nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒07‒30
twenty papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Unequal Access to Higher Education in the Czech Republic: The Role of Spatial Distribution of Universities By Michal Franta; Martin Guzi
  2. Does the expansion of higher education increase the equality of educational opportunities? Evidence from Italy By Massimiliano Bratti; Daniele Checchi; Guido de Blasio
  3. Learning from physics education research: Lessons for economics education By Simkins, Scott P.; Maier, Mark H.
  4. Does Distance Determine Who Attends a University in Germany? By C. Katharina Spieß; Katharina Wrohlich
  5. School Competition and Efficiency with Publicly Funded Catholic Schools By David Card; Martin Dooley; Abigail Payne
  6. Financial Student Aid and Enrollment into Higher Education : New Evidence from Germany By Viktor Steiner; Katharina Wrohlich
  7. Financial Student Aid and Enrollment into Higher Education: New Evidence from Germany By Steiner, Viktor; Wrohlich, Katharina
  8. The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance By Juan Carlos Calcagno; Bridget Terry Long
  9. Can Equality in Education Be A New Anti-Corruption Tool?: Cross-Country Evidence (1990-2005) By Patrawart, Kraiyos
  10. Diploma earning differences by gender in Colombia By Jhon James Mora; Juan Muro
  11. The Consequences of High School Exit Examinations for Struggling Low-Income Urban Students: Evidence from Massachusetts By John P. Papay; Richard J. Murnane; John B. Willett
  12. Labour market for teachers: Demographic characteristics and allocative mechanisms By Gianna Barbieri; Piero Cipollone; Paolo Sestito
  13. Mother's education and birth weight By Arnaud Chevalier; Vincent O'Sullivan
  14. (The Evolution of) Post-Secondary Education: A Computational Model and Experiments By Andreas Ortmann; Sergey Slobodyan
  15. From Giving Birth to Paid Labor: The Effects of Adult Education for Prime-Aged Mothers By Bergemann, Annette; van den Berg, Gerard J.
  16. Higher Education, the Health Care Industry, and Metropolitan Regional Economic Development: What Can “Eds & Meds” Do for the Economic Fortunes of a Metro Area’s Residents? By Timothy J. Bartik; George Erickcek
  17. Does a generous welfare state crowd out student achievement? Panel data evidence from international student tests By Torberg Falch; Justina AV Fischer
  18. Two Tales on the Returns to Education: The Impact of Trade on Wages By Tebaldi, Edinaldo; Kim, Jongsung
  19. Successful Patterns of Scientific Knowledge Sourcing: Mix and Match By Aschhoff, Birgit; Sofka, Wolfgang
  20. University Spin-Off’s Transfer Speed: Analyzing the Time from Leaving University to Venture By Müller, Kathrin

  1. By: Michal Franta; Martin Guzi
    Abstract: The Czech Republic exhibits high geographical variation of both human capital and universities. We examine a potential source of human capital spatial disparities: the unequal access to tertiary education caused by the absence/presence of a local university. We model both a secondary school graduate’s decision whether to apply to a university and a university’s decision about admission. Two possible sources of unequal access to university study are distinguished: cost savings and informational advantages for those residing close to a university. Estimation results suggest that the local neighborhood having a highly educated population, rather than the presence of a university per se, has a positive effect on a secondary school graduate’s decision to apply. Moreover, we find that heterogenous information plays a significant role in admission to university.
    Keywords: Human capital, spatial distribution, access to tertiary education.
    JEL: I20 I21 J24
    Date: 2008–03
  2. By: Massimiliano Bratti (Univesrity of Milan); Daniele Checchi (Univesrity of Milan); Guido de Blasio (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of the expansion of higher education supply in increasing the equality of post-secondary education opportunities. It examines ItalyÂ’s experience during the 1990s, when policy changes prompted universities to offer a wider range of degree courses and to open new campuses. Our analysis focuses on full-time students (not older than 31); the results suggest that the expansion had only limited effects in terms of reducing individual inequality in higher education achievement. That is, the greater availability of courses had a significant positive impact only on the probability of enrolment, not on that of obtaining a university degree, while the opening of new campuses had no effect.
