nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒11‒11
fifteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Educational choices and the selection process before and after compulsory schooling By Sauro Mocetti
  2. Effects of Welfare Reform on Educational Acquisition of Young Adult Women By Dhaval M. Dave; Nancy E. Reichman; Hope Corman
  3. Skills, Schools, and Credit Constraints: Evidence from Massachusetts By Joshua Goodman
  4. The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University By Billari, Francesco C.; Pellizzari, Michele
  5. Low-skilled Immigration and Education Policy with Endogenous Fertility By Davide, DOTTORI; I. Ling, SHEN
  6. Grade Inflation, Social Background, and Labour Market Matching By Schwager, Robert
  7. Low-Skilled Immigration and th Expansion of Private Schools By Davide, DOTTORI; I-Ling, SHEN
  8. Can Adult Education Delay Retirement from the Labour Market? By de Luna, Xavier; Stenberg, Anders; Westerlund, Olle
  9. Biological versus Foster Children Education: the Old-Age Support Motive as a Catch-up Determinant? Some Evidence from Indonesia By Karine Marazyan
  10. Estimating the Effect of Student Aid on College Enrollment: Evidence from a Government Grant Policy Reform By Nielsen, Helena Skyt; Sørensen, Torben; Taber, Christopher
  11. The Effect of Team Composition on Student Learning in Introductory Economics: An Empirical Investigation By Robert L. Moore
  12. Government Spending on Health Care and Education in Croatia: Efficiency and Reform Options By Etibar Jafarov; Victoria Gunnarsson
  13. The Effects of University Affirmative Action Policies on the Human Capital Development of Minority Children: Do Expectations Matter? By Ronald Caldwell Jr.
  14. Commercializing Academic Research: The Quality of Faculty Patenting By Czarnitzki, Dirk; Hussinger, Katrin; Schneider, Cédric
  15. Would empowering women intitiate the demographic transition in least-developed countries? By de la CROIX, David; VANDER DONCKT, Marie

  1. By: Sauro Mocetti (Bank of Italy, Regional Economic Research Staff, Bologna Branch)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze the selection process at work before and after compulsory schooling by assessing the determinants of school failures, dropouts and upper secondary school decisions of young Italians. The dataset is built combining individual data by the Labor Force Survey and aggregate data on local labor markets and school supply by the Italian National Statistic Institute and the Minister of Public Education, respectively. Our results show that school failure (i.e., repetition of a year) is highly correlated with the family background, and it strongly affects later choices. Early school leaving and the upper secondary school choice are mainly a reflection of the parents’ socioeconomic status. The effectiveness of the educational system when narrowing the failure risk and the scholastic outflow relies on the widespread adoption of full-time attendance in compulsory school, the quality of the school infrastructures and the fewer teachers with temporary contracts.
    Keywords: School failures, early dropout, school choice, social mobility, Italian education system
    JEL: I20 C35
    Date: 2008–09
  2. By: Dhaval M. Dave; Nancy E. Reichman; Hope Corman
    Abstract: Education beyond traditional ages for schooling is an important source of human capital accumulation among adult women. Welfare reform, which began in the early 1990s and culminated in the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, has promoted work rather than educational acquisition for this group. Exploiting variation in welfare reform across states and over time and using relevant comparison groups, we undertake a comprehensive study of the effects of welfare reform on adult women's human capital acquisition. We first estimate effects of welfare reform on high school dropout of teenage girls, both to improve on past research on this issue and to explore compositional changes that may be relevant for our primary analyses of the effects of welfare reform on the educational acquisition of adult women. We conduct numerous specification checks and explore the mediating role of work. We find robust and convincing evidence that welfare reform has significantly decreased the probability of both high school and college attendance among young adult women—by 20-25 percent. This result indicates that the gains from welfare reform in terms of increases in employment and reductions in caseloads have come at a cost in terms of lower educational attainment among adult women at risk for relying on welfare.
