nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2009‒03‒14
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. The use and misuse of computers in education : evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia By Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Linden, Leigh L.
  2. Reduced-Class Distinctions: Effort, Ability, and the Education Production Function By Philip Babcock; Julian R. Betts
  3. Effective Schools for Low Income Children: a Study of Chile’s Sociedad de Instrucción Primaria By Francisco Henríquez; Alejandra Mizala; Andrea Repetto
  4. No more cutting class ? reducing teacher absence and providing incentives for performance By Rogers, F. Halsey; Vegas, Emiliana
  5. Collateral Damage: The Impact of Work Stoppages on Student Performance in Ontario By David Johnson
  6. Enhancing Educational Performance in Australia By Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopoulou
  7. Beyond Incentives: Do Schools use Accountability Rewards Productively? By Marigee Bacolod; John DiNardo; Mireille Jacobson
  8. Age at first child : does education delay fertility timing ? the case of Kenya By Ferre, Celine
  9. Access to Higher Education and Inequality: The Chinese Experiment By Wang, Xiaojun; Fleisher, Belton M.; Li, Haizheng; Li, Shi
  10. The Effects of Financial Aid in High School on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes: A Quasi-Experimental Study By Maria Knoth Humlum; Rune Majlund Vejlin
  11. From Duty to Right: The Role of Public Education in the Transition to Aging Societies By Sugimoto, Yoshiaki; Nakagawa, Masao
  12. Cost Structure, Efficiency and Heterogeneity in US Higher Education: An Empirical Analysis By Geraint Johnes; T Agasisti
  13. The motivations, organisation and outcomes of university-industry interaction in the Netherlands By Isabel Maria Bodas Freitas; Bart Verspagen
  14. Do Financial Incentives Help Low-Performing Schools Attract and Keep Academically Talented Teachers? Evidence from California By Jennifer L. Steele; Richard J. Murnane; John B. Willett

  1. By: Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Linden, Leigh L.
    Abstract: This paper presents the evaluation of the program Computers for Education. The program aims to integrate computers, donated by the private sector, into the teaching of language in public schools. The authors conduct a two-year randomized evaluation of the program using a sample of 97 schools and 5,201 children. Overall, the program seems to have had little effect on students'test scores and other outcomes. These results are consistent across grade levels, subjects, and gender. The main reason for these results seems to be the failure to incorporate the computers into the educational process. Although the program increased the number of computers in the treatment schools and provided training to the teachers on how to use the computers in their classrooms, surveys of both teachers and students suggest that teachers did not incorporate the computers into their curriculum.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Primary Education,Secondary Education,Teaching and Learning,Education For All
    Date: 2009–02–01
  2. By: Philip Babcock; Julian R. Betts
    Abstract: Do smaller classes boost achievement mainly by helping teachers impart specific academic skills to students with low academic achievement? Or do they do so primarily by helping teachers engage poorly behaving students? The analysis uses the grade 3 to 4 transition in San Diego Unified School District as a source of exogenous variation in class size (given a California law funding small classes until grade 3). Grade 1 report cards allow separate identification of low-effort and low-achieving students. Results indicate that elicitation of effort or engagement, rather than the teaching of specific skills, may be the dominant channel by which small classes influence disadvantaged students.
    JEL: I2 I21 I22
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Francisco Henríquez; Alejandra Mizala; Andrea Repetto
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the success of Chile’s Sociedad de Instrucción Primaria (SIP) in providing high quality primary school education to low income children. The paper shows that SIP students’ results in national standardized tests are not due to selection or observables. Interviews with principals of SIP schools and of schools that compete with them suggest that differences may be related to having student achievement as the primary goal, a clear and shared methodology, the systematic use of the information provided by teachers’ and students’ evaluations, the selection of directors and teachers through competition, and the assignment of resources to leveling children that lag behind, among other factors.
