nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2008‒12‒01
eleven papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Alternative Approaches to the Development of Early Childhood Education in Singapore By Yong Yik Wei; Aekapol Chongvilaivan; Chew Jing Yang
  2. "Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School": Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition, and Student Achievement across Countries By West, Martin R.; Woessmann, Ludger
  3. Will Formula-Based Funding and Decentralized Management Improve School Level Resources in Sri Lanka? By Nisha Arunatilake; Priyanka Jayawardena
  4. Rising Tuition and Enrollment in Public Higher Education By Hemelt, Steven W.; Marcotte, Dave E.
  5. Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia By Becker, Sascha O.; Woessmann, Ludger
  6. What Makes a Homegrown Terrorist? Human Capital and Participation in Domestic Islamic Terrorist Groups in the U.S.A. By Alan B. Krueger
  7. Education, Corruption and the Natural Resource Curse By Max Iván Aladave Ruiz; Cecilia Garcìa-Peñalosa
  8. Education for the Third Industrial Revolution By Alan S. Blinder
  9. Student Sorting and Bias in Value Added Estimation: Selection on Observables and Unobservables By Jesse Rothstein
  10. The Effects of Maternity Leave Extension on Training for Young Women By Puhani, Patrick A.; Sonderhof, Katja
  11. Effects of Paternal Presence and Family Stability on Child Cognitive Performance By Terry-Ann Craigie

  1. By: Yong Yik Wei; Aekapol Chongvilaivan; Chew Jing Yang
    Abstract: A knowledge-intensive, innovation-driven economy needs innovative and creative individuals in business, government, and the various professions. Singapore’s education system has an important role to play in equipping the young with the right qualities. This could be better achieved by moving away from an overly rigid education system that places undue emphasis on rote learning and examination scores, to an education system that develops students’ creativity and critical thinking abilities, and encourages their innate curiosity and willingness to experiment. We examine, as a backdrop, various economic theories of entrepreneurship and, believing that it is important to begin with a good educational foundation, the features of some alternative approaches to pre-school education. We also examine Singapore’s attempts to promote independent thinking and creativity among Singaporean students, and other countries’ experiences, in particular those of Finland and the Netherlands. Among other issues, emphasis is placed on play and the fostering of students’ love of learning, in less structured settings, as the media of learning during early childhood education.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Pre-school Education; Play-based Learning; Reggio Emilia approach; Montessori Method; Teach Less, Learn More (TLLM) initiative
    JEL: I21 I28 I29
    Date: 2008–11
  2. By: West, Martin R. (Brown University); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Nineteenth-Century Catholic doctrine strongly opposed state schooling. We show that countries with larger shares of Catholics in 1900 (but without a Catholic state religion) tend to have larger shares of privately operated schools even today. We use this historical pattern as a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of contemporary private competition on student achievement in cross-country student-level analyses. Our results show that larger shares of privately operated schools lead to better student achievement in mathematics, science, and reading and to lower total education spending, even after controlling for current Catholic shares.
    Keywords: private school competition, student achievement, Catholic schools
    JEL: I20 L33 N30 Z12
    Date: 2008–11
  3. By: Nisha Arunatilake; Priyanka Jayawardena
    Abstract: Using the experience of the Educational Quality Inputs (EQI) Scheme in Sri Lanka, the paper examines the distributional aspects of formula-based funding and efficiency of decentralized management of education funds in a developing country setting. The study finds that the EQI fund distribution is largely pro-poor, with the exception of expenditure at the collegial level. The study finds that allocating more funds to more disadvantaged schools alone is insufficient to reduce disparities as the inability of schools to fullly utilize the funds holds back progress. The study findings support the hypothesis that qualified principals, adequate levels of human and physical resources, and state-level monitoring and support is needed for the success of education management at the school level. The study highlights the need to better use information collected from the schools on the EQI scheme to simplify and improve its implementation and effectiveness.
    Keywords: Education finance, Sri Lanka, formula-based funding, decentralized management of schools
    JEL: I20 I21 I22 I28 I38
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Hemelt, Steven W. (University of Maryland, Baltimore County); Marcotte, Dave E. (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
    Abstract: In this paper we review recent trends in tuition at public universities and estimate impacts on enrollment. We use data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System on all public four-year colleges and universities from 1991 to 2007 and illustrate that tuition increased dramatically beginning in the early part of this decade, increasing at rates unprecedented in the past half century. We examine impacts of these tuition increases on total enrollment and credit hours, and estimate differences by type of institution. We estimate that the average tuition and fee elasticity of total headcount is -0.1072. So, at the mean a $100 increase in tuition and fees (in 2006 dollars) would lead to a decline in enrollment of a little more than 0.25 percent, with larger effects at Research I universities. We find no evidence that especially large increases from one year to the next have a disproportionately large negative effect on enrollment.
    Keywords: higher education, tuition, enrollment
    JEL: I2 I21 I23
    Date: 2008–11
  5. By: Becker, Sascha O. (University of Stirling); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Martin Luther urged each town to have a girls' school so that girls would learn to read the Gospel, evoking a surge of building girls' schools in Protestant areas. Using county- and town-level data from the first Prussian census of 1816, we show that a larger share of Protestants decreased the gender gap in basic education. This result holds when using only the exogenous variation in Protestantism due to a county's or town's distance to Wittenberg, the birthplace of the Reformation. Similar results are found for the gender gap in literacy among the adult population in 1871.