    JEL: H52 H53 I21 I28 I38 J18 J24
    Date: 2008–11
  3. By: Joshua Goodman (Columbia University - Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Low college enrollment rates among low income students may stem from credit constraints, low academic skill, low quality schools, or some combination of these. Recent Massachusetts data allow the first use of school district fixed effects in the analysis of credit constraints, leading to four primary findings. First, Massachusetts' low income students have lower intended college enrollment rates than higher income students but also have dramatically lower skills and attend lower quality school districts. Second, inclusion of skill controls greatly reduces but does not eliminate the intended enrollment gap, with low income students seven percentage points less likely to intend enrollment than similarly skilled higher income students. Third, in districts where higher income students are plausibly unconstrained, inclusion of school district fixed effects does little to reduce intended enrollment gaps, with low income students nine percentage points less likely to intend enrollment than similarly skilled higher income students from the same school district. Fourth, low income students in the middle and upper parts of the skill distribution appear the most constrained, particularly with respect to four-year public colleges. State governments could use the methods employed here to identify credit constrained student populations in order to target financial aid more efficiently.
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Billari, Francesco C. (Bocconi University); Pellizzari, Michele (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: In this paper we estimate relative age effects in academic performance using a unique database of students at Bocconi University. The identification exploits school entry cut-off ages that generate up to 11 months difference between the youngest and the oldest students within each cohort. Our data allow to control for potential selection issues as well as for differences in cognitive ability, as measured by an attitudinal entry test. Contrary to most of the existing evidence for primary school children, we document that in university the youngest students perform better compared to their oldest peers, particularly in the most technical subjects. To rationalize this result we produce additional evidence on relative age effects in cognitive ability and in social behavior using a combination of data from Bocconi admission tests and from a survey on the social behavior of Italian first-year university students. We find that the youngest students in the cohort perform slightly better in cognitive tests and also appear to have less active social lives: they are less likely to do sports, go to discos and have love relationships. These results suggest that negative relative age effects in university performance might be generated by two mechanisms: (i) a profile of cognitive development that might be decreasing already around age 20; (ii) psychological relative age effects that lead the youngest in a cohort to develop social skills (self-esteem, leadership) at a slower pace. Younger students, thus, have less active social lives and devote more time to studying, as confirmed by additional evidence from the PISA study.
    Keywords: education, relative age
    JEL: J13 I21
    Date: 2008–10
  5. By: Davide, DOTTORI (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Department of Economics); I. Ling, SHEN (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of low-skilled immigration on the host countryÕs education policy, which is formulated by the natives via voting and refers to both school funding sources and resources in the public funded schools. When the size of low-skilled immigrants is large, it is found that wealthier natives are likely to opt out from public into private school. Four main effects of immigration are taken into account : (1) greater congestion in public school; (2) lower average tax base for education funding; (3) reduced low-skilled wage and so more low-skilled nativesÕ dependence on public education; (4) higher skill premium, which induces high-skilled natives to privately invest in their childrenÕ s education and hence weakens their support to finance public school. The theoretical predictions are not at odds with cross-country stylized facts revealed in both micro and macro data. Moreover, with endogenous fertility, the opting-out decision taken by some native parents results in the empirically observed fertility differential between natives and immigrants
    Keywords: voting, taxes and subsidies, education; fertitlity, migration
    JEL: H42 H52 I21 D72 O15
    Date: 2008–06–19
  6. By: Schwager, Robert
    Abstract: A model is presented where workers of differing abilities and from different social backgrounds are assigned to jobs based on grades received at school. It is examined how this matching is affected if good grades are granted to some low ability students. Such grade inflation is shown to reduce the aggregate wage of the lower class workers because employers use social origin as a signal for productivity if grades are less than fully informative. Moreover, the high-ability students from the higher class may benefit from grade inflation since this shields them from the competition on the part of able students from the lower classes.