    Keywords: Higher Education, family background, Italy
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2008–06
  3. By: Simkins, Scott P.; Maier, Mark H.
    Abstract: We believe that economists have much to learn from educational research practices and related pedagogical innovations in other disciplines, in particular physics education. In this paper we identify three key features of physics education research that distinguish it from economics education research - (1) the intentional grounding of physics education research in learning science principles, (2) a shared conceptual research framework focused on how students learn physics concepts, and (3) a cumulative process of knowledge-building in the discipline - and describe their influence on new teaching pedagogies, instructional activities, and curricular design in physics education. In addition, we highlight four specific examples of successful pedagogical innovations drawn from physics education - context-rich problems, concept tests, just-in-time teaching, and interactive lecture demonstrations - and illustrate how these practices can be adapted for economic education.
    Keywords: economic education; physics education research (PER); research-based teaching; preconceptions; metacognition; transfer; context-rich problems; peer instruction; just-in-time teaching; interactive lecture demonstration
    JEL: A2
    Date: 2008–06–27
  4. By: C. Katharina Spieß; Katharina Wrohlich
    Abstract: We analyze the role of distance from a university in the decision to attend higher education in Germany. Students who live near a university can avoid moving and the increased living expenses by commuting. Thus, transaction cost arguments would suggest that the greater the distance to the nearest university, the lower the participation in higher education. We analyse this hypothesis by combining data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) with a database from the German Rectors¿ Conference on university postal codes. Based on a discrete time hazard rate model we show that distance to the next university at the time of completing high school significantly affects the decision to enrol in tertiary education. Controlling for many other socio-economic and regional variables, we find that 1 kilometre distance decreases the probability to enrol in higher education by 0.2 ¿ 0.3 percentage points
    Keywords: Higher education, distance to university, competing risk model
    JEL: I2 R1
    Date: 2008
  5. By: David Card; Martin Dooley; Abigail Payne
    Abstract: The province of Ontario has two publicly funded school systems: secular schools (known as public schools) that are open to all students, and separate schools that are open to children with Catholic backgrounds. The systems are administered independently and receive equal funding per student. In this paper we use detailed school and student-level data to assess whether competition between the systems leads to improved efficiency. Building on a simple model of school choice, we argue that incentives for effort will be greater in areas where there are more Catholic families, and where these families are less committed to a particular system. To measure the local determinants of cross-system competition we study the effects of school openings on enrollment growth at nearby elementary schools. We find significant cross-system responses to school openings, with a magnitude that is proportional to the fraction of Catholics in the area, and is higher in more rapidly growing areas. We then test whether schools that face greater cross-system competition have higher productivity, as measured by test score gains between 3rd and 6th grade. We estimate a statistically significant but modest-sized impact of potential competition on the growth rate of student achievement. The estimates suggest that extending competition to all students would raise average test scores in 6th grade by 6-8% of a standard deviation.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: Viktor Steiner; Katharina Wrohlich
    Abstract: We estimate the elasticity of enrollment into higher education with respect to the amount of means tested student aid (BAfoeG) provided by the federal government using the German Socioeconomic Panel (SOEP). Potential student aid is derived on the basis of a detailed taxbenefit microsimulation model. Since potential student aid is a highly non-linear and discontinuous function of parental income, the effect of BAfoeG on students' enrollment decisions can be identified separately from parental income and other family background variables. We find a small but significant positive elasticity similar in size to those reported in previous studies for the United States and other countries.
