nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒01‒26
nine papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Technology’s edge: the educational benefits of computer-aided instruction By Lisa Barrow; Lisa Markham; Cecilia Elena Rouse
  3. Impact of voucher design on public school performance: evidence from Florida and Milwaukee voucher programs By Rajashri Chakrabarti
  4. Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off By Sebastian Braun; Nadja Dwenger; Dorothea Kübler
  5. School Accountability, Autonomy, Choice, and the Equity of Student Achievement: International Evidence from PISA 2003 By Gabriela Schütz; Martin R. West; Ludger Wöbmann
  8. Demographic Change, Human Capital and Endogenous Growth By Alexander Ludwig; Thomas Schelkle; Edgar Vogel
  9. La défense du droit à l'éducation passe par celle du service public By Rémy Herrera

  1. By: Lisa Barrow; Lisa Markham; Cecilia Elena Rouse
    Abstract: Because a significant portion of U.S. students lacks critical mathematic skills, schools across the country are investing heavily in computerized curriculums as a way to enhance education output, even though there is surprisingly little evidence that they actually improve student achievement. In this paper we present results from a randomized study in three urban school districts of a well- defined use of computers in schools: a popular instructional computer program which is designed to teach pre-algebra and algebra. We assess the impact of the program using statewide tests that cover a range of math skills and tests designed specifically to target pre- algebra and algebra skills. We find that students randomly assigned to computer-aided instruction score at least 0.17 of a standard deviation higher on a pre- algebra/algebra test than students randomly assigned to traditional instruction. We hypothesize that the effectiveness arises from increased individualized instruction as the effects appear larger for students in larger classes and those in classes in which students are frequently absent.
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Elena Casquel (Universidad Miguel Hernández); Ezequiel Uriel Jiménez (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to study the impact of family background and labor market conditions on educational attainment of Spanish youngsters using a new sample of data drawn for the first seven waves of the European Community Household Panel (ECHP). Our results show that family background variables are strong determinants of the number of young adults that attained post-compulsory education. More specifically, we obtain that children¿s educational achievement is strongly related to parental education. Moreover, the results suggest that unemployment prospects aspect the demand for education through diminishing costs more than increasing returns to education. It could indicate that unemployment rate push people to enroll in tertiary education. El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar el impacto del entorno familiar y las condiciones del mercado laboral en las decisiones de educación de los jóvenes españoles. Para ello, vamos a usar una nueva muestra de datos obtenida de las primeras siete olas del panel de hogares europeo (phogue). Nuestros resultados muestran que las variables familiares tienen un fuerte impacto en el número de jóvenes que alcanzan educación superior. En concreto, obtenemos que la educación de los padres juega un papel muy importante. Además, nuestros resultados sugieren que las tasas de desempleo afectan a la decisión educativa disminuyendo los costes educativos pero no se observa evidencia de que incrementen los rendimientos de la educación. Estos resultados indican que las altas tasas de desempleo fomentan que los jóvenes realicen estudios universitarios.
    Keywords: decisión de educación, tasas de desempleo, probit ordenado educational attainment; family backgrounds; unemployment rate
    JEL: I2 I21
    Date: 2007–12
  3. By: Rajashri Chakrabarti
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of vouchers in general and voucher design in particular on public school performance. It argues that all voucher programs are not created equal. There are often fundamental differences in voucher designs that affect public school incentives differently and induce different responses from them. It analyzes two voucher programs in the United States. The 1990 Milwaukee experiment can be looked upon as a "voucher shock" program that suddenly made low-income students eligible for vouchers. The 1999 Florida program can be looked upon as a "threat of voucher" program, in which schools getting an "F" grade for the first time are exposed to the threat of vouchers, but do not face vouchers unless and until they get a second "F" within the next three years. In the context of a formal theoretical model, the study argues that the threatened public schools will unambiguously improve under the Florida-type program, and this improvement will exceed that under the Milwaukee-type program. Using school-level scores from Florida and Wisconsin and a difference-in-differences estimation strategy in trends, it then shows that these predictions are validated empirically. These findings are reasonably robust in that they survive sensitivity checks including correcting for mean reversion and a regression discontinuity analysis.
