nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒07‒14
sixteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Self-Selection into Teaching: The Role of Teacher Education Institutions By Denzler, Stefan; Wolter, Stefan
  2. Short-Run Distributional Effects of Public Education Transfers to Tertiary Education Students in Seven European Countries By Callan, Tim; Smeeding, Tim; Tsakloglou, Panos
  3. Why Should State Government Invest in College Education? An Equilibrium Approach for the US in 2000 By Shields, Michael P.
  4. An Analysis of Student Satisfaction: Full-Time versus Part-Time Students. By Ana I. Moro Egido; Judith Panadés
  5. Pennies from Heaven? Using Exogeneous Tax Variation to Identify Effects of School Resources on Pupil Achievements By Haegeland, Torbjørn; Raaum, Oddbjørn; Salvanes, Kjell G.
  6. The lengthening of childhood By David Deming; Susan Dynarski
  7. The Effects of Remedial Mathematics on the Learning of Economics: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Lagerlöf, Johan N.M.; Seltzer, Andrew J
  8. Education and Crime over the Life Cycle By Giulio Fella; Giovanni Gallipoli
  9. General Education vs. Vocational Training: Evidence from an Economy in Transition By Ofer Malamud; Cristian Pop-Eleches
  10. Skill gaps in the EU: role for education and training policies By Bert Minne; Marc van der Steeg; Dinand Webbink
  11. Urban Schools in Sweden - Between Social Predicaments, the Power of Stigma and Relational Dilemmas By Bunar, Nihad
  12. Schools, Skills, and Synapses By Heckman, James J.
  13. The Role of Educational Choice in Occupational Gender Segregation: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago By Sookram, Sandra; Strobl, Eric
  14. Biological versus Foster Children Education : the Old-Age Support Motive as a Catch-up Determinant ? Some Evidence from Indonesia By Karine Marazyan
  15. Education, Information, and Improved Health: Evidence from Breast Cancer Screening By Chen, Keith; Lange, Fabian
  16. Discounting Financial Literacy: Time Preferences and Participation in Financial Education Programs By Meier, Stephan; Sprenger, Charles

  1. By: Denzler, Stefan (Swiss Co-ordination Center for Research in Education); Wolter, Stefan (Swiss Co-ordination Center for Research in Education)
    Abstract: Good teachers are critical for a high-quality educational system. This in turns leads to the question of who is interested in going into the teaching profession. Although research has been done on the professional careers of teachers, the issue of self-selection into teacher education has been mostly overlooked until now. The analyses contained in our study are based on a representative sampling of over 1500 high-school students in Switzerland shortly before graduation. The findings indicate that there is a self-selection process with regard to courses of study at teaching training institutions, which is reinforced by institutional and structural characteristics of the types of higher education institutions and the courses of study they offer. This can clearly be seen in comparison with high-school students preparing to study at another type of higher educational institution (university). Accordingly, the findings of this paper tend to indicate that the choices made by future teachers depend to a large extent also on where and how teachers are trained.
    Keywords: teacher education, teacher training, teacher education colleges, self-selection, v
    JEL: I2 I28 J24
    Date: 2008–05
  2. By: Callan, Tim (ESRI, Dublin); Smeeding, Tim (Syracuse University); Tsakloglou, Panos (Athens University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: Direct provision of public services can alter the balance of resources across income groups. We focus on the issues arising when taking account of the impact of publicly provided education services across the income distribution. We combine OECD information on spending per student in particular levels of the education system with micro data from nationwide income surveys to track the allocation of resources. We pay particular attention to the role of third level education, and provide comparable results for seven European countries (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK).
    Keywords: inequality, in-kind transfers, tertiary education, Europe
    JEL: I28 D31 H42
    Date: 2008–06
  3. By: Shields, Michael P. (Central Michigan University)
    Abstract: This paper is a preliminary look at the benefits to states in the US of subsidizing college education. The benefits studies are the external benefits of college education on the earnings of both college graduates and those who have not graduated from college. In completing a college education individuals earn more. In addition, if there are positive external benefits others will also earn more because the average level of college graduates in the state has risen. This study confirms the existence of these positive externalities for the US in 2000 in estimates using the Current Population Survey. Furthermore, these external benefits are large enough that if confirmed in more complete studies would suggest that states invest too little in college education.
    Keywords: human capital, externalities, higher education
    JEL: J2 J24 H52
    Date: 2008–06
  4. By: Ana I. Moro Egido (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.); Judith Panadés (Unitat de Fonaments de l’Anàlisi Economica and CODE, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.)
    Abstract: This paper examines how students’ characteristics and experiences affect their level of satisfaction with their academic program. Data for this study are drawn from a graduate student opinion survey conducted at a public university in Spain from 2001 to 2004. The fact that one student worked and studied at the same time emerges as one of the most important determinants of student satisfaction. In particular, our results show that alumni who had a part-time job while they were studying are more likely to report being less satisfied with their college experience.