    Keywords: Higher Education, Financial Incentives, Competing Risk Model
    JEL: H52 H24 I28
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Steiner, Viktor (DIW Berlin); Wrohlich, Katharina (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: We estimate the elasticity of enrollment into higher education with respect to the amount of means tested student aid (BAfoeG) provided by the federal government using the German Socioeconomic Panel (SOEP). Potential student aid is derived on the basis of a detailed tax-benefit microsimulation model. Since potential student aid is a highly non-linear and discontinuous function of parental income, the effect of BAfoeG on students’ enrollment decisions can be identified separately from parental income and other family background variables. We find a small but significant positive elasticity similar in size to those reported in previous studies for the United States and other countries.
    Keywords: higher education, financial incentives, competing risk model
    JEL: H52 H24 I28
    Date: 2008–07
  8. By: Juan Carlos Calcagno; Bridget Terry Long
    Abstract: Remedial or developmental courses are the most common instruments used to assist postsecondary students who are not ready for college-level coursework. However, despite its important role in higher education and substantial costs, there is little rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of college remediation on the outcomes of students. This study uses a detailed dataset to identify the causal effect of remediation on the outcomes of nearly 100,000 college students in Florida. Using a Regression Discontinuity design, we provide causal estimates while also investigating possible endogenous sorting around the policy cutoff. The results suggest math and reading remedial courses have mixed benefits. Being assigned to remediation appears to increase persistence to the second year and the total number of credits completed for students on the margin of passing out of the requirement, but it does not increase the completion of college-level credits or eventual degree completion. Taken together, the results suggest that remediation might promote early persistence in college, but it does not necessarily help students on the margin of passing the placement cutoff make long-term progress toward earning a degree.
    JEL: C1 I2 J24
    Date: 2008–07
  9. By: Patrawart, Kraiyos
    Abstract: Recently, expectations have been raised on the civic participation role that requires supports from free press, decent average years in education attainment and independent juridical system in controlling corruption. Even so, questions have been put forward on how far this promising approach can go. This paper asks if these determinants are sufficient for fighting corruption through civic engagement. We propose that education in particular its distribution is the crucial tool for the majority of citizens to correctly acquire the key information and skills to succeed in their anti-corruption initiatives. This paper presents the simple reduced-form theoretical model which allows education inequality among agents before it employs the cross-national panel data estimations between 1990-2005 to evaluate the anti-corruption effect of education equality across the globe. Education equality significantly shows independent and complimentary anti-corruption effects through press freedom and the length of democracy. However, the anti-corruption effect of average years in education lost its robustness when education equality measures are included in fixed effects estimation.
    Keywords: Political Economy;Corruption; Distribution of Education; Factor Analysis
    JEL: O15 I21 D72
    Date: 2008–06–09
  10. By: Jhon James Mora (Departamento de Economía. Universidad ICESI.); Juan Muro (Departamento de Estadística, Estructura y O.E.I. Universidad de Alcalá.)
    Abstract: This paper discusses the existence of diploma earnings differences by gender in Colombia with a model of sheepskin effects based on pseudo panel data for the period 1996-2000. Our results show a significant and distinctive effect of high school and university degrees among men and women. Thus, additional earnings associated with a high school degree are higher for women than for men, while additional earnings associated with a university degree are higher for men compared to women in Colombia in the period under consideration.
    Keywords: Sheepskin effects, pseudo panel data, gender, selection bias, Colombia.
