nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒02‒02
seventeen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Educational Effects of Early or Later Secondary School Tracking in Germany By Mühlenweg, Andrea Maria
  2. Residential Peer Effects in Higher Education: Does the Field of Study Matter? By Brunello, Giorgio; De Paola, Maria; Scoppa, Vincenzo
  3. Refinancing Europe’s Higher Education through Deferred and Income-Contingent Fees: An empirical assessment using Belgian, German and UK data By O Debande; Vincent Vandenberghe
  4. Higher education and equality of opportunity in Italy By Vito Peragine; Laura Serlenga
  5. “Macroeconomic returns" to schooling: the effects of education on inflation By BECCHETTI LEONARDO; DELLE CHIAIE SIMONA
  6. Gone for Good? Determinants of School Dropout in Southern Italy By O'Higgins, Niall; D'Amato, Marcello; Caroleo, Floro Ernesto; Barone, Adriana
  7. Understanding low achievement in English schools By Robert Cassen; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon
  8. Family Income and Tertiary Education Attendance across the EU: An empirical assessment using sibling data By Vincent Vandenberghe
  9. The Application of the Econometric Models with Qualitative Variables in the Analysis of the Non Academic Behaviors at the Level of the Romanian Higher Education System By Andrei, Tudorel; Teodorescu, Daniel; Iacob, Andreea Iluzia E. S.; Stancu, Stelian
  10. Does work impede child's learning? The case of Senegal By Christelle Dumas
  12. How Interethnic Marriages Affect the Educational Attainment of Children: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Ours, J.C. van; Veenman, J.M.C.
  13. Life Scientist Mobility from Academe to Industry: Does Academic Entrepreneurship Induce a Costly “Brain Drain” on the Not-for-Profit Research Sector? By Toole, Andrew A.; Czarnitzki, Dirk
  14. Job Market Signaling and Employer Learning By Alós-Ferrer, Carlos; Prat, Julien
  15. Unsere zukünftigen Lehrerinnen und Lehrer – Institutionelle Faktoren bei der Wahl eines Studiums an einer Pädagogischen Hochschule By Stefan Denzler; Stefan C. Wolter
  16. Effects of Weight on Children's Educational Achievement By Robert Kaestner; Michael Grossman
  17. Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden By Douglas Almond; Lena Edlund; Marten Palme

  1. By: Mühlenweg, Andrea Maria
    Abstract: This paper examines educational outcomes of pupils selected to secondary school types by different tracking regimes in a German state: Pupils are alternatively streamed after fourth grade or after sixth grade. Regression results indicate that, estimated on the mean, there are no negative effects of later tracking on educational outcomes in the middle of secondary school. Positive effects are observed for pupils with a less favorable family background. Quantile regressions reveal that the estimated effects of later tracking are positive for the lower quantiles but decrease monotonically over the conditional distribution of test scores.
    Keywords: education, segregation, immigration, school effects
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); De Paola, Maria (University of Calabria); Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: Economists have a poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying reduced-form college peer effects. In this paper we explore a candidate mechanism, the provision of school effort. We show that, when earnings reflect individual educational performance as well as the field of study selected at college, and individual effort is a function of expected earnings, the size of the peer effect varies by field. Using data from a middle-sized public university located in Southern Italy and exploiting the random assignment of first year students to college accommodation, we find evidence that peer effects are positive and statistically significant for students enrolled in the fields of Engineering, Maths and Natural Sciences – which are expected to generate higher earnings after college – and not different from zero for students enrolled in the Humanities, Social and Life Sciences, which give access to lower payoffs. An implication of our model is that shocks affecting college wage premia may alter the size of peer effects.
    Keywords: optimal effort, fields of study, Italy, random assignment, peer effects
    JEL: I21 Z13 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  3. By: O Debande; Vincent Vandenberghe
    Abstract: The arguments for refinancing the European Union's (EU) higher education via higher tuition fees largely rest on preserving the profitability of the educational investment and offering deferred and income-contingent payments. Using income survey datasets on Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) we first estimate how graduates' private return on educational investment is likely to be affected by higher private contributions. We then evaluate the effect of income-contingent and deferred payment mechanisms on lifetime net income and its capacity to account for graduates' ability to pay, considering numerous ways of financing the cost of introducing income-contingency. Our analysis reveals that increasing individuals' contributions to higher education costs, through income-contingent and deferred instruments, does not significantly affect the private rate of return of heterogeneous graduates, allows for payments to be indexed to ability to pay, and can be implemented in ways that minimize the risk of adverse selection. These findings prove robust to significant variations between countries' unharmonised higher education institutional structures.
