nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒08‒31
eighteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. School Tracking and Access to Higher Education Among Disadvantaged Groups By Ofer Malamud; Cristian Pop-Eleches
  2. Education - A Job Market Signal? (in Finnish with an English abstract/summary) By Topias Leino
  3. Breadth vs. Depth: The Timing of Specialization in Higher Education By Ofer Malamud
  4. Credential Changes and Education Earnings Premia in Australia By Michael Coelli; Roger Wilkins
  5. The Impact of College Graduation on Geographic Mobility: Identifying Education Using Multiple Components of Vietnam Draft Risk By Ofer Malamud; Abigail Wozniak
  6. Noncognitive Skills, Internet Use and Educational Dropout By Coneus, Katja; Gernandt, Johannes; Saam, Marianne
  7. General Education vs. Vocational Training: Evidence from an Economy in Transition By Ofer Malamud; Cristian Pop-Eleches
  8. A Pecking Order Analysis of Graduate Overeducation and Educational Investment in China By D Mayston; J Yang
  9. Selection Bias in College Admissions Test Scores By Melissa Clark; Jesse Rothstein; Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
  10. Raising Education Achievement and Breaking the Cycle of Inequality in the United Kingdom By Anne-Marie Brook
  11. The Cost of Grade Retention By Marco Manacorda
  12. Does Private Tutoring Payoff? By Gurun, Ayfer; Millimet, Daniel L.
  13. Migration, Remittances and Children’s Schooling in Haiti By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Georges, Annie; Pozo, Susan
  14. Ability, Gender, and Performance Standards: Evidence from Academic Probation By Jason M. Lindo; Nicholas J. Sanders; Philip Oreopoulos
  15. The Portability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation: Evidence for Spain By Sanromá, Esteve; Ramos, Raul; Simón, Hipólito
  16. A Conceptual Framework for Mobile Learning By Tétard, Franck; Patokorpi, Erkki; Carlsson, Joanna
  17. Building Public Awareness of Development: Communicators, Educators and Evaluation By Annette Scheunpflug; Ida McDonnell
  18. FOLLOWING IN YOUR PARENTS’ FOOTSTEPS? Empirical Analysis of Matched Parent-Offspring Test Scores By Sarah Brown; Steve McIntosh; Karl Taylor

  1. By: Ofer Malamud; Cristian Pop-Eleches
    Abstract: When students are tracked into vocational and academic secondary schools, access to higher education is usually restricted to those who were selected into the academic track. Postponing such tracking may increase the relative educational attainment of disadvantaged students if they have additional time in school to catch up with their more privileged counterparts. On the other hand, if ability and expectations are fairly well set by an early age, postponing tracking during adolescence may not have much effect. This paper exploits an educational reform in Romania to examine the impact of postponing tracking on the proportion of disadvantaged students graduating from university using a regression discontinuity (RD) design. We show that, although students from poor, rural areas and with less educated parents were significantly more likely to finish an academic track and become eligible to apply for university after the reform, this did not translate into an increase in university completion. Our findings indicate that simply postponing tracking, without increasing the slots available in university, is not sufficient to improve access to higher education for disadvantaged groups.
    Keywords: tracking, higher education, access, disadvantaged students
    Date: 2008–05
  2. By: Topias Leino
    Keywords: education, job market signalling, sorting, screening, Finnish comprehensive school reform, human capital
    JEL: I21 J31
    Date: 2008–08–20
  3. By: Ofer Malamud
    Abstract: This paper examines the tradeoff between early and late specialization in the context of higher education. While some educational systems require students to specialize early by choosing a major field of study prior to entering university, others allow students to postpone this choice. I develop a model in which individuals, by taking courses in different fields of study, accumulate field-specific skills and receive noisy signals of match quality in these fields. With later specialization, students have more time to learn about match quality in each field but less time to acquire specific skills once a field is chosen. I derive comparative static predictions between educational regimes with early and late specialization, and examine these predictions across British systems of higher education. Using survey data on 1980 university graduates, I find strong evidence in support of the prediction that individuals who switch to unrelated occupations initially earn lower wages but less evidence that the cost of switching differs between England and Scotland. Although more switching occurs in England where students specialize early, higher wage growth among those who switch eliminates the wage difference after several years. Together, these findings suggest that later specialization in Scotland is beneficial during the initial years in the labor market but that differences between early and late specialization do not persist over time.