    Keywords: education, grading, standards, assignment, social mobility, grading, standards, assignment, social mobility
    JEL: C78 I21 J24
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Davide, DOTTORI; I-Ling, SHEN
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of low-skilled immigration on the host countryÕs education system, which is characterized by sources of school funding, expenditres per pupil, and types of parents who are more likely to send children to publicly (privately) funded schools. When the size of low-skilled immigrants is large, it is found that wealthier natives are likely to opt out from public into private schools. Four main effects of immigration are taken into account : (1) greater congestion in public school; (2) lower average tax base for education funding; (3) reduced low-skilled wage and so more low-skilled natives to privately invest in their childrenÕs education and hence weakens their support to finance public school. The theoretical predictions are not at odds with cross-country stylized facts revealed in both micro and macro data. Moreover, with endogenous fertility, the opting-out decision taken by some native parents results in the empirically observed fertility differential between natives and immigrants
    Keywords: Voting, Taxes and Subsidies, Education, Fertility, Migration
    JEL: H42 H52 I21 D72 O15
    Date: 2008–07–09
  8. By: de Luna, Xavier (Dept. of Statistics, Umeå University); Stenberg, Anders (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Westerlund, Olle (Dept. of Economics, Umeå University)
    Abstract: Several studies have suggested that education is associated with later retirement from the labour market. In this paper, we examine whether adult education, involving enrolees aged 42 or above, delays retirement to potentially increase labour force participation among the elderly. With Swedish register data of transcripts from adult education and annual earnings, which encompasses 1979-2004 and 1982-2004 respectively, we exploit the fact that adult education is a large-scale phenomenon in Sweden and construct a measure of the timing of the transition from being self-supported by productive work to being supported by pension transfers. We match samples of treated and controls on the propensity score and use non-parametric estimation of survival rates. The results indicate that adult education has no effect on the timing of the retirement from the labour force. This can be contrasted with the fact that adult education is one of the cornerstones of the OECD strategy for “active ageing” and the European Union’s “Lisbon strategy” for growth and jobs.
    Keywords: Human capital; Pensions; Elderly; Adult schooling
    JEL: H52 H55 H75 I28 J14 J26
    Date: 2008–11–03
  9. 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: 2008–06–25
  10. By: Nielsen, Helena Skyt (University of Aarhus); Sørensen, Torben (University of Aarhus); Taber, Christopher (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the responsiveness of the demand for college to changes in student aid arising from a Danish reform. We separately identify the effect of aid from that of other observed and unobserved variables such as parental income. We exploit the combination of a kinked aid scheme and a reform of the student aid scheme to identify the effect of direct costs on college enrollment. To allow for heterogeneous responses due to borrowing constraints, we use detailed information on parents' assets. We find that enrollment is less responsive than found in other studies and that the presence of borrowing constraints only deters college enrollment to a minor extent.
    Keywords: college attendance, educational subsidies, reform, kink regression
    JEL: I22 J24
    Date: 2008–10
  11. By: Robert L. Moore (Department of Economics, Occidental College)
    Abstract: The major advocates of collaborative learning in the college classroom generally suggest that team members should be chosen to complement each other in skills. Similar advice comes from the literature in personnel economics relating to worker productivity in teams Some advocates also suggest that there are advantages in this regard in forming heterogeneous teams in terms of gender, ethnicity and class year, although there are also some drawbacks noted as well from such heterogeneous teams. However, little empirical work has been done on how best to select the most effective student teams (groups) for individual student learning. This paper hopes to begin to fill this gap. It combines information from students’ admission files with individual student performance data on exams in two sections of an introductory economics course at a selective liberal arts college as well as with information about the team the student was assigned to. The empirical results in this paper provide little support for the above suggestions. The results also differ from the results in the only other empirical work on this issue. In particular, heterogeneous teams in terms of gender or ethnicity or class year result in no more individual student learning (and knowledge) transfer than more homogeneous teams, holding other significant variables affecting student learning constant. And there is at least some support for the reverse in terms of class year --- that is, the higher percentage of frosh students on a three or four student team, the more student learning. While it is advantageous to have at least one student on the team with AP Calculus or AP Econ credit, which is consistent with the general advice above, a team with a larger standard deviation of SAT scores (or higher average SAT scores) does not improve individual student learning. There is also some evidence in this study that another characteristic of teams results in positive individual learning, namely if the team had a woman on it who participated in intercollegiate athletics. Finally, while advocates of collaborative learning sometimes recommend avoiding the isolation of a woman or a student of color on a team, there is no evidence in this study that such isolation disadvantages those students in terms of their exam performance.