    Keywords: Student Satisfaction, College Graduates, Higher Education, Part-time Student, Employment Status
    JEL: E62 H26
    Date: 2008–07–04
  5. By: Haegeland, Torbjørn (Statistics Norway); Raaum, Oddbjørn (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Salvanes, Kjell G. (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: Despite important policy implications associated with the allocation of education resources, evidence on the effectiveness of school inputs remains inconclusive. In part, this is due to endogenous allocation; families sort themselves non-randomly into school districts and school districts allocate money based in order to compensate (or reinforce) differences in child abilities, which leaves estimates of school input effects likely to be biased. Using variation in education expenditures induced by the location of natural resources in Norway we examine the effect of school resources on pupil outcomes. We find that higher school expenditures, triggered by higher revenues from local taxes on hydropower plants, have a significantly positive effect on pupil performance at age 16. The positive IV estimates contrast with the standard cross-sectional estimates that reveal no effects of extra resources.
    Keywords: pupil achievement, school resources
    JEL: I21 I28 J00
    Date: 2008–06
  6. By: David Deming; Susan Dynarski
    Abstract: Forty years ago, 96 percent of six-year-old children were enrolled in first grade or above. As of 2005, the figure was just 84 percent. The school attendance rate of six-year-olds has not decreased; rather, they are increasingly likely to be enrolled in kindergarten rather than first grade. This paper documents this historical shift. We show that only about a quarter of the change can be proximately explained by changes in school entry laws; the rest reflects "academic redshirting," the practice of enrolling a child in a grade lower than the one for which he is eligible. We show that the decreased grade attainment of six-year-olds reverberates well beyond the kindergarten classroom. Recent stagnation in the high school and college completion rates of young people is partly explained by their later start in primary school. The relatively late start of boys in primary school explains a small but significant portion of the rising gender gaps in high school graduation and college completion. Increases in the age of legal school entry intensify socioeconomic differences in educational attainment, since lower-income children are at greater risk of dropping out of school when they reach the legal age of school exit.
    Keywords: Education
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Lagerlöf, Johan N.M.; Seltzer, Andrew J
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of remedial mathematics on performance in university-level economics courses using a natural experiment. We study exam results prior and subsequent to the implementation of a remedial mathematics course that was compulsory for a sub-set of students and unavailable for the others, controlling for background variables. We find that, consistent with previous studies, the level of and performance in secondary-school mathematics have strong predictive power on students’ performance at university-level economics. However, we find relatively little evidence for a positive effect of remedial mathematics on student performance.
    Keywords: differences-in-differences; quantile regressions; remedial mathematics; teaching of economics
    JEL: A22 I20
    Date: 2008–07
  8. By: Giulio Fella (Queen Mary, University of London); Giovanni Gallipoli (University of British Columbia)
    Abstract: In this paper we ask whether policies targeting a reduction in crime rates through changes in education outcomes can be considered an effective and cost-viable alternative to interventions based on harsher punishment alone. In particular we study the effect of subsidizing high school completion. Most econometric studies of the impact of crime policies ignore equilibrium effects and are often reduced-form. This paper provides a framework within which to study the equilibrium impact of alternative policies. We develop an overlapping generation, life-cycle model with endogenous education and crime choices. Education and crime depend on different dimensions of heterogeneity, which takes the form of differences in innate ability and wealth at birth as well as employment shocks. PSID, NIPA and CPS data are used to estimate the parameters of a production function with different types of human capital and to approximate a distribution of permanent heterogeneity. These estimates are used to pin down some of the model's parameters. The model is calibrated to match education enrolments, aggregate (property) crime rate and some features of the wealth distribution. In our numerical experiments we find that policies targeting crime reduction through increases in high school graduation rates are more cost-effective than simple incapacitation policies. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of high school subsidies increases significantly if they are targeted at the wealth poor. We also find that financial incentives to high school graduation have radically different implications in general and partial equilibrium (i.e. the scale of the programmes can substantially change its outcomes).
    Keywords: Crime, Education, Subsidies
    JEL: H52
    Date: 2008–07
  9. By: Ofer Malamud; Cristian Pop-Eleches
    Abstract: This paper examines the relative benefits of general education and vocational training in Romania, a country which experienced major technological and institutional change during its transition from Communism to a market economy. To avoid the bias caused by non-random selection, we exploit a 1973 educational reform that shifted a large proportion of students from vocational training to general education while keeping average years of schooling unchanged. Using data from the 1992 and 2002 Romanian Censuses and household surveys from 1995-2000, we analyze the effect of this policy with a regression discontinuity design. We find that men in cohorts affected by the policy were significantly less likely to work in manual or craft-related occupations than their counterparts who were unaffected by the policy. However, in contrast to cross-sectional findings, we find no difference in labor market participation or earnings between cohorts affected and unaffected by the policy. We therefore conclude that differences in labor market returns between graduates of vocational and general schools are largely driven by selection.