    Keywords: specialization, higher education, England, Scotland
    Date: 2007–10
  4. By: Michael Coelli (Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne); Roger Wilkins (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: We find that post-school education earnings premia have remained strikingly stable over the 1981 to 2003-04 period in Australia. This stability is in sharp contrast to the rising college premium observed in the US. The observed stability in Australia may in part be due to changes in the credentials earned by individuals entering certain professional occupations during the 1980s and early 1990s, particularly for females. We provide an estimate of the potential effect of within-occupation credential changes on estimates of education earnings premia in Australia over time. Our focus is on credential changes within the nursing and teaching professions, which have moved from predominately certificate and diploma qualifications to university bachelor's degree or higher as the standard qualification.
    Date: 2008–07
  5. By: Ofer Malamud; Abigail Wozniak
    Abstract: College-educated workers are twice as likely as high school graduates to make lasting long-distance moves, but little is known about the role of college itself in determining geographic mobility. Unobservable characteristics related to selection into college might also drive the relationship between college education and geographic mobility. We explore this question using a number of methods to analyze both the 1980 Census and longitudinal sources. We conclude that the causal impact of college completion on subsequent mobility is large. We introduce new instrumental variables that allow us to identify educational attainment and veteran status separately in a sample of men whose college decisions were exogenously influenced by their draft risk during the Vietnam War. Our preferred IV estimates imply that graduation increases the probability that a man resides outside his birth state by approximately 35 percentage points, a magnitude nearly twice as large as the OLS migration differential between college and high school graduates. IV estimates of graduation’s impact on total distance moved are even larger, with IV estimates that exceed OLS considerably. We provide evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) 1979 that our large IV estimates are plausible and likely explained by heterogeneous treatment effects. Finally, we provide some suggestive evidence on the mechanisms driving the relationship between college completion and mobility.
    Keywords: geographic mobility, college, higher education, vietnam
    Date: 2008–03
  6. By: Coneus, Katja; Gernandt, Johannes; Saam, Marianne
    Abstract: Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the years 2000 to 2006 we analyze the determinants and labor market effects of educational dropout. In addition to classical variables like family background and occupation, we examine noncognitive skills and Internet use. Noncognitive skills and Internet availability at home are negatively associated with the probability of becoming an educational dropout. The wage gap between dropouts and those with completed school and professional education vanishes for males once we control for additional characteristics such as occupations, professional Internet use and noncognitive skills. For females it is reduced to four percent.
    Keywords: education, unemployment, wages, noncognitive skills, computer use
    JEL: I21 J31 O30
    Date: 2008
  7. 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 which 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 found 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 found 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.
    Keywords: Romania, vocational training, general education
    Date: 2008–05
  8. By: D Mayston; J Yang
    Abstract: Against the background of the recent rate of expansion of China's higher education system that has outstripped even China's own high rate of economic growth, the paper examines evidence of the emerging problem of graduate overeducation within China. Based upon a pecking-order model of employment offers and associated ordered probit model, it analyses the empirical factors which determine the incidence of graduate overeducation across China. The extent to which individual students have an incentive to become overeducated compared to a socially optimal level of their education is also examined in the context of a supporting economic model that compares individual and socially optimal levels of investment in education, in the face of labour market demands. The extent of the divergence between individual and socially optimal levels of investment in education, and of the associated levels of graduate overeducation, is found to depend upon how recent major increases in the supply of graduates within China will interact with the future growth rates in job specifications, in demand variables and in resultant graduate wages within China.
    Keywords: Graduate overeducation. higher education policy. Optimal education investment. Economic growth in China
    Date: 2008–08
  9. By: Melissa Clark; Jesse Rothstein; Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
    Abstract: Data from college admissions tests can provide a valuable measure of student achievement, but the non-representativeness of test-takers is an important concern. We examine selectivity bias in both state-level and school-level SAT and ACT averages. The degree of selectivity may differ importantly across and within schools, and across and within states. To identify within-state selectivity, we use a control function approach that conditions on scores from a representative test. Estimates indicate strong selectivity of test-takers in "ACT states," where most college-bound students take the ACT, and much less selectivity in SAT states. To identify within- and between-school selectivity, we take advantage of a policy reform in Illinois that made taking the ACT a graduation requirement. Estimates based on this policy change indicate substantial positive selection into test participation both across and within schools. Despite this, school-level averages of observed scores are extremely highly correlated with average latent scores, as across-school variation in sample selectivity is small relative to the underlying signal. As a result, in most contexts the use of observed school mean test scores in place of latent means understates the degree of between-school variation in achievement but is otherwise unlikely to lead to misleading conclusions.