    Keywords: Educational vouchers ; Education - Economic aspects ; Public schools
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Sebastian Braun; Nadja Dwenger; Dorothea Kübler
    Abstract: We investigate the matching algorithm used by the German central clearinghouse for university admissions (ZVS) in medicine and related subjects. This mechanism consists of three procedures based on final grades from school ("Abiturbestenverfahren", "Auswahlverfahren der Hochschulen") and on waiting time ("Wartezeitverfahren"). While these procedures differ in the criteria applied for admission they all make use of priority matching. In priority matching schemes, it is not a dominant strategy for students to submit their true preferences. Thus, strategic behaviour is expected. Using the full data set of applicants, we are able to detect some amount of strategic behaviour which can lead to inefficient matching. Alternative ways to organize the market are briefly discussed.
    Keywords: Matching, university admissions, strategic behaviour
    JEL: C78 D02 D78 I29
    Date: 2007
  5. By: Gabriela Schütz; Martin R. West; Ludger Wöbmann
    Abstract: School systems aspire to provide equal opportunity for all, irrespective of socio-economic status (SES). Much of the criticism of recent school reforms that introduce accountability, autonomy, and choice emphasizes their potentially negative consequences for equity. This report provides new evidence on how national features of accountability, autonomy, and choice are related to the equality of opportunity across countries. We estimate whether student achievement depends more or less on SES in school systems employing these institutional features. The rigorous micro-econometric analyses are based on the PISA 2003 data for more than 180,000 students from 27 OECD countries. The main empirical result is that rather than harming disadvantaged students, accountability, autonomy, and choice appear to be tides that lift all boats. The additional choice created by public funding for private schools in particular is associated with a strong reduction in the dependence of student achievement on SES. External exit exams have a strong positive effect for all students that is slightly smaller for low-SES students. The positive effect of regularly using subjective teacher ratings to assess students is substantially larger for low-SES students. The effect of many other accountability devices does not differ significantly by student SES. School autonomy in determining course content is associated with higher equality of opportunity, while equality of opportunity is lower in countries where more schools have autonomy in hiring teachers. Autonomy in formulating the budget and in establishing starting salaries is not associated with the equity of student outcomes. Inequality of opportunity is substantially higher in school systems that track students at early ages. <BR>Les systèmes scolaires souhaitent offrir des chances égales pour tous les élèves, quel que soit leur milieu socio-économique d'origine. La plupart des critiques soulevées par les réformes récentes instaurant la responsabilité, l'autonomie et le choix mettent en avant leurs conséquences potentiellement négatives en termes d'équité. Ce rapport apporte de nouveaux éléments sur les liens existant entre les caractéristiques nationales en matière de responsabilité, d'autonomie et de choix et l'égalité des chances selon les pays. Des estimations sont faites afin de déterminer si les résultats des élèves dépendent plus ou moins de leur milieu socio-économique d'origine dans les systèmes scolaires qui reposent sur ces caractéristiques. Les analyses micro-économétriques rigoureuses s'appuient sur les données de l'enquête PISA 2003 pour plus de 180 000 étudiants de 27 pays Membres de l'OCDE. Le principal résultat empirique est que, plutôt que de nuire aux élèves de milieux défavorisés, la responsabilité, l'autonomie et le choix semblent bénéficier à l'ensemble des élèves. En particulier, le choix supplémentaire généré par les fonds publics accordés aux établissements scolaires privés est associé à une forte diminution de la corrélation entre les résultats des élèves et leur milieu socio-économique d'origine. Les examens de sortie externes ont un effet positif important pour tous les élèves, bien qu'il soit légèrement moindre pour les élèves de milieux modestes. Les retombées bénéfiques du recours régulier à des classements subjectifs d'enseignants pour évaluer les élèves sont nettement plus importantes pour les élèves de milieux modestes. Les effets de nombreux autres outils de responsabilisation ne diffèrent pas notablement selon le milieu d'origine des élèves. L'autonomie laissée aux établissements scolaires pour déterminer le contenu des programmes scolaires est associée à une plus grande égalité des chances, alors que celle-ci est moindre lorsque les établissements scolaires sont plus nombreux à pouvoir recruter librement leurs enseignants. L'autonomie accordée aux établissements pour établir le budget et les salaires de départ n'est pas liée à l'équité des résultats des élèves. L'inégalité des chances est nettement plus forte dans les systèmes scolaires qui favorisent l'orientation précoce des élèves.
