nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒03‒25
nineteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. The Higher Educational Transformation of China and Its Global Implications By Yao Li; John Whalley; Shunming Zhang; Xiliang Zhao
  2. The Health Returns to Education: What Can We Learn from Twins? By Lundborg, Petter
  3. Socioeconomic determinants of primary school dropout: the logistic model analysis By Okumu, Ibrahim M.; Nakajjo, Alex; Isoke, Doreen
  4. Conditional Cash Transfers in Education Design Features, Peer and Sibling Effects Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Colombia By Felipe Barrera-Osorio; Marianne Bertrand; Leigh L. Linden; Francisco Perez-Calle
  5. Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production By Timo Boppart; Josef Falkinger; Volker Grossmann; Ulrich Woitek; Gabriela Wüthrich
  6. The effect of early cognitive ability on earnings over the life-cycle By Torberg Falch; Sofia Sandgren
  7. Nature and Trade-off between Child Labour and Child Schooling in Rural Ethiopia. By Getinet Astatike Haile; Beliyou Astatike Haile
  8. International Dimensions in the Financing of Higher Education By Bruce Chapman; Peter Tulip
  9. Assessment of learning outcomes in higher education: a comparative review of selected practices By Deborah Nusche
  10. Are Computers Good for Children? The Effects of Home Computers on Educational Outcomes By Daniel O. Beltran; Kuntal K. Das; Robert W. Fairlie
  11. Social Security, Education, Retirement and Growth. By Amaia Iza; Cruz A. Echevarría
  12. Evaluating School Facilities in Brazil By Sheila Walbe Ornstein; Nanci Saraiva Moreira
  13. Does Mentoring Reduce Turnover and Improve Skills of New Employees? Evidence from Teachers in New York City By Jonah E. Rockoff
  14. Efficiency of Finnish Upper Secondary Schools: An Application of Stochastic Frontier Analysis with Panel Data By Tanja Kirjavainen
  15. Urbanization, educational expansion, and expenditures inequality in Indonesia in 1996, 1999, and 2002: By Akita, Takahiro; Miyata, Sachiko
  16. Equity and efficiency in private and public education: a nonparametric comparison By Laurens Cherchye; Kristof De Witte; Erwin Ooghe
  17. Mortality, mobility, and schooling outcomes among orphans: Evidence from Malawi By Ueyama, Mika
  18. A signalling model of school grades: centralized versus decentralized examinations By De Paola, Maria; Scoppa, Vincenzo
  19. Running The Marathon By Cowan, William; Cowan, Robin; Llerena, Patrick

  1. By: Yao Li; John Whalley; Shunming Zhang; Xiliang Zhao
    Abstract: This paper documents the major transformation of higher education that has been underway in China since 1999 and evaluates its potential global impacts. Reflecting China's commitment to continued high growth through quality upgrading and the production of ideas and intellectual property as set out in both the 10th (2001-2005) and 11th (2006-2010) five-year plans, this transformation focuses on major new resource commitments to tertiary education and also embodies significant changes in organizational form. This focus on tertiary education differentiates the Chinese case from other countries who earlier at similar stages of development instead stressed primary and secondary education. The number of undergraduate and graduate students in China has been grown at approximately 30% per year since 1999, and the number of graduates at all levels of higher education in China has approximately quadrupled in the last 6 years. The size of entering classes of new students and total student enrollments have risen even faster, and have approximately quintupled. Prior to 1999 increases in these areas were much smaller. Much of the increased spending is focused on elite universities, and new academic contracts differ sharply from earlier ones with no tenure and annual publication quotas often used. All of these changes have already had large impacts on China's higher educational system and are beginning to be felt by the wider global educational structure. We suggest that even more major impacts will follow in the years to come and there are implications for global trade both directly in ideas, and in idea derived products. These changes, for now, seem relatively poorly documented in literature.