    JEL: C24 I2 J24
    Date: 2008–08
  10. By: Anne-Marie Brook
    Abstract: Globalisation, together with skill-biased technical change, is changing the composition of jobs in advanced economies and raising the level of skills required to do them. This has increased the importance of educating a large proportion of the population to much higher standards than in the past. The government in the United Kingdom has responded to this challenge by raising education spending and expanding the capacity of the education system in key areas such as pre-primary education and increasing participation in education beyond the age of 16. Nevertheless, performance on international tests of cognitive ability remains significantly below the standards of the best performing OECD countries and the education system seems to be particularly poor at ensuring good performance of pupils in the middle to bottom half of the education performance distribution. A renewed sense of urgency, together with some new approaches, is required to address the United Kingdom’s relative underperformance in literacy and numeracy. This paper proposes a number of avenues for encouraging a higher level of educational attainment, without significant further increases in expenditure. <P>Élever le niveau de formation et rompre le cycle de l’inégalité au Royaume-Uni <BR>La mondialisation, conjuguée à l’évolution technologique qui privilégie la main-d’oeuvre qualifiée, modifie la composition des emplois dans les économies avancées et entraîne un relèvement du niveau des qualifications requises pour les occuper. Aussi est-il aujourd’hui plus important d’amener une grande proportion de la population à un niveau de formation infiniment plus élevé que dans le passé. Pour relever ce défi, les pouvoirs publics au Royaume-Uni ont augmenté les dépenses d’éducation, renforcé les moyens dont dispose le système éducatif dans des secteurs clés tels que l’éducation pré-primaire, et prolongé la scolarisation au-delà de l’âge de 16 ans. Malgré cela, les résultats de ce pays aux tests internationaux d’aptitudes intellectuelles restent sensiblement inférieurs au niveau atteint par les pays de l’OCDE les plus performants et le système éducatif britannique semble avoir beaucoup de mal à faire en sorte que les élèves situés dans la moitié inférieure de la distribution des performances en éducation obtiennent de bons résultats. Une conscience redoublée de l’urgence et quelques nouvelles approches s’imposent pour remédier aux sous-performances relatives du Royaume-Uni dans la maîtrise de l’écrit et des chiffres. Cet ouvrage propose un certain nombre de pistes pour favoriser un relèvement du niveau d’instruction sans pour autant accroître encore notablement les dépenses.
    Keywords: United Kingdom, Royaume-Uni, education, éducation, financement, funding
    JEL: H52 H75 I20 I22 I28
    Date: 2008–08–28
  11. By: Marco Manacorda
    Abstract: This paper uses administrative longitudinal micro data on the universe of Junior High schoolstudents in Uruguay to measure the effect of grade failure on students' subsequent schooloutcomes. Exploiting the discontinuity induced by a rule establishing automatic grade failurefor pupils missing more than 25 days, I show that grade failure leads to substantial drop-outand lower educational attainment even after 4 to 5 years since the time when failure firstoccurred. Complementary evidence based on a change in the regime of grade promotion leadsto very similar conclusions, suggesting that non-random sorting around the discontinuitypoint is unlikely to drive my results.
    Keywords: grade retention, school drop-out, regression discontinuity, sorting
    JEL: I21 I22 J20
    Date: 2008–07
  12. By: Gurun, Ayfer (Southern Methodist University); Millimet, Daniel L. (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: We assess the causal effect of private tutoring on the probability of university placement in Turkey. We find that tutoring increases the probability of being placed in a university when non-random selection is ignored. Moreover, among those utilizing private tutoring, greater expenditure on tutoring is also positively associated with university placement. However, we find evidence of positive selection into tutoring, but negative selection into greater expenditures among those receiving tutoring. Accounting for this pattern of non-random selection, we conclude that private tutoring has a negative causal effect on university placement overall, but conditional on receiving any tutoring, spending more on tutoring has a positive causal effect on university placement.
    Keywords: tutoring, Turkey, tertiary education, program evaluation
    JEL: C31 H51 I21 O15
    Date: 2008–08
  13. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (San Diego State University, California); Georges, Annie (National Center for Children and Families); Pozo, Susan (Western Michigan University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we focus on the use of remittances to school children remaining in migrant communities in Haiti. After addressing the endogeneity of remittance receipt, we find that remittances raise school attendance for all children in some communities regardless of whether they have household members abroad or not; however, in other communities, we only observe this effect among children living in households that do not experience any family out-migration. Our finding underscores the simultaneous and opposing impacts of household out-migration and remittance receipt on children’s schooling. While the receipt of remittances by the household lifts budget constraints and raises the children’s likelihood of being schooled, the disruptive effect of household out-migration imposes an economic burden on the remaining household members and reduces their likelihood of being schooled. As such, remittances ameliorate the negative disruptive effect of household out-migration on children’s schooling and, given the substantial costs of schooling in Haiti, contribute to the accumulation of human capital in the midst of extreme poverty.