    Date: 2007–12–21
  6. By: Lari Arthur Viianto (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: In the economic literature a constant tax rate on labor income has usually a neutral or negative effect on education. The effect is neutral in the absence of non-deductible costs and it is negative in the presence of them. A positive effect is obtained in the presence of non-deductible profits or uncertainty in the returns to education. In this model education is treated as a signalling device for the level of human capital and agents choose freely their labor supply under certainty and perfect financial markets. Within this framework a constant tax rate on labor income has a positive effect on education under certainty and in the absence of non-deductible costs or profits as long as consumption and leisure are complementary and the amount of transfers and family income is low enough.
    Keywords: Education, taxes.
    JEL: I20 H20 H24
    Date: 2007–12
  7. By: Bernarda Zamora (Universidad de Alicante); Eduard Gracia (Booz Allen Hamilton)
    Abstract: The present paper follows the rationality of the Human Capital Theory to explain the heterogeneity of returns to schooling in a policy evaluation model with the purpose of testing whether people are blocked in any way (credit constraints, uncertainty or other market environment conditions) when they make their schooling choices. The minimal assumption that abler people face lower costs of schooling guarantees the possibility of making the right choice in this framework. The empirical implications of the model are extended further from the properties of ordinary least squares and instrumental variable estimators and centred on predictions about the sign of different policy evaluation parameters (sorting gains and selection biases) and on the shape and variability of marginal returns to education. Within this framework, the paper revises the modern empirical literature on returns to schooling in combination with the theoretical literature on human capital. Empirical evidence for the U.S., shown by a binary choice model, supports the assumption. Evidence obtained from Spanish data in a sequential choice setting does not support the assumption.
    Keywords: Ability gap, Schooling, Selection Models, Heterogeneity
    JEL: C10 D84 I21 J31
    Date: 2007–12
  8. By: Alexander Ludwig; Thomas Schelkle; Edgar Vogel (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA))
    Abstract: This paper employs a large scale overlapping generations (OLG) model with endogenous education to evaluate the quantitative role of human capital adjustments for the economic consequences of demographic change. We find that endogenous human capital formation is an important adjustment mechanism which substantially mitigates the macroeconomic impact of demographic change. Welfare gains from demographic change for newborn households are approximately three times higher when households endogenously adjust their education. Low ability agents experience higher welfare gains. Endogenous growth through human capital formation is found to increase the long-run growth rate in the economy by 0.2-0.4 percentage points.
    Date: 2007–10–19
  9. By: Rémy Herrera (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: Ce cahier de recherche portant sur le droit à l'éducation est à l'origine d'une déclaration écrite présentée par le Centre Europe Tiers-Monde (CETIM) lors de la 4e session de mars 2007 du Conseil des Droits de l'Homme de l'Organisation des Nations Unies à Genève (point 2 : application de la résolution 60/251 de l'Assemblée générale du 15-03-2006, cote A/HRC/4/NGO/18). L'éducation est l'une des clés de stratégies de développement réussies et un moyen de réaliser les objectifs de socialisation, d'épanouissement de l'être humain et d'égalité. Les principes qui doivent fonder ses politiques sont leur caractére public, leur universalisme et leur gratuité à tous les niveaux. Il s'agit de construire un monde fondé sur la reconnaissance du statut non marchand de l'éducation, des savoirs scientifiques et des productions culturelles.
    Keywords: Education, service public, développement.
    Date: 2007–04

This nep-edu issue is ©2008 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.