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Rogers, F. Halsey; Vegas, Emiliana
    Abstract: Expanding and improving basic education in developing countries requires, at a minimum, teachers who are present in the classroom and motivated to teach, but this essential input is often missing. This paper describes the findings of a series of recent World Bank and other studies on teacher absence and incentives for performance. Surprise school visits reveal that teachers are absent at high rates in countries such as India, Indonesia, Uganda, Ecuador, and Zambia, reducing the quality of schooling for children, especially in rural, remote, and poor areas. More broadly, poor teacher management and low levels of teacher accountability afflict many developing-country education systems. The paper presents evidence on these shortcomings, but also on the types of incentives, management, and support structures that can improve motivation and performance and reduce avoidable absenteeism. It concludes with policy options for developing countries to explore as they work to meet Education for All goals and improve quality.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Primary Education,Education For All,Teaching and Learning,Secondary Education
    Date: 2009–02–01
  5. By: David Johnson (Wilfrid Laurier University)
    Abstract: This study concludes that (i) stoppages can be shown to have a strong negative impact on student learning outcomes in Grade 6; the overall impact of stoppages on Grade 3 pupils appears to be much smaller, perhaps zero, although there is a noticeable, negative effect on achievement in mathematics; and, work stoppages have much greater adverse effects on students in both Grade 3 and Grade 6 in schools where more students come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
    Keywords: elementary teacher strikes or lockouts, education, work stoppages
    JEL: H75 I21
    Date: 2009–03
  6. By: Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopoulou
    Abstract: The Australian education system fares well in international comparison with regards to PISA test scores and the higher education system attracts an increasing number of foreign students. Vocational education and training (VET) is an important part of the post–secondary education system, equipping individuals with the skills to enter or re–enter the labour force and offering a pathway to further education. However, a number of challenges need to be addressed. Reducing complexity and fragmentation and tackling issues of under–supply and under–representation of children from disadvantaged groups in the early childhood education and care system is of major importance, given the beneficial impact of early education on outcomes later in life. A key challenge for the school sector is to reduce the achievement gaps of the lowest performing students, while improving overall literacy and numeracy outcomes. Greater autonomy at the school level and improvements in teaching quality would help in this regard. Enhancing the capacity of the VET system to address skill shortages is another key priority. The low rate of completion of training courses is an additional policy issue facing the sector. Finally, moving towards a less rigid policy framework for higher education would enhance flexibility and diversity, making the system more responsive to labour market needs and globalisation challenges. The promotion of a highquality education system that responds swiftly to changing skill needs is a top priority of the new government. The “Education Revolution”, backed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), pursues reforms across all sectors of the education system, an important objective being the closing of the gap for the indigenous population.<P>Améliorer les résultats dans le domaine de l’éducation en Australie<BR>L’Australie est relativement bien placée dans les comparaisons internationales des systèmes d’enseignement, à en juger notamment par les notes obtenues aux épreuves du PISA, et ses établissements d’enseignement supérieur attirent un nombre croissant d’étudiants étrangers. L’enseignement et la formation professionnels jouent un rôle important dans la formation postsecondaire et les qualifications qu’ils confèrent permettent aux intéressés de s’insérer ou de se réinsérer dans l’emploi ou bien d’accéder à un autre cycle de formation. Mais un certain nombre de problèmes subsistent. Il importe au premier chef de rendre le système moins complexe et moins compartimenté et de s’attaquer à la question des carences de l’offre et de la sous-représentation des enfants issus de milieux défavorisés dans le dispositif d’éducation et d’accueil des plus jeunes, compte tenu du rôle que jouent les premières années de formation dans la suite du parcours scolaire. L’un des défis majeurs consiste à réduire le retard des élèves moins performants, tout en améliorant le niveau global de maîtrise de l’écrit et du calcul. À cet égard, une plus grande autonomie des établissements et une amélioration de la qualité pédagogique pourraient se révéler utiles. Le renforcement de la capacité du système d’enseignement et de formation professionnels de faire face au manque de main-d’oeuvre qualifiée représente un autre objectif prioritaire. Le faible taux d’achèvement des cours de formation est un autre enjeu auquel est confronté ce secteur. Enfin, l’assouplissement du cadre d’action des autorités publiques dans le domaine de l’enseignement supérieur pourrait favoriser la flexibilité et la diversité en permettant à ce système de prendre davantage en compte les besoins du marché de l’emploi et les problèmes posés par la mondialisation. Le nouveau gouvernement considère comme hautement prioritaire l’action à mener pour promouvoir un système éducatif de haut niveau, en mesure de réagir rapidement à l’évolution des besoins en matière de qualifications. La « Révolution de l’éducation », soutenu par le Conseil des gouvernements australiens (COAG), vise à introduire des réformes dans tous les secteurs du système ; elle se propose notamment de réduire la fracture scolaire dont souffre la population autochtone.