    Keywords: Higher Education Finance, income-contingent loans, risk pooling and risk shifting
    JEL: I28 H52
    Date: 2007–06
  4. By: Vito Peragine; Laura Serlenga
    Abstract: This paper proposes a definition of equality of educational opportunities. Then, it develops a comprehensive model that allows to test for the existence of equality of opportunity in a given distribution and to rank distributions according to equality of opportunity. Finally, it provides an empirical analysis of equality of opportunity for higher education in Italy.
    Keywords: Equality of Opportunity, Higher Education, Stochastic Dominance
    JEL: D63 I2 C14
    Date: 2007–11
    Abstract: The link between education and in?ation is relatively unexplored in the economic literature. In our paper we provide four potential rationales for a positive effect of education on in?ation. First, education increases productivity of consumer search which, in turn, reduces in?ationary pressures. Second, in?ationary surprises with real effects are more likely to be realised against less educated economic agents. Third, consensus around severe antin?ationary policies may depend as well from the level of education. Fourth, more educated individuals are more likely to become net creditors and lobby for lower in?ation rates. Our GMM estimates of a panel VAR system on a sample of 92 countries do not reject this hypothesis showing that education Granger causes in?ation especially in low education, less developed countries.
    Date: 2008–01
  6. By: O'Higgins, Niall (University of Salerno); D'Amato, Marcello (University of Salerno); Caroleo, Floro Ernesto (University of Naples, Parthenope); Barone, Adriana (University of Salerno)
    Abstract: The aim of the present paper is to gain some insight into the causes of dropping out of school and, more generally, of the factors that induce parents to review their choices about their child’s schooling careers. To this end we apply to data from a school dropout survey insights from a model of sequential decision making by parents, where the initial decision can be reviewed in the light of new information emerging about the ability and opportunities of the child in benefitting from education relative to her outside (in the unskilled market). Analysis of the data confirms the role of both economic capacity (opportunity costs) and cultural capacity (ability to disentangle signals about future opportunities) of the family of origin shape observed choices about drop-out and return to school by individuals in our sample. Dropping out behaviour also appears to be strongly influenced by mismatches between school and student, however, and many of those who leave are not “gone for good”.
    Keywords: human capital, school dropout, young people
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  7. By: Robert Cassen; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon
    Abstract: Tens of thousands of young people leave school with no or very few qualifications in England. This paper seeks to build a fuller picture of Key Stage 4 low achievement and its correlates than available hitherto. We focus on three aspects. Firstly, the role of students' personal characteristics, especially gender, ethnicity and past achievement, in explaining the incidence of low achievement at age 16. Secondly, we investigate the extent to which particular personal characteristics constitute direct risk factors for low achievement and the extent to which they lead to low achievement because of their correlation with unobserved school and neighborhood quality, i.e. the role of sorting into schools and neighborhoods of different quality. We suggest a method of calculating school quality (how effective a school is in helping its pupils to avoid low achievement) which is akin to the value-added concept, and examine which specific observed school characteristics predict this measure of 'school quality'. Thirdly, the paper examines the relationship between school resources - particularly per pupil expenditure - and the avoidance of low achievement, exploiting the panel nature of the National Pupil Database. Going beyond simple discrete choice models, the paper employs school fixed effects regression to reduce endogeneity problems and employs panel data at the student level to analyse school resource effects. A number of interesting findings emerge about the correlates of low achievement and of school quality, and we consider the policy implications of our findings.
    Keywords: Low achievement, school fixed effects, panel data, school resources, England
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2007–06
  8. By: Vincent Vandenberghe
    Abstract: There is plenty of evidence across the EU to suggest that young people from poorer backgrounds are less likely to attend tertiary education than their better-off peers. This correlation is often used to justify monetary transfers to families with students. It is not clear, however, that these differences in attendance are caused by income itself rather than by parental ability, motivation, education, and other aspects of the young person's experience which differ between families, but are not a direct result of income. Controlling for observable family characteristics is a useful first step. But further developments are needed as families potentially differ in unobservable ways that are correlated with both income and attendance. In this paper we use families with several children to correct for unobserved time-invariant family fixed effects. Our results suggest the absence of parental income effects in Belgium and Germany, small positive effects in Poland, medium-size positive effect in the UK, and sizeable positive effects in Hungary.