    Keywords: migration, remittances, education, Haiti
    JEL: F22 O54
    Date: 2008–08
  14. By: Jason M. Lindo; Nicholas J. Sanders; Philip Oreopoulos
    Abstract: We use a regression discontinuity design to examine students' responses to the negative incentive brought on by being placed on academic probation. Consistent with a model of introducing performance standards in which agents respond differently based on ability, we find that being placed on probation at the end of the first year discourages some students from returning to school while improving the performance of those who return. Contrary to the predictions of the model when ability is known, we find that heterogeneous discouragement effects result in high ability students having a greater overall dropout rate near the cutoff than lower ability students. The result can be explained by extending the model to allow for the performance standard to also affect self confidence (ability expectations). We also consider effects by gender and find that being placed on probation more than doubles the probability that men drop out but has no such discouragement effect for women.
    JEL: D80 I20
    Date: 2008–08
  15. By: Sanromá, Esteve (University of Barcelona); Ramos, Raul (University of Barcelona); Simón, Hipólito (University of Alicante)
    Abstract: The existing literature on immigrant assimilation has highlighted the imperfect portability of human capital acquired by immigrants in their country of origin (Chiswick, 1978; Friedberg, 2000). This would explain the low levels of assimilation upon arrival in the new country, as well as the wide initial earnings gap. Recent studies (Chiswick and Miller, 2007 or Green, Kler and Leeves, 2007, among others) have dealt with this issue from the perspective of over-education. This study analyses the portability of immigrants’ human capital into the Spanish job market according to their geographic origin. It also aims to compare the most notable empirical regularities found in the aforementioned studies with the situation in Spain. The results obtained indicate differing degrees of the transferability of human capital depending on geographic origin, as transferability is greater for countries that are highly developed or have a similar culture or language and lower for developing countries and those with more distant cultures. The evidence is relatively disparate for the two components of human capital as although it is particularly clear for schooling, it is less so for experience. The results also confirm that in Spain immigrants suffer from over-education, in both incidence and intensity, implying a higher relative wage penalty and a greater negative impact on immigrants from the second group of countries. As an immigrant’s stay in Spain advances, a process of assimilation does exist, except for Asians and, in some circumstances, those from Sub-Saharan Africa, though the pace is very slow.
    Keywords: immigration, over-education, wages, assimilation
    JEL: J61 J31 J24
    Date: 2008–08
  16. By: Tétard, Franck; Patokorpi, Erkki; Carlsson, Joanna
    Abstract: Several technology projects have been launched to explore the opportunities that mobile technologies bring about when tackling issues of democratic participation and social inclusion through mobile learning. Mobile devices are cheaper than for instance a PC, and their affordance, usability and accessibility are such that they can potentially complement or even replace traditional computer technology. The importance of communication and collaboration features of mobile technologies has been stressed in the framework of ICT-mediated learning. In this paper, a theoretical framework for mobile learning and e-inclusion is developed for people outside the conventional education system. The framework draws upon the fields of pedagogy (constructivist learning in particular), mobile learning objects and sociology.
    Keywords: Mobile Learning, Digital Divide, Constructivist Pedagogy, Forms Of Capital
    Date: 2008
  17. By: Annette Scheunpflug; Ida McDonnell
    Abstract: The Millennium Development Goals, the aid effectiveness agenda, and global interdependence have contributed to more demand and a sense of urgency for greater public awareness and learning about these promises, and challenges, in OECD countries. Donors and practitioners could make greater use of evaluations, and their findings, to increase the effectiveness and results of public communication, advocacy and education about global development. The first step is to understand the evaluation process and respect its rigours. The second is to acknowledge and learn how to deal with the political nature of evaluation, the third is to understand its limitations. DAC members, along with their partners, should work together to strengthen evaluation of public awareness and learning by creating a space (e.g. website) to share perspectives, experiences and results from evaluation; pooling resources for scientific research on the long-term impact of public awareness raising activities; building a stronger knowledge base for what works and what doesn’t work in this sector; and finally, working together to develop minimum standards for the evaluation of communication, advocacy and education about global development.
    Date: 2008–07–23
  18. By: Sarah Brown; Steve McIntosh; Karl Taylor (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: In this paper, we explore whether an intergenerational relationship exists between the reading and mathematics test scores, taken at ages 7, 11 and 16, of a cohort of individuals born in 1958 and the equivalent test scores of their offspring measured in 1991. Our results suggest that how the parent performs in reading and mathematics during their childhood is positively related to the corresponding reading and mathematics test scores of their offspring as measured at a similar age. Our findings imply that parental ability in numeracy and literacy as a child is positively associated with the ability in numeracy and literacy of their offspring. With respect to gender, a father´s (mother´s) test score generally has a positive influence on the test scores of their daughter (son).
    Keywords: Human Capital, Intergenerational Transfers, Literacy, Numeracy
    JEL: J13 J24
    Date: 2007–12

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