nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒05‒24
twelve papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. The "Bologna Process" and College Enrolment Decisions By Lorenzo Cappellari
  2. Students' Academic Self Perception By Arnaud Chevalier; Steve Gibbons; Andy Thorpe; Sherria Hoskins
  3. International School Test Scores and Economic Growth By Simon Appleton; Paul Atherton; Michael Bleaney
  4. Christian Missionaries and Education in Former Colonies: How Institutions Mattered By Francisco Gallego; Robert Woodberry
  5. The Returns to Observable and Unobservable Skills over time: Evidence from a Panel of the Population of Danish Twins By Paul Bingley; Kaare Christensen; Ian Walker
  6. The College Wage Premium, Overeducation, and the Expansion of Higher Education in the UK by and By Ian Walker; Yu Zhu
  7. The Effect of School Class Size on Post-Compulsory Education: Some Cost Benefit Analysis By Paul Bingley; Vibeke Myrup Jensen; Ian Walker
  8. Mother's education and birth weight By Arnaud Chevalier; Vincent O'Sullivan
  9. Fostering Educational Enrolment Through Subsidies: The Issue of Timing By Mario Fiorini
  10. Why Educated Mothers don’t Make Educated Children? A Statistical Study in the Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling By Chiara Pronzato
  11. Do Dads matter? Or is it just their money that matters? Unpicking the effects of separation on educational outcomes by and By Ian Walker; Yu Zhu
  12. Are Lone Mothers Responsive to Policy Changes? The Effects of a Norwegian Workfare Reform on Earnings, Education and Poverty By Magne Mogstad; Chiara Pronzato

  1. By: Lorenzo Cappellari (Department of Economics, Università Cattolica di Milano)
    Abstract: We use survey data on cohorts of high school graduates observed before and after the Italian reform of tertiary education implementing the ‘Bologna process’ to estimate the impact of the reform on the decision to go to college. We find that individuals leaving high school after the reform have a probability of going to college that is 10 percent higher compared to individuals making the choice under the old system. We show that this increase is concentrated among individuals with good high-school performance and low parental (educational) background. We interpret this result as an indication of the existence of constraints (pre-reform) -- for good students from less affluent household -- on the optimal schooling decision. For the students who would not have enrolled under the old system we also find a small negative impact of the reform on the likelihood to drop-out from university.
    Keywords: education, policy reform, school drop-out
    Date: 2008–04
  2. By: Arnaud Chevalier (Dept. of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, TW20 OEX + Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Steve Gibbons (Department of Geography, London School of Economics + Centre for Economics Performance, London School of Economics); Andy Thorpe (Department of Economics, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth); Sherria Hoskins (Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth)
    Abstract: Participation rates in higher education differ persistently between some groups in society. Using two British datasets we investigate whether this gap is rooted in students’ misperception of their own and other’s ability, thereby increasing the expected costs to studying. Among high school pupils, we find that pupils with a more positive view of their academic abilities are more likely to expect to continue to higher education even after controlling for observable measures of ability and students’ characteristics. University students are also poor at estimating their own test-performance and over-estimate their predicted test score. However, females, white and working class students have less inflated view of themselves. Self-perception has limited impact on the expected probability of success and expected returns amongst these university students.
    Keywords: Test performance, self-assessment, higher education participation, academic selfperception
    JEL: I21 J16 Y80
    Date: 2007–09–24
  3. By: Simon Appleton; Paul Atherton; Michael Bleaney
    Abstract: We expand Hanushek and Kimko’s (2000) analysis of the relationship between schooling quality, as measured by scores in international tests, and growth. We take account of another fifteen years of growth and approximately twice as many test score results. We treat the data first as a panel, relating growth only to test scores at earlier dates, and then as a cross-section. In both cases we find the effect of schooling quality on growth to be statistically significant but substantially smaller than that reported by Hanushek and Kimko (2000) and Hanushek and Woessmann (2007).
    Keywords: Growth, human capital, education
  4. By: Francisco Gallego (Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.); Robert Woodberry
    Abstract: Using cross-country data for about 70 countries and regional data for about 180 African provinces, we show that competition between Protestant and Catholic missionaries increased schooling in former colonies. Our evidence implies that Protestant missionaries increased schooling in Catholic countries by more than Catholic missionaries, but we cannot reject the hypothesis that the e ect of Protestant and Catholic missionaries on educational outcomes was similar when missionaries of both denominations faced the same legal and institutional treatment. We interpret these results in the context of an economic rationale in which di erent institutions created di erences in competitive pressures faced by Catholic and Protestant missionaries.