    Keywords: Tertiary education attendance, parental income, liquidity constraints
    JEL: I28 D33 H43
    Date: 2007–06
  9. By: Andrei, Tudorel; Teodorescu, Daniel; Iacob, Andreea Iluzia E. S.; Stancu, Stelian
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper was to apply the econometric models with qualitative variables in order to analyze two non academic behaviors at the level of the Romanian higher education system: cheating on the exams by copying or by direct or intermediary intervention at the professor.
    Keywords: Logit Model; survey; sample; fraud.
    JEL: C13 C10 C51 B23 C42 C25
    Date: 2007–12
  10. By: Christelle Dumas (University Cergy-Pontoise-Thema. 33, bd du Port. 95011 Cergy-Pontoise. France.)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of labor performed during childhood on cognitive achievement of teenagers, measured by tests. Introduction of community fixed effects and use of multiple tests taken at the entry of primary school allows to control for unobserved heterogeneity and mea- surement error in the entry tests. We find no detrimental impact of par- ticipation of children to economic activities on their subsequent learning once controlling for the number of years of education but rather a pos- itive, though small, impact. This could come from increased monetary resources. Working more than 4 hours a week or as an employee though prevents the child to learn as much as the other children.
    Keywords: Child labor, Human capital, multiple-indicator, fixed effects.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2008
  11. By: K. SUNDARAM (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India)
    Abstract: This paper presents some results from the NSS 61st Round Employment – Unemployment Survey, 2004-05 on the issue of fair access to social groups and religion-based population categories. The issue is whether and the extent to which the population of say, the OBCs or the Muslims (in the relevant age-group and with the qualifying level of education) is under-represented in enrollments in higher education. The answer involves (for each population category and relevant age-group) a comparison of (i) their share among those with the qualifying level of education with (ii) their share among those with the qualifying level of education and currently attending institutions for under-graduate/post-graduate studies. At the all-India level, despite a sharp rise in the share of OBCs in the total population, the extent of their under-representation in under-graduate enrollments is just 2.5 percent – down from 3.5 percent in 1999-2000 – in rural India. In urban India, the extent of OBC under-representation in under-graduate enrollments, though marginally higher than in 1999-2000, is still less than 2.0 per cent. In respect of post-graduate enrollments, the OBCs, are significantly (by nearly 4 percentage points) over-represented in rural India, while in urban India, the OBC under-representation is just 0.3 percentage points. In respect of Muslims, in rural India, they are, over-represented in under-graduate enrollments and in urban-India, the extent of under-representation of Muslims is less than one percentage. Thus, for no social/religion-based population group is the extent of under-representation in enrollments in higher-education more than 2.5 percentage points. There is thus little or no case for a 27 percent reservation for OBCs in enrollments in higher education. As for the ‘Creamy Layer’ of the OBCs, there is, even less of a case for not excluding them from any regime of quotas for the OBCs in higher education.
    Keywords: India, Social & Religion-based Groups, Caste-based Reservations, Fair Access to Higher Education, Creamy layer.
    JEL: I28
    Date: 2007–10
  12. By: Ours, J.C. van; Veenman, J.M.C. (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: The allocation of Moluccan immigrants across towns and villages at arrival in the Netherlands and the subsequent formation of interethnic marriages resemble a natural experiment. The exogenous variation in marriage formation allows us to estimate the causal effect of interethnic marriages on the educational attainment of children from such marriages. We find that children from Moluccan fathers and native mothers have a higher educational attainment than children from ethnic homogeneous Moluccan couples or children from a Moluccan mother and a native father.
    Keywords: Interethnic marriages;educational attainment
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2008
  13. By: Toole, Andrew A.; Czarnitzki, Dirk
    Abstract: When academic researchers participate in commercialization using for-profit firms there is a potentially costly trade-off – their time and effort are diverted away from academic knowledge creation. This is a form of brain drain on the not-for-profit research sector which may reduce knowledge accumulation and adversely impact long-run economic growth. In this paper, we examine the economic significance of the brain drain phenomenon using scientist-level panel data. We identify life scientists who start or join for-profit firms using information from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and analyze the research performance of these scientists relative to a control group of randomly selected research peers. Combining our statistical results with data on the number of university spin-offs in the U.S. from 1994 to 2004 we find the academic brain drain has a nontrivial impact on knowledge creation in the not-forprofit research sector.