    JEL: J7 J31 C31
    Date: 2007
  11. By: John P. Papay; Richard J. Murnane; John B. Willett
    Abstract: The growing prominence of high-stakes exit examinations has made questions about their effects on student outcomes increasingly important. We take advantage of a natural experiment to evaluate the causal effects of failing a high-stakes test on high school completion for the cohort scheduled to graduate from Massachusetts high schools in 2006. With these exit examinations, states divide a continuous performance measure into dichotomous categories, so students with essentially identical performance may have different outcomes. We find that, for low-income urban students on the margin of passing, failing the 10th grade mathematics examination reduces the probability of on-time graduation by eight percentage points. The large majority (89%) of students who fail the 10th grade mathematics examination retake it. However, although we find that low-income urban students are just as likely to retake the test as apparently equally skilled suburban students, they are much less likely to pass this retest. Furthermore, failing the 8th grade mathematics examination reduces by three percentage points the probability that low-income urban students stay in school through 10th grade. We find no effects for suburban students or wealthier urban students.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2008–07
  12. By: Gianna Barbieri (Ministry of Education); Piero Cipollone (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department); Paolo Sestito (Bank of Italy, Economic Research Department)
    Abstract: The paper considers the teachers’ labour market in Italy. The quality and motivation of teachers are certainly among the determinants of pupils’ achievement, but they are difficult to measure, so we examine the composition of the pool of teachers and their behaviour to infer information about them. We look also at the institutional features that motivate the implicit contract that drives Italian teachers' behaviour, which essentially involves low salary and correspondingly low commitment and effort. In particular we examine the mechanism that allocates teachers to schools. For each school we construct three indicators; one indicating the level of turnover, which we interpret as a source of turmoil; one that refers to the mismatch between tenured teachers and their school; and a “revealed preferences indicator” that measures the schools’ quality as evaluated by the population of tenured teachers. We measure the association at the school level of our indicators with achievement as gauged by PISA 2003. Students scores are correlated negatively to the turnover and the mismatch indicators, positively to revealed preferences.
    Keywords: Teachers labour market, Italian educational system
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2008–06
  13. 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
  14. By: Andreas Ortmann; Sergey Slobodyan
    Abstract: We propose a computational model to study (the evolution of) post-secondary education. “Consumers” who differ in quality shop around for desirable colleges or universities. “Firms” that differ in quality signal the availability of their services to desirable students. As long as they have capacity, colleges and universities make offers to students, who apply and qualify. Our model generalizes an earlier literature (namely, Vriend 1995) in an important dimension: quality, the model confirms key predictions of an analytical model that we also supply, and the model allows us to systematically explore the emergence of macro regularities and the consequences of various strategies that sellers might try. We supply three such exercises. In our baseline treatment we establish the dynamics and asymptotics of our generalized matching model. In the second treatment we study the consequences of opportunistic behavior of firms and thus demonstrate the usefulness of our computational laboratory for the analysis of this or similar questions (e.g., the problem of early admission). In the third treatment we equip some firms with economies of scale. This variant of our matching model is motivated by the entry of for-profit providers into low-quality segments of post-secondary education in the USA and by empirical evidence that, while traditional nonprofit or state-supported providers of higher education do not have significant economies of scale, the new breed of for-profit providers seems to capture economies in core functions such as curricular design, advertising, informational infrastructure, and regulatory compliance. Our computational results suggest that this new breed of providers is likely to continue to move up the quality ladder, albeit not necessarily all the way up to the top.
    Keywords: Post-secondary education, for-profit higher education providers, computational simulations.
    JEL: C63 D21 D83 I21 L15
    Date: 2008–06
  15. By: Bergemann, Annette (Free University of Amsterdam); van den Berg, Gerard J. (Free University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Women without work after childbirth are at risk of losing their connection to the labor market. However, they may participate in adult education programs. We analyze the effect of this on the duration to work and on the wage rate, by applying conditional difference-in-differences approaches. We use Swedish matched longitudinal register data sets covering the full population. The Swedish adult education program is unprecedented in its size, and enrollment is universally available at virtually no cost. We focus on low-skilled women who have recently given birth. We take account of program accessibility, selection issues, course heterogeneity, the income received during adult education, parental leave, and child care fees. To understand the enrollment decision from the mothers' point of view, we use the estimates to calibrate a job search model.