    Keywords: gender gap, education, Protestantism
    JEL: I21 J16 N33 Z12
    Date: 2008–11
  6. By: Alan B. Krueger (Princeton University and NBER)
    Abstract: This paper compares the characteristics of 63 alleged homegrown Islamic terrorists in the U.S.A. to a representative sample of 1,000+ Muslim Americans. The alleged terrorists have about average level of education. Those with higher education were judged closer to succeeding.
    Keywords: terrorism; homegrown terrorism; human capital
    JEL: H56 J24
    Date: 2008–08
  7. By: Max Iván Aladave Ruiz (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - CNRS : UMR6579, Central Bank of Peru - Central Bank of Peru); Cecilia Garcìa-Peñalosa (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: The empirical evidence on the determinants of growth across countries has found that growth is lower when natural resources are abundant, corruption widespread and educational attainment low. An extensive literature has examined the way in which these three variables can impact growth, but has tended to address them separately. In this paper we argue that corruption and education are interrelated and that both crucially depend on a country’s endowment of natural resources. The key element is the fact that resources affect the relative returns to investing in human and in political capital, and, through these investments, output levels and growth. In this context, inequality plays a key role both as a determinant of the possible equilibria of the economy and as an outcome of the growth process.
    Keywords: natural resources, corruption, human capital, growth, inequality
    Date: 2008–11–24
  8. By: Alan S. Blinder (Princeton University)
    Abstract: At the risk of sounding like a crass economist, I want to assert at the outset that one major purpose of the K-12 educational system is “vocational” in the broad sense. Specifically, the K-12 system is a mechanism for preparing cadres of 18-year-olds (many of whom will get some higher education first) to perform the tasks needed and remunerated by the U.S. job market (or of being easily trained to do so). To be sure, this narrowly economic purpose of mass public education is not the only reason to educate America’s youth; an educated citizenry presumably has other social benefits as well. But I believe it is an important purpose and, in any case, it is the perspective that guides this essay. Any reader who does not accept this initial premise can stop reading right now. My second, and much more controversial, premise is that the needs of the U.S. economy are changing (that’s not the controversial part) in ways that are at least somewhat predictable (that is the controversial part). To be sure, I am not foolish enough to believe that we can predict in detail the mix of jobs that will be available in the United States in, say, 2028 or 2038 and then fine-tune the educational system to meet those demands. But I think at least two broad trends are clearly foreseeable.
    Date: 2008–02
  9. By: Jesse Rothstein (Princeton University and NBER)
    Abstract: Non-random assignment of students to teachers can bias value added estimates of teachers’ causal effects. Rothstein (2008) shows that typical value added models indicate large counter-factual effects of 5th grade teachers on students’ 4th grade learning, implying that assignments do not satisfy the imposed assumptions. This paper quantifies the resulting biases in estimates of 5th grade teachers’ causal effects from several value added models, under varying assumptions about the assignment process. Under selection on observables, models for gain scores without controls or with only a single lagged score control are subject to important bias, but models with controls for the full test score history are nearly free of bias. I consider several scenarios for selection on unobservables, using the across-classroom variance of observed variables to calibrate each. Results indicate that even well-controlled models may be substantially biased, with the magnitude of the bias depending on the amount of information available for use in classroom assignments.
    Date: 2008–06
  10. By: Puhani, Patrick A. (University of Hannover); Sonderhof, Katja (University of Hannover)
    Abstract: Using three representative individual-level datasets for West Germany, we estimate the effect of the extension of maternity leave from 18 to 36 months on young women's participation in job-related training. Specifically, we employ difference-indifferences identification strategies using control groups of older women and older women together with young and older men. We find that maternity leave extension negatively affects job-related training for young women, even if they do not have children, especially when the focus is on employer-arranged training. There is tentative evidence that young women partly compensated for this reduction in employer-arranged training by increasing training on their own initiative.
    Keywords: policy, evaluation, education
    JEL: J16 J24 J58 J83
    Date: 2008–11
  11. By: Terry-Ann Craigie (Michigan State University)
    Abstract: This study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) to examine the effects of a father?s presence on the cognitive performance of his pre-school aged child. Cognitive performance is measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), a well-known indicator of cognitive ability and academic readiness for young children. Like previous studies, the richness of the data is exploited by including numerous covariates in the OLS regression model. In addition, the study also employs a Proxy Variable-OLS Solution to dealing with the problem of omitted variable bias. Subsequently, causal inferences can be made from the empirical findings. The study finds two distinct effects of paternal presence based on whether the child belongs to a stable versus disruptive family structure. The empirical results indicate that cognitive outcomes are statistically similar for children in stable single-parent and stable two-parent family households. However, disruptive family structures, characterized by a father?s partial presence in the home, are shown to have deleterious effects on cognitive performance compared to a stable single-parent family structure where the father has never even been present. One profound implication of these findings is the importance of family stability above family structure in producing positive child outcomes. Moreover, there is suggestive evidence that the effect of disruptive paternal presence is significantly larger for girls than for boys.
    Date: 2008–03

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