    JEL: I2 I23
    Date: 2008–03
  2. By: Lundborg, Petter (Free University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the health returns to education, using data on identical twins. I adopt a twin-differences strategy in order to obtain estimates that are not biased by unobserved family background and genetic traits that may affect both education and health. I further investigate to what extent within-twin-pair differences in schooling correlates with within-twin-pair differences in early life health and parent-child relations. The results suggest a causal effect of education on health. Higher educational levels are found to be positively related to self-reported health but negatively related to the number of chronic conditions. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking and overweight, are found to contribute little to the education/health gradient. I am also able to rule out occupational hazards and health insurance coverage as explanations for the gradient. In addition, I find no evidence of heterogenous effects of education by parental education. Finally, the results suggest that factors that may vary within twin pairs, such as birth weight, early life health, parental treatment and relation with parents, do not predict within-twin pair differences in schooling, lending additional credibility to my estimates and to the general validity of using a twin-differences design to study the returns to education.
    Keywords: health production, education, schooling, twins, siblings, returns to education, ability bias
    JEL: I12 I11 J14 J12 C41
    Date: 2008–03
  3. By: Okumu, Ibrahim M.; Nakajjo, Alex; Isoke, Doreen
    Abstract: Abstract This paper describes the socioeconomic determinants of primary school dropout in Uganda with the aid of a logistic model analysis using the 2004 National Service Delivery Survey data. The Objectives were to establish the; household socioeconomic factors that influence dropout of pupils given free education and any possible policy alternatives to curb dropout of pupils. Various logistic regressions of primary school dropout were estimated and these took the following dimensions; rural-urban, gender, and age-cohort. After model estimation, marginal effects for each of the models were obtained. The analysis of the various coefficients was done across all models. The results showed the insignificance of distance to school, gender of pupil, gender of household head and total average amount of school dues paid by students in influencing dropout of pupils thus showing the profound impact Universal Primary Education has had on both access to primary education and pupil dropout. Also the results vindicated the importance of parental education, household size and proportion of economically active household members in influencing the chances of pupil dropout. The study finally calls for government to; keep a keen eye on non-school fees payments by parents to schools as these have the potential to increase to unsustainable levels by most households especially in rural areas; roll-out adult education across the entire country; and expand free universal education to secondary and vocational levels as it would allow some of those who can not afford secondary education to continue with schooling. This has the effect of reducing the number of unproductive members in the household.
    Keywords: socioeconomic determinants; primary education; and dropout
    JEL: O1 I2
    Date: 2008–02
  4. By: Felipe Barrera-Osorio; Marianne Bertrand; Leigh L. Linden; Francisco Perez-Calle
    Abstract: We evaluate multiple variants of a commonly used intervention to boost education in developing countries -- the conditional cash transfer (CCT) -- with a student level randomization that allows us to generate intra-family and peer-network variation. We test three treatments: a basic CCT treatment based on school attendance, a savings treatment that postpones a bulk of the cash transfer due to good attendance to just before children have to reenroll, and a tertiary treatment where some of the transfers are conditional on students' graduation and tertiary enrollment rather than attendance. On average, the combined incentives increase attendance, pass rates, enrollment, graduation rates, and matriculation to tertiary institutions. Changing the timing of the payments does not change attendance rates relative to the basic treatment but does significantly increase enrollment rates at both the secondary and tertiary levels. Incentives for graduation and matriculation are particularly effective, increasing attendance and enrollment at secondary and tertiary levels more than the basic treatment. We find some evidence that the subsidies can cause a reallocation of responsibilities within the household. Siblings (particularly sisters) of treated students work more and attend school less than students in families that received no treatment. We also find that indirect peer influences are relatively strong in attendance decisions with the average magnitude similar to that of the direct effect.
    JEL: I2 I38
    Date: 2008–03
  5. By: Timo Boppart; Josef Falkinger; Volker Grossmann; Ulrich Woitek; Gabriela Wüthrich
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of religious denomination for human capital formation. We employ a unique data set which covers, inter alia, information on numerous measures of school inputs in 169 Swiss districts for the years 1871/72, 1881/82 and 1894/95, marks from pedagogical examinations of conscripts (1875-1903), and results from political referenda to capture conservative or progressive values in addition to the cultural characteristics language and religion. Catholic districts show on average significantly lower educational performance than Protestant districts. However, accounting for other sociocultural characteristics qualifies the role of religion for educational production. The evidence suggests that Catholicism is harmful only in a conservative milieu. We also exploit information on absenteeism of pupils from school to separate provision of schooling from use of schooling.