    Date: 2007
  14. By: Alós-Ferrer, Carlos (University of Konstanz); Prat, Julien (University of Vienna)
    Abstract: This paper extends the job market signaling model of Spence (1973) by allowing firms to learn the ability of their employees over time. Contrary to the model without employer learning, we find that the Intuitive Criterion does not always select a unique separating equilibrium. When the Intuitive Criterion bites and information is purely asymmetric, the separating level of education does not depend on the observability of workers’ types. On the other hand, when workers are also uncertain about their productivity, the separating level of education is ambiguously related to the speed of employer learning.
    Keywords: employer learning, education, job markets, signaling, intuitive criterion
    JEL: I20 C70 D82 D83
    Date: 2008–01
  15. By: Stefan Denzler (EHB Schweiz); Stefan C. Wolter (Institute of Economics, University of Berne)
    Abstract: Obwohl angehende Lehrerinnen und Lehrer der obligatorischen Schulstufen heute in der ganzen Schweiz in akademischen Studiengängen auf der Tertiärstufe ausgebildet werden, gibt es Anzeichen dafür, dass sie sich in verschiedener Hinsicht von Studierenden der universitären Hochschulen unterscheiden. In diesem Papier wird die Studien- und Berufswahl Lehrerin/ Lehrer anhand der Daten von über 1500 Gymnasiumsabsolventinnen und -absolventen aus der Deutschschweiz untersucht. Die Analyse bestätigt, dass sich Maturandinnen und Maturanden mit einem Interesse für den Lehrberuf signifikant von jenen unterschieden, die ein Fachstudium an einer Universität anstreben. Die Selbstselektion in den Lehrberuf beruht auf geschlechts- und herkunftsspezifischen Merkmalen sowie auf Faktoren wie Interessen und Neigungen. Die Befunde zeigen aber auch, dass der Ausbildungsinstitution dabei eine entscheidende Rolle zukommt. So sind es institutionenspezifische Faktoren wie die Studiendauer und die direkte Berufsbefähigung oder eine zumindest antizipierte stärker praxis- und weniger wissenschaftlich orientierte Ausbildung, die junge Personen motiviert, eine Lehrkräfteausbildung an einer Pädagogischen Hochschule anzustreben. Dieser Befund erhärtet sich durch die Beobachtung, dass Maturandinnen und Maturanden mit dem Berufswunsch Lehrerin respektive Lehrer auf der Sekundarstufe II sich praktisch nicht von den übrigen zukünftigen Studierenden an Universitäten unterscheiden.
    Keywords: career choice, teacher, teacher education, higher education policy
    JEL: I23 I28
    Date: 2008–01
  16. By: Robert Kaestner; Michael Grossman
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the association between weight and children's educational achievement, as measured by scores on Peabody Individual Achievement Tests in math and reading, and grade attainment. Data for the study came from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), which contains a large, national sample of children between the ages of 5 and 12. We obtained estimates of the association between weight and achievement using several regression model specifications that controlled for a variety of observed characteristics of the child and his or her mother, and time-invariant characteristics of the child. Our results suggest that, in general, children who are overweight or obese have achievement test scores that are about the same as children with average weight.
    JEL: I12 I20
    Date: 2008–01
  17. By: Douglas Almond (Department of Economics, Columbia University); Lena Edlund (Department of Economics, Columbia University); Marten Palme (Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economic Statistics)
    Abstract: Japanese atomic bomb survivors irradiated 8-25 weeks after ovulation subsequently suffered reduced IQ [Otake and Schull, 1998]. Whether these findings generalize to low doses (less than 10 mGy) has not been established. This paper exploits the natural experiment generated by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in April 1986, which caused a spike in radiation levels in Sweden. In a comprehensive data set of 562,637 Swedes born 1983-1988, we find the cohort in utero during the Chernobyl accident had worse school outcomes than adjacent birth cohorts, and this deterioration was largest for those exposed approximately 8-25 weeks post conception. Moreover, we find larger damage among students born in regions that received more fallout: students from the eight most affected municipalities were 3.6 percentage points less likely to qualify to high school as a result of the fallout. Our findings suggest that fetal exposure to ionizing radiation damages cognitive ability at radiation levels previously considered safe.
    Date: 2007

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