    JEL: I21 J24 P20
    Date: 2008–07
  10. By: Bert Minne; Marc van der Steeg; Dinand Webbink
    Abstract: Skill gaps are widely seen as a problem that lowers aggregate productivity growth. A question for the European Commission is whether and how governments should take action with education and training policies to reduce skill gaps and make Europe the best performing region in the world. European citizens can best decide for themselves on the type of education. Distribution of information on occupation prospects is effective to influence their choice of education. Moreover, it is important that the education system is sufficiently flexible to absorb unexpected shocks in skill needs of employees. Policies stimulating education targeted at government-assigned sectors are risky policies. Intensification of general education at the cost of specific education, and intensification of training of employees find little support.
    Keywords: Skill gaps; education and training policy; market failures
    JEL: I28 J24
    Date: 2008–04
  11. By: Bunar, Nihad (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS)
    Abstract: Multicultural urban schools in Sweden are facing two major challenges. First, the communities they serve are typically stigmatized and economically impoverished, leading to growing concerns regarding the quality of education, lack of credibility an outflow of students. The second challenge is the ambivalent relations with students’ parents (presumable consumers and partners, but who are also regarded as culturally conservative) and with a broader community, such as public authorities and universities. I argue that we cannot understand the practical operations and outcomes of multicultural schools if we only look at curriculum, individual attitudes or freedom of choice policy and do not examine the broader challenges facing these institutions. What is needed is a more relational approach linking together the interests of different groups, policy changes, modes of representation and the educators’ practices.
    Keywords: Urban education; community; stigma; relations; multicultural
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2008–07–08
  12. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper discusses (a) the role of cognitive and noncognitive ability in shaping adult outcomes, (b) the early emergence of differentials in abilities between children of advantaged families and children of disadvantaged families, (c) the role of families in creating these abilities, (d) adverse trends in American families, and (e) the effectiveness of early interventions in offsetting these trends. Practical issues in the design and implementation of early childhood programs are discussed.
    Keywords: productivity, high school dropout, ability gaps, family influence, noncognitive skills, early interventions
    JEL: A12
    Date: 2008–05
  13. By: Sookram, Sandra (University of the West Indies, SALISES); Strobl, Eric (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)
    Abstract: We analyse the role of educational choice on the degree of occupational segregation in Trinidad and Tobago during a period in which educational policies intent on equating gender opportunities in education were implemented. To this end we utilise waves of the Trinidad and Tobago labour force survey over the period 1991-2004. Our results show that while educational segregation has fallen substantially over our sample period, this has not translated into less occupational segregation. This suggests that the educational policy has not been sufficient to combat occupational segregation. However, results at a more disaggregated level show that experiences have been heterogeneous across educational and occupational groups.
    Keywords: educational choice, occupational segregation, gender
    JEL: I21 J16 J24
    Date: 2008–06
  14. By: Karine Marazyan (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I)
    Abstract: This paper aims at explaining differences in education among foster-children and between foster and biological children in developing countries. Foster-children whose biological parents are alive may provide old-age support for both their host and biological parents. Therefore foster-children have lower returns to education than biological children and should receive less human capital investment in household where both types of children live together. However, in households where foster-children are alone, host parents will over-invest in their education to ensure that the expected old-age support will equal a minimum amount to survive. Using data from Indonesia, we provide some evidence supporting our hypothesis.
    Keywords: Household structure, child fostering, sibling rivalry.
    Date: 2008–07
  15. By: Chen, Keith (Yale University); Lange, Fabian (Yale University)
    Abstract: While it is well known that education strongly predicts health, less is known as to why. One reason might be that education improves health-care decision making. In this paper we attempt to disentangle improved decision making from other effects of education, and to quantify how large an impact it has on both a patient’s demand for health services, and that demand’s sensitivity to objective risk factors. We do this by estimating a simple structural model of information acquisition and health decisions for data on women’s self-reported breast-cancer risk and screening behavior. This allows us to separately identify differences in the ability to process health information and differences in overall demand for health. Our results suggest that the observed education gradient in screening stems from a higher willingness-to-pay for health among the educated, but that the main reason why the educated respond more to risk factors in their screening decision is because they are much better informed about the risk factors they face.
    Keywords: education, allocative efficiency, health
    JEL: I10 I12 I20 D83
    Date: 2008–06
  16. By: Meier, Stephan (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston); Sprenger, Charles (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: Many policy makers and economists argue that financial literacy is key to financial well-being. But why do many individuals remain financially illiterate despite the apparent importance of being financially informed? This paper presents results of a field study linking individual decisions to acquire personal financial information to a critical, and normally unobservable, characteristic: time preferences. We offered a short, free credit counseling and information program to more than 870 individuals. About 55 percent chose to participate. Independently, we elicited time preferences using incentivized choice experiments both for individuals who selected into the program and those who did not. Our results show that the two groups differ sharply in their measured discount factors. Individuals who choose to acquire personal financial information through the credit counseling program discount the future less than individuals who choose not to participate. Our results suggest that individual time preference may explain who will and who will not choose to become financially literate. This has implications for the validity of studies evaluating voluntary financial education programs and policy efforts focused on expanding financial education.
    Keywords: financial literacy, time preferences, selection, field experiment
    JEL: D14 D91 C93
    Date: 2008–05

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