    Keywords: Culture; Educational production, Plural identity, Religious denomination, School inputs
    JEL: I20 H52 O10 N33
    Date: 2008–03
  6. By: Torberg Falch (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology); Sofia Sandgren (Royal Institute ofTechnology, Stockholm, Sweden, and Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
    Abstract: This paper utilizes information on cognitive ability at age ten and earnings information from age 20 to 65 to estimate the return to ability over the life-cycle. Ability measured at an early age is not influenced by the individual’s choices of schooling and other circumstances. We find that most of the unconditional return to early cognitive ability goes through educational choice. The conditional return is increasing for low levels of experience and non-increasing for experience above about 15-25 years. The return is similar for men and women, and highest for individuals with academic education. Only a small part of the return can be explained by higher probability to have a supervisory position.
    Keywords: Cognitive ability; life-cycle; earnings; IQ
    Date: 2008–03–01
  7. By: Getinet Astatike Haile (Policy Studies Institute, London, UK); Beliyou Astatike Haile (Department of economics, Columbia University, NY)
    Abstract: This paper examines determinants of work participation and school attendance for children aged 7-15 using survey data from rural Ethiopia. To this effect, a bivariate probit model that addresses the interrelatedness of the two decisions is employed. Given the agrarian nature of the economy, especial focus is given to child labour on family farms and within the household. The trade-off between child labour and educational attainment is also analysed by estimating an equation for age-adjusted educational attainment of children. Male children are found to be more likely to attend school than female children implying gender bias. There is also some 'specialization' in child labour with females having a higher likelihood and intensity of participation in domestic chores while males having a higher likelihood as well as intensity of participation in market work. Besides, while male children are more likely to combine schooling with market work, their female counterparts are more likely to combine domestic work and schooling. With regard to household characteristics, large family size and the number of dependents increase the probability of combining schooling with both work activities. While education of the head increases the likelihood of school attendance, large livestock population increases the likelihood of combining schooling and market work. More importantly, long hour of work is found to reduce educational attainment of working children.
    Keywords: Child labour, Child education, Rural Ethiopia
    JEL: I21 J22 O15
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Bruce Chapman; Peter Tulip
    Abstract: This chapter compares and contrasts international experience with respect to higher education financing. The size and payment forms of tuition, and the different types and levels of public sector support, are illustrated for a large number of countries. A major aspect of the discussion concerns the conceptual bases and the costs and benefits of the two different instruments of government intervention for student financing: guaranteed bank loans, and income contingent loans. It is argued that income contingent loans have a number of advantages over government guaranteed bank loans, and this seems to be increasingly recognised with respect to international adoption of the former. However, to be efficacious income contingent loan systems require sophisticated institutional and administrative repayment collection arrangements.
    Keywords: government guaranteed bank loans, higher education, income contingent loans, student loans, tuition
    JEL: I21 I22 I28
    Date: 2008–03
  9. By: Deborah Nusche
    Abstract: Higher education institutions (HEIs) have experienced increasing pressures to provide accountability data and consumer information on the quality of teaching and learning. But existing ratings and rankings of HEIs tend to neglect information on student learning outcomes. Instead, they focus on inputs, activities and research outputs, such as resources used, classes taught, and articles published. Such indicators provide no indication of the degree to which HEIs actually develop the knowledge and skills of their students. In most countries, hardly any comparable information is available on the educational quality of different programmes and institutions. In some countries, approaches to assess higher education learning outcomes have been developed, but little cross-country information is available on the characteristics of the instruments used. This paper provides an overview of experience gained in this domain across OECD and partner countries. Based on illustrative evidence collected for 18 assessment instruments, it examines