    Keywords: Education, Missionaries, Colonialism, Institutions, State Religions
    JEL: I20 N30 N37 N40 O15 O43 Z12
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Paul Bingley (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark); Kaare Christensen (Author-Name: Department of Epidemiology, University of Southern Denmark, 5000 Odense, Denmark); Ian Walker (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, Coventry)
    Abstract: This paper provides estimates of the private financial return to education based on large samples of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins which we obtain from Danish population registers. Our estimation exploits the fact that our data is a long panel. We show that the rising inequality, which we observe in the raw data, is due to rising returns to observable skills. Indeed, our results suggest that the inequality associated with unobservable skills appears to have fallen since the late 1980’s. The fact that we have both MZs and DZs allows us to separate the rising residual variance into changes in returns to unobservables and changes in the variance in unobservables across successive cohorts. Measurement error has been a concern in the twins literature since the usual methodology is based on within-twin differences. We exploit two instruments that provide additional measures of the within twin schooling difference, differences in when the twins first join the labour force on a full-time basis, which comes from a register that is independent of the education registers; and the strong assortative mating in the data which allows us to use twins spouse’s education as an instrument. We also address a further concern in the literature, that differencing between twins fails to remove individual fixed effects as opposed to family fixed effects resulting in schooling differences being correlated with the residual. This would induce the within twin schooling difference coefficient to be biased. Here we exploit the Danish equivalent of Maimonides’ rule which generates potential variation in education within twin pairs associated with being placed in different classes if they attended a small school in a larger than average cohort. This different experience across twin pairs is shown to generate differences in within twin schooling. Our baseline estimates suggests that correcting for selfselection in schooling, and measurement error, gives returns that are about two fifths higher than OLS for men and about one fifth higher for women.
    Keywords: wage inequality, schooling, twins, education returns, ability bias
    JEL: I20 J31
    Date: 2007–06–12
  6. By: Ian Walker (University of Warwick and the Institute for Fiscal Studies); Yu Zhu (University of Kent and Centre for the Economics of Education)
    Abstract: This paper provides findings from the UK Labour Force Surveys from 1993 to 2003 on the financial private returns to a degree – the “college premium”. The data covers a decade when the university participation rate doubled – yet we find no significant evidence that the mean return to a degree dropped in response to this large increase in the flow of graduates. However, we do find quite large falls in returns when we compare the cohorts that went to university before and after the recent rapid expansion of HE. The evidence is consistent with the notion that new graduates are a close substitute for recent graduates but poor substitutes for older graduates. There appears to have been a very recent increase in the number of graduates getting “non-graduate” jobs but, conditional on getting a graduate job the returns seem stable. Our results are consistent across almost all degree subjects – the exception being maths and engineering where we find that, especially for women, there is a large increase in the proportion with maths and engineering degrees getting graduate jobs and that, conditional on this, the return is rising.
    Keywords: human capital, higher education, college premium
    JEL: I20 J30
    Date: 2007–06–12
  7. By: Paul Bingley (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark); Vibeke Myrup Jensen (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark); Ian Walker (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper is concerned with the relationship between class size and the student outcome – length of time in post-compulsory schooling. Research on this topic has been problematic partly because omitted unobservables, like parents’ incomes and education levels, are likely to be correlated with class size. Two potential ways to resolve this problem are to exploit either experimental or instrumental variation. In both cases, the methods require that the variation in both class size and the outcome should not be contaminated by other unobservable factors that affect the outcome – like family background. An alternative approach, which we pursue here, is to take advantage of variation in class size between siblings which allows unobservable family effects to be differenced out. Our aim is to combine sibling differences with a fuzzy rule that determines class size to provide estimates of the effect of class size and use these to conduct an evaluation of the costs and benefits of a reduction in class sizes.
    Keywords: class size, regression discontinuity, sibling differences
    JEL: I22 C23
    Date: 2007–06–08
  8. By: Arnaud Chevalier (Department of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London, and Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Vincent O'Sullivan (Department of Economics, Warwick University and Geary Institute, University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Low birth weight has considerable short and long-term consequences and leads to high costs to the individual and society even in a developed economy. Low birth weight is partially a consequence of choices made by the mother pre- and during pregnancy. Thus policies affecting these choices could have large returns. Using British data, maternal education is found to be positively correlated with birth weight. We identify a causal effect of education using the 1947 reform of the minimum school leaving age. Change in compulsory school leaving age has been previously used as an instrument, but has been criticised for mostly picking up time trends. Here, we demonstrate that the policy effects differ by social background and hence provide identification across cohorts but also within cohort. We find modest but heterogenous positive effects of maternal education on birth weight with an increase from the baseline weight ranging from 2% to 6%.