    Date: 2008–08
  12. By: Etibar Jafarov; Victoria Gunnarsson
    Abstract: This paper assesses the relative efficiency of government spending on health care and education in Croatia by using the so-called Data Envelopment Analysis. The analysis finds evidence of significant inefficiencies in Croatia's spending on health care and education, related to inadequate cost recovery, weaknesses in the financing mechanisms and institutional arrangements, weak competition in the provision of these services, and weaknesses in targeting public subsidies on health care and education. These inefficiencies suggest that government spending on health and education could be reduced without undue sacrifices in the quality of these services. The paper identifies ways to do that.
    Keywords: Working Paper , Croatia , Government expenditures , Health care , Education ,
    Date: 2008–05–30
  13. By: Ronald Caldwell Jr. (Department of Economics, The University of Kansas)
    Abstract: Research shows that minority children enter the labor market with lower levels of acquired skill than do white children. This paper attempts to analyze one possible cause: the impact of a perceived lack of future opportunities on the human capital development of minority children. I take advantage of changes in affirmative action laws in California and Texas as a natural experiment and employ both difference-in-difference-in-difference and fixed effects methodologies to test for changes in achievement test scores among minority children. The results show a significant negative impact among black children of all ages in the affected states.
    Keywords: skill gaps, race, discrimination, affirmative action
    JEL: J01 J15 J24 J7
    Date: 2008–11
  14. By: Czarnitzki, Dirk; Hussinger, Katrin; Schneider, Cédric
    Abstract: The knowledge produced by academic scientists has been identified as a potential key driver of technological progress. Recent policies in Europe aim at increasing commercially orientated activities in academe. Based on a sample of German scientists across all fields of science we investigate the importance of academic patenting. Our findings suggest that academic involvement in patenting results in greater knowledge externalities, as academic patents appear to generate more forward citations. We also find that in the European context of changing research objectives and funding sources since the mid-90’s, the “importance” of academic patents declines over time. We show that academic entrants have patents of lower “quality” than academic incumbents but they did not cause the decline, since the relative importance of patents involving academics with an existing patenting history declined over time as well. Moreover, a preliminary evaluation of the effects of the abolishment of the “professor privilege” (the German counterpart of the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act) reveals that this legal disposition led to an acceleration of this apparent decline.
    Keywords: academic inventors, faculty patenting, patent quality
    JEL: O31 O32 O34
    Date: 2008
  15. By: de la CROIX, David (Université catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)); VANDER DONCKT, Marie
    Abstract: We examine the pathways by which gender inequality affects fertility and hampers growth. We introduce several dimensions of gender inequality into a 2-sex OLG model with a non-unitary representation of household decision-making. We characterize a Malthusian corner regime which is characterized by strong gender inequality in education and high fertility. We find both in theory and in the data that reducing the social and institutional gender gap does not help to escape from this regime while reducing the wage gender gap lowers fertility only in countries which have already escaped from it. The key policies to ease out the countries in the Malthusian regime are to promote mother's longevity and to curb infant mortality. In the interior regime, parents consider the impact of their children education on the expected intra-household bargaining position in their future couple. Education could thus compensate against the institutional and social gender gap that still exists in developed countries.
    Keywords: gender gap, fertility, education, household bargaining.
    JEL: J13 O11 O40
    Date: 2008–07

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