conceptual, organizational and methodological aspects of existing assessments. It proposes a typology of higher education learning outcomes and reviews the ways in which these have been assessed across countries. Examples are drawn from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. <BR>Les institutions d'enseignement supérieur sont de plus en plus amenées à rendre des comptes sur la qualité de leurs enseignements et les résultats de leurs étudiants. Mais les méthodologies de notation et de classement des universités considèrent rarement dans leurs critères l'information sur les « résultats de l’enseignement », à savoir ce que les étudiants ont vraiment appris au sein de ces institutions. Elles se concentrent plutôt sur les inputs, activités, et outputs, tels que les ressources mobilisées, les cours enseignés et le nombre d'articles publiés. Cependant, ces indicateurs ne permettent pas de déterminer dans quelle mesure les universités contribuent au développement des connaissances et des compétences de leurs étudiants. Dans la plupart des pays, il y a peu d'information disponible pour comparer la qualité éducative des différents programmes et institutions. Dans certains pays, des approches ont été développées pour mesurer la qualité de l'enseignement dans les universités, mais peu d'études offrent une comparaison internationale des différents instruments utilisés. Ce papier présente un aperçu des expériences dans ce domaine au sein de l'OCDE et des pays partenaires. A partir de données illustratives concernant 18 tests, il examine des aspects conceptuels, organisationnels et méthodologiques des instruments d'évaluation existants. Le papier identifie différents types de résultats de l’enseignement et étudie la façon dont ceux-ci sont évalués dans les différents pays. Cette étude s'appuie sur des exemples provenant de l’Australie, du Brésil, du Mexique, du Royaume-Uni et des États-Unis.
    Date: 2008–02–29
  10. By: Daniel O. Beltran; Kuntal K. Das; Robert W. Fairlie
    Abstract: Although computers are universal in the classroom, nearly twenty million children in the United States do not have computers in their homes. Surprisingly, only a few previous studies explore the role of home computers in the educational process. Home computers might be very useful for completing school assignments, but they might also represent a distraction for teenagers. We use several identification strategies and panel data from the two main U.S. datasets that include recent information on computer ownership among children -- the 2000-2003 CPS Computer and Internet Use Supplements (CIUS) matched to the CPS Basic Monthly Files and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 -- to explore the causal relationship between computer ownership and high school graduation and other educational outcomes. Teenagers who have access to home computers are 6 to 8 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school than teenagers who do not have home computers after controlling for individual, parental, and family characteristics. We generally find evidence of positive relationships between home computers and educational outcomes using several identification strategies, including controlling for typically unobservable home environment and extracurricular activities in the NLSY97, fixed effects models, instrumental variables, and including future computer ownership and falsification tests. Home computers may increase high school graduation by reducing non-productive activities, such as truancy and crime, among children in addition to making it easier to complete school assignments.
    Keywords: technology, computers, education
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2008–03
  11. By: Amaia Iza (The University of the Basque Country); Cruz A. Echevarría (The University of the Basque Country)
    Abstract: n this paper we analyze the effects of social security policies in an unfunded, earnings-related social security system on the incentives to education investment and voluntary retirement, on growth and on income inequality. Growth is endogenously driven by human capital investment, individuals differ in their innate (learning) ability at birth, and the pension scheme includes a minimum pension. More skilled individuals spend more on education, minimum pensions reduce low skill individuals' incentives to invest in human capital, there is no monotonic relationship between per capita growth and income inequality.
    Keywords: Social Security; Pay-as-you-go; Voluntary Retirement; Human Capital; Minimum Pension
    JEL: O40 H55 J10
    Date: 2008–03–11
  12. By: Sheila Walbe Ornstein; Nanci Saraiva Moreira
    Abstract: Brazil’s São Paulo Metropolitan Region is conducting a performance evaluation pilot study at three schools serving disadvantaged populations. The objective is first to test methods which can facilitate Post Occupancy Evaluations (POEs) and then to carry out the evaluations. The preliminary results are provided below.