    Keywords: Returns to education, health
    JEL: I12 I29
    Date: 2007–06–12
  9. By: Mario Fiorini (School of Finance and Economics, University of Technology, Sydney)
    Abstract: In this paper we build a dynamic structural model of educational choices in which cognitive skills shape decisions. The model is estimated by maximum likelihood using cohort data where individuals are observed from birth onwards. These data are unique in that they include cognitive skills test scores collected as early as age 7. We then simulate the e?ect of two educational subsidies equal in cost but different in the timing of disbursement. The ?rst consists of grants assigned directly to individuals aged between 16 and 18. The second is assigned to the parents earlier on, when the cohort is still in its childhood. The latter subsidy affects cognitive skills accumulation and in turn educational choices. Our results suggest that a direct grant in the form of a tuition subsidy might be more efficient even in the absence of short term ?nancial constraints. Although cognitive skills accumulated during childhood play a key role in the educational decisions, an unconditional ?nancial subsidy to parents is not the best policy. The results do not call a halt to investments in cognitive skill accumulation during childhood, but recommend that such investments should be well structured and ensure a high return.
    Keywords: educational decisions; dynamic structural estimation; tuition subsidy; parental income subsidy
    JEL: I21 I28 J24 J31
    Date: 2008–05–01
  10. By: Chiara Pronzato (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: More educated parents are observed to have better educated children. From a policy point of view, however, it is important to distinguish between causation and simple selection. Researchers trying to control for unobserved ability have found conflicting results: in most cases, they have found a strong positive paternal effect but a negligible maternal effect. In this paper, I evaluate the impact on the robustness of the estimates of the characteristics of the samples commonly used in this strand of research: samples of small size, with low variability in parental education, not randomly selected from the population.
    Keywords: education, intergenerational links
    Date: 2008–03
  11. By: Ian Walker (University of Warwick and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Yu Zhu (University of Kent and Centre for the Economics of Education)
    Abstract: The widely held view that separation has adverse effects on children has been the basis of important policy interventions. While a small number of analyses have been concerned with selection into divorce, no studies have attempted to separate out the effects of one parent (mostly the father) leaving, from the effects of that parent's money leaving, on the outcomes for the child. This paper is concerned with early school leaving and educational attainment and their relationship to parental separation, and parental incomes. While we find that parental separation has strong effects on these outcomes this result seems not to be robust to adding additional control variables. In particular, we find that when we include income our results then indicate that father’s departure appears to be unimportant for early school leaving and academic achievement, while income is significant. This suggests that income may have been an important unobservable, that is correlated with separation and the outcome variables, in earlier research. Indeed, this finding also seems to be true in our instrumental variables analysis – although the effect of income is slightly weakened.
    Keywords: parental separation, parental incomes, early school leaving, educational attainment
    JEL: D13 D31 J12 J13 J16 J22
    Date: 2007–06–12
  12. By: Magne Mogstad (Statistics Norway); Chiara Pronzato (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: This study evaluates a Norwegian single parent benefit reform, in which work and educational requirements were introduced, time limits imposed, and the maximum benefit level increased. We propose to identify the impact of the reform by taking the difference between a pre-reform difference-in-difference estimator and a post-reform difference-in-difference estimator of the effects of becoming single mother on earnings, education, and poverty. This estimator will, unlike the commonly applied difference-in-difference estimator, capture the effects of policy changes when the institutional setup involves a phase-in period from the time a reform is introduced to it is fully implemented. The main findings of this study are that the reform had an overall positive effect on earnings as well as on education of single mothers. Furthermore, we find that the reform led to remarkable decrease in poverty, especially for single mothers with young children. This was driven both by increased earnings and higher benefit amounts. Our findings also demonstrate substantial heterogeneity in the responses of single mothers to the reform by age and educational level. Altogether, the results from this paper undermine the argument in favour of generous out-of-work benefits to support individuals prone to poverty, rather than encouraging self-sufficiency by strengthening the incentives to work and undertake education.
    Keywords: labour supply, poverty, single parents
    Date: 2008–04

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