil des migrants de la sous région, alors que le Burkina Faso et le Mali sont au contraire des pays d'émigration, principalement à destination de la Côte d'Ivoire. Le Bénin et le Togo sont à la fois des pays d'émigration et d'immigration. L'examen des caractéristiques des migrants montre qu'ils tendent à être moins éduqués que les non migrants, aussi bien dans leur pays d'origine que dans leur pays d'accueil, travaillent plus fréquemment dans le secteur informel et reçoivent une rémunération plus faible. Nos estimations économétriques montrent que la prise en compte de l'auto-sélection des individus dans les différentes destinations modifie les rendements estimés de l'éducation dans certains pays. Nous trouvons également que les différences de gains potentielles ont un impact très significatif sur les probabilités de choix et que, toutes autres choses égales par ailleurs, les individus tendent à vivre dans des pays où ils reçoivent des revenus plus élevés.
    Keywords: International migration, Wage differentials,Discrete regressions, qualitative choice models, Migrations internationales, Différences de salaires, Régressions sur variables discrètes, modèles de choix qualitatifs.
    JEL: F22 C35 J31 O15
    Date: 2007–10
  10. By: Petr Hanel (CIRST, GREDI, Faculte d'administration, Université de Sherbrooke)
    Abstract: This review of the innovation literature seeks to identify the role of skilled labor in the process of innovation and technological change. After an introduction of main innovation theories, the role of skills is analyzed from several perspectives: (1) Independent innovator – entrepreneur; skills deployed and needed; the role of education (2)Firm –the contribution of skilled labor to innovation from within the firm and from external sources. (3) Regional systems of innovation - Endowment of regions and cities in human resources, regional/local labour markets and knowledge spillovers (4) National systems of Innovation- national institutions and policies regarding human resources, labour markets, education system and various aspects of economic and technological infrastructure. (5) Technological milieu. - skilled labor involved in innovation evolves in various environments such as scientific, technical and trade associations, formal and informal contacts. (6) Scientific base.- The role of industry-university and public-private research collaboration in innovation. (7) Is innovation skill-biased?. The second part of the study looks at findings of recent studies of innovation and technology adoption in Canadian manufacturing and services with regard to skilled labor. Also addressed is the impact of innovation on skills. The shortage of skilled labor is widely recognised as an obstacle to innovation and adoption new technologies, especially by firms that introduce the most original innovations and the most advanced technologies. Overall, the innovation literature offers little in terms of concrete general information on particular skills needed for successful innovation. The paper concludes with a critical assessment of shortcomings of innovation and related surveys with regard to information on skilled labor and its role in innovation and technology adoption.
    Keywords: Innovation; skills; national innovation systems; labour market; education of innovation; effect of innovation on skills
    JEL: O31 J24 J44 L6 L8
    Date: 2007
  11. By: Manuel F. Bagues; Mauro Sylos Labini
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of the availability of electronic labor markets on the university-to-work transition. In particular, we analyze the effect of the intermediation activity carried on by the inter-university consortium, AlmaLaurea, on graduates' labor market outcomes. The different timing of universities' enrolment in AlmaLaurea allows us to apply the difference-in-differences method to a repeated cross section data set. If the usual assumption concerning parallel outcomes holds, AlmaLaurea reduces the individual unemployment probability and improves matching quality. Interestingly, we also find that on-line intermediaries foster graduates' geographic mobility.
    JEL: J64 J68 O3
    Date: 2007–11
  12. By: Martín Gonzales-Eiras (Universidad de San Andrés); Dirk Niepelt
    Abstract: We analyze the effect of changes in fertility and longevity on taxes, the composition of government spending, and productivity. To that purpose, we introduce politics in an OLG economy with endogenous growth due to human and physical capital accumulation. Population ageing shifts political power from students and workers to retirees, leading to a reallocation of resources from education spending to retirement benefits and a slowdown of productivity growth. Calibrated to U.S. data, the closed-form solutions of the model predict retirement benefits as a share of GDP to strongly increase over the next decades and the education share to fall. This effect depresses the annual productivity growth rate by 10 basis points. In spite of higher labor-income taxes, per-capita labor supply is predicted to rise, as a consequence of increased life expectancy. The equilibrium allocation is consumption and production efficient, but the political process allocates a much smaller share of resources to eduction than a Ramsey planner with balanced welfare weights.
    Date: 2007–11

This nep-edu issue is ©2007 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.