    Keywords: evaluation, secondary schools, school building design, learning environment, educational buildings
    Date: 2008–02
  13. By: Jonah E. Rockoff
    Abstract: Mentoring has become an extremely popular policy for improving the retention and performance of new teachers, but we know little about its effects on teacher and student outcomes. I study the impact of mentoring in New York City, which adopted a nationally recognized mentoring program in 2004. I use detailed program data to examine the relationship between teacher and student outcomes and measures of mentoring quality, such as hours of mentoring received and the characteristics of mentors. Although assignment of teachers to mentors was non-random, I use instrumental variables and school fixed effects to address potential sources of bias. I find strong relationships between measures of mentoring quality and teachers' claims regarding the impact of mentors on their success in the classroom, but weaker evidence of effects on teacher absences, retention, and student achievement. The most consistent finding is that retention within a particular school is higher when a mentor has previous experience working in that school, suggesting that an important part of mentoring may be the provision of school specific knowledge. I also find evidence that student achievement in both reading and math were higher among teachers that received more hours of mentoring, supporting the notion that time spent working with a mentor does improve teaching skills.
    JEL: I2 J24 J63
    Date: 2008–03
  14. By: Tanja Kirjavainen
    Abstract: In this study the efficiency of Finnish upper secondary schools is evaluated with stochastic frontier analysis. Different stochastic frontier models for panel data are used to estimate education production functions. The results in matriculation examination are explained with comprehensive school grade point average, parents? socioeconomic background, resources, length of studies and decentralization of test taking on matriculation examination. Controls for schools with specialized curriculum are also included. The heterogeneity across schools is allowed by estimating both true random and true fixed effects models. The results show that the effect of teaching resources on examination results is even negative when the heterogeneity across schools is taken into account. Length of studies and decentralization of test taking affected negatively on student achievement. The inefficiency and the rankings of schools based on inefficiency score varied quite considerably depending on the type of stochastic frontier model. The lowest estimates for inefficiency were obtained with true random and true fixed effects models that separate time constant random or fixed effects from inefficiency.
    Keywords: Efficiency, stochastic frontier analysis, secondary schools
    Date: 2007–11–08
  15. By: Akita, Takahiro; Miyata, Sachiko
    Abstract: "This paper considers urban-rural location and education as the main causes of expenditure inequality and attempts to examine inequality changes associated with urbanization and educational expansion in Indonesia from 1996 to 2002, using Indonesian monthly household consumption expenditure data. It introduces a hierarchical framework of inequality decomposition by population subgroups, which enables researchers to analyze inequality resulting from differences in educational attainment as well as inequality within each educational group, after the effects on inequality of urban–rural differences in the composition of educational attainments are removed. It finds that the urban sector's higher educational group contributes significantly to overall inequality. Inequality within the group increased significantly once Indonesia recovered from the financial crisis of 1998. This, together with educational expansion in urban areas, led to a conspicuous rise in urban inequality. Overall expenditure inequality has increased markedly, due not only to the rise in urban inequality but also a widening urban-rural disparity, accompanied by a population shift from the rural to the urban sector. Since more people will obtain higher education as the economy continues to develop, and more jobs requiring specialized skills become available in urban areas, urban inequality is likely to remain high. In order to mitigate urban inequality and thus overall inequality, the government needs to introduce policies that could reduce inequality among households whose heads have a tertiary education." from Authors' Abstract
    Keywords: Expenditure inequality, Urbanization, Educational expansion, Theil index, Two-stage nested inequality decomposition analysis, Public investment,
    Date: 2007
  16. By: Laurens Cherchye; Kristof De Witte; Erwin Ooghe
    Abstract: We present a nonparametric approach for the equity and efficiency evaluation of (private and public) primary schools in Flanders. First, we use a nonparametric (Data Envelopment Analysis) model that is specially tailored to assess educational efficiency at the pupil level. The model accounts for the fact that minimal prior structure typically available for the behavior (objectives and feasibility set) under evaluation, it reckons with outlier behavior in the available data, while it corrects for ‘environmental’ characteristics that are specific to each pupil. Second, we propose first- and second-order stochastic dominance (FSD and SSD) criteria as naturally complementary aggregation criteria for comparing the performance of different school types (private and public schools) in Flanders. While FSD only accounts for (Pareto) efficiency, SSD also takes (Pigou-Dalton) equality into consideration. We find that private schools outperform public schools in terms of SSD.