    Keywords: evaluation of adult education, job search model, female labor supply, wages, participation, unemployment, schooling, conditional difference-in-differences
    JEL: H43 J68 J64 J24 C14
    Date: 2008–07
  16. By: Timothy J. Bartik (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research); George Erickcek (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of expansions in higher educational institutions and the medical service industry on the economic development of a metropolitan area. This examination pulls together previous research and provides some new empirical evidence. We provide quantitative evidence of the magnitude of economic effects of higher education and medical service industries that occur through the mechanism of providing some export-base demand stimulus to a metropolitan economy. We also provide quantitative evidence on how much higher education institutions can boost a metropolitan economy through increasing the educational attainment of local residence. We estimate that medical service industries pay above average wages, holding worker characteristics constant, whereas the higher education industry pays below average wages; the wage standards of these industries may affect overall metropolitan wages. We also discuss other mechanisms by which these two industries may boost a metropolitan economy, including: increasing local amenities, generating R&D spillovers, increasing the rate of entrepreneurship in local businesses, and helping provide local leadership on development and growth issues. Finally, the paper discusses possible effects of these two industries on disparities between the central city and suburbs in a metropolitan area.
    Keywords: higher, education, medical, service, industry, regional, economic, development
    JEL: R58 R11 R23 R53
    Date: 2007–02
  17. By: Torberg Falch; Justina AV Fischer
    Abstract: Student achievement has been identified as important contributor to economic growth. This paper investigates the relationship between redistributive government activities and investment in human capital measured by student performance in international comparative tests in Mathematics and Science during the period 1980 to 2003. In fixed effects panel models, government consumption, government social expenditures, and the progressivity of the income tax system have negative effects on student achievement. We report results from a variety of model specifications and social expenditure components, and our best estimate indicates that increased government size by 10 percent reduces student achievement by 0.1 standard deviations.
    Keywords: Student achievement; welfare state; government size; tax system; panel data; international tests
    Date: 2008
  18. By: Tebaldi, Edinaldo; Kim, Jongsung
    Abstract: This paper uses microdata from the Current Population Survey combined with data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Bureau of Economic Analysis to evaluate the impacts of international trade (imports penetration and exports intensiveness) on wages with a special focus on the returns to education. Consistent with the literature, our empirical analysis provides evidence that the wage rates of similarly skilled workers differ across net-exporting, net-importing and nontradable industries. Our results add to the literature by showing that the wage gap usually found across importing and exporting industries vanishes for highly-skilled workers (workers with college degree and beyond) when we control for the cross-effect between international trade and education, but the wage gap due to international trade still persists for low-skilled workers. This finding supports the view that education serves as an equalizer and counterbalances the adverse impact from imports-penetration on wages of highly-skilled workers
    Keywords: Trade; Returns to Education; Wage Differential
    JEL: F16 J3
    Date: 2008–07–07
  19. By: Aschhoff, Birgit; Sofka, Wolfgang
    Abstract: Valuable knowledge emerges increasingly outside of firm boundaries, in particular in public research institutions and universities. The question is how firms organize their interactions with universities effectively to acquire knowledge and apply it successfully. Literature has so far largely ignored that firms may combine different types of interactions with universities for optimizing their collaboration strategies. We argue conceptually that firms need diverse (broad) and highly developed (deep) combinations of various interactions with universities to maximize returns from these collaborations. Our empirical investigation rests upon a survey of more than 800 firms in Germany. We find that both the diversity and intensity of collaborative engagements with universities propel innovation success. However, broadening the spectrum of interactions is more beneficial with regard to innovation success. Applying latent class cluster analysis we identify four distinct patterns of interaction. Our findings show that formal forms of interaction (joint/contract) research provide the best balance between joint knowledge development and value capture.
    Keywords: Technology transfer, industry-science links, open innovation, university knowledge
    JEL: C30 D83 O32
    Date: 2008
  20. By: Müller, Kathrin
    Abstract: For academic spin-offs I analyze the length of time between the founder's leaving of academia and the establishment of his firm. Technology transfer can take place even years after leaving the mother institution. A duration analysis reveals that a longer time-lag is caused by the necessity of assembling complementary skills, either by acquisition by a single founder or by searching for suitable team members. Furthermore, new ventures are established earlier if the intensity of technology transfer is high, the founders have access to university infrastructure, or received informal support by former colleagues.
    Keywords: academic spin-offs, technology transfer, skill complementarities
    JEL: C41 J24 L26 M13
    Date: 2008

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