    Keywords: equity; efficiency; private versus public education; non-parametric analysis; data envelopment analysis; stochastic dominance
    Date: 2008–03
  17. By: Ueyama, Mika
    Abstract: "A tremendous increase in the number of orphans associated with a sharp rise in prime-age adult mortality due to AIDS has become a serious problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, more than 30 percent of school-aged children have lost at least one parent in Malawi. Lack of investments in human capital and adverse conditions during childhood are often associated with lower living standards in the future. Therefore, if orphans face an increased risk of poverty, exploitation, malnutrition, and poorer access to health care and schooling, early intervention is critical so as to avoid the potential poverty trap. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impacts of orphanhood/parental death on children's mortality risks, migration behaviors, and schooling outcomes, by using household panel data from Malawi, which has the eighth-highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. A number of studies have analyzed the relationship between parental death and children's school enrollment, but very few have considered mortality and mobility of orphans. This study uses the Malawi Complementary Panel Survey (CPS) conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and another institution between January 2000 and July 2004. Since these panel data do not track individuals that move to other households, we take into account sample attritions of children. This study uses three estimation methodologies to explore different aspects of impacts. First, we analyze regression models with controls for various sets of household and child characteristics and for village fixed effects to examine heterogeneous impacts of orphanhood across different types of households. Second, we employ household fixed-effect models to test the differential effects of orphanhood on welfare outcomes among different types of orphans living in the same household. Third, we examine the impact of recent parental death—parental death between 2000 and 2004—on schooling outcomes. Empirical results show that maternal orphans, as well as double orphans, tend to face higher mortality risks and lower schooling outcomes than paternal and non-orphans do. This is especially so for boys. Similarly, maternal and double orphans tend to move to other households more frequently. Compared to adolescent orphans, the impact on younger orphans who enrolled in school after the introduction of universal free primary education in 1994 is more muted, suggesting that free primary education policies may have mitigated adverse shocks from parental death. More interestingly, the impacts of orphanhood on schooling outcomes are significantly gender-dependent: boys face severer negative impacts of being orphans than girls do. These empirical results are robust to sample attrition due to mortality and mobility." from Authors' Abstract
    Keywords: Orphans, Mortality, HIV/AIDS, Mobility, Sample attrition, Education,
    Date: 2007
  18. By: De Paola, Maria; Scoppa, Vincenzo
    Abstract: In this paper we examine the signalling value for skills of different examination systems in relation to errors that may affect grades obtained by students. Firm use school grades as a signal of the effective skills of workers, taking into account that evaluation are effected by stochastic shocks. We show that more precise evaluation systems, being associated to a higher reactivity of wages to school grades, induce an higher level of student effort. However, the effect is heterogeneous: low ability students tend to react less compared to high ability students. Moreover, from our analysis, it emerges that individuals endowed with low abilities may prefer less accurate evaluation systems. Nevertheless, when productivity increases the convenience of these systems reduces and the number of individuals preferring them shrinks. Our analysis highlights an important trade-off between centralized and decentralized evaluation systems. Frequent evaluations, typical of decentralized systems, reduce the impact on grades of errors that influence student performance and in this way diminish signal noise, on the other hand, different teachers generally adopt different performance assessment standards, and this tends to produce noisier evaluations. Conversely, centralized systems use common evaluation standards, but their frequency is limited by relevant administration costs and then produce evaluations that are more affected by errors influencing student performance. In the final part of the paper we investigate the relationship between the optimal class size and evaluation systems. We show that under decentralized evaluation systems the class size also affects the signal noise, since larger classes may reduce the frequency of evaluations undertaken by teachers.
    JEL: I0
    Date: 2008–01–16
  19. By: Cowan, William (David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo); Cowan, Robin (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Llerena, Patrick (BETA, Universite Louis Pasteur)
    Abstract: Over the twentieth century universities in the industrialized world have evolved from being "universities of culture" to "universities of innovation." Policy makers and universities themselves see that one of their major roles is supporting industrial innovation and thus economic growth. We argue that this rests on a mis-cconception of the nature of innovation and the value of universities. We argue that a more appropriate function for this institution is as the "university of reflection" where scholarship and truth-seeking are the ultimate goals.
    Keywords: innovation, university-industry relations, role of universities
    JEL: O31 O33 O38 Z0
    Date: 2008

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