    Keywords: human capital, education, capital humain, éducation, child care, early childhood education, PISA, PISA, éducation primaire, Educational Finance, financement de l’éducation, autonomy, autonomie, quality, teaching, universal access, student income support, crèche, accès universel, qualité de l'enseignement, garantie de ressources pour les étudiants
    JEL: I20 I21 I22 I28 J24
    Date: 2009–03–03
  7. By: Marigee Bacolod; John DiNardo; Mireille Jacobson
    Abstract: "Accountability mandates" -- the explicit linking of school funding, resources, and autonomy to student performance on standardized exams -- have proliferated in the last 10 years. In this paper, we examine California's accountability system, which for several years financially rewarded schools based on a deterministic function of test scores. The sharp discontinuity in the assignment rule -- schools that barely missed their target received no funding -- generates "as good as random" assignment of awards for schools near their eligibility threshold and enables us to estimate the (local average) treatment effect of California's financial award program. This design allows us to explore an understudied aspect of accountability systems -- how schools use their financial rewards. Our findings indicate that California's accountability system significantly increased resources allocated to some schools. In the 2000 school year, the average value of the award was about 60 dollars per student and 50 dollars in 2001. Moreover, we find that the total resources flowing to districts with schools that received awards increased more than dollar for dollar. This resource shift was greatest for districts with schools that qualified for awards in the 2000 school year,the first year of the program, increasing total per pupil revenues by roughly 5 percent. Despite the increase in revenues, we find no evidence that these resources increased student achievement. Schools that won awards did not purchase more instructional material, such as computers, which may be inputs into achievement. Although the awards were likely paid out as teacher bonuses, we cannot detect any effect of these bonuses on test scores or other measures of achievement. More worrisome, we also find a practical effect of assigning the award based in part on the performance of "numerically significant subgroups" within a school was to reduce the relative resources of schools attended by traditionally disadvantaged students.
    JEL: H0 I0 I2 J0 J24
    Date: 2009–03
  8. By: Ferre, Celine
    Abstract: Completing additional years of education necessarily entails spending more time in school. There is naturally a rather mechanical effect of schooling on fertility if women tend not to have children while continuing to attend high school or college, thus delaying the beginning of and shortening their reproductive life. This paper uses data from the Kenyan Demographic and Health Surveys of 1989, 1993, 1998, and 2003 to uncover the impact of staying one more year in school on teenage fertility. To get around the endogeneity issue between schooling and fertility preferences, the analysis uses the 1985 Kenyan education reform as an instrument for years of education. The authors find that adding one more year of education decreases by at least 10 percentage points the probability of giving birth when still a teenager. The probability of having one's first child before age 20, when having at least completed primary education, is about 65 percent; therefore, for this means a reduction of about 15 percent in teenage fertility rates for this group. One additional year of school curbs the probability of becoming a mother each year by 7.3 percent for women who have completed at least primary education, and 5.6 percent for women with at least a secondary degree. These results (robust to a wide array of specifications) are of crucial interest to policy and decision makers who set up health and educational policies. This paper shows that investing in education can have positive spillovers on health.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Adolescent Health,Primary Education,Education For All
    Date: 2009–02–01
  9. By: Wang, Xiaojun (University of Hawaii at Manoa); Fleisher, Belton M. (Ohio State University); Li, Haizheng (Georgia Tech); Li, Shi (Beijing Normal University)
    Abstract: We apply a semi-parametric latent variable model to estimate selection and sorting effects on the evolution of private returns to schooling for college graduates during China's reform between 1988 and 2002. We find that there were substantial sorting gains under the traditional system, but they have decreased drastically and are negligible in the most recent data. We take this as evidence of growing influence of private financial constraints on decisions to attend college as tuition costs have risen and the relative importance of government subsidies has declined. The main policy implication of our results is that labor and education reform without concomitant capital market reform and government support for the financially disadvantaged exacerbates increases in inequality inherent in elimination of the traditional "wage-grid."
    Keywords: return to schooling, selection bias, sorting gains, heterogeneity, financial constraints, comparative advantage, China
    JEL: J31 J24 O15
    Date: 2009–02
  10. By: Maria Knoth Humlum; Rune Majlund Vejlin (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of financial aid on student employment and academic outcomes in high school. We exploit administrative differences in the amount of financial aid received based on timing of birth to identify the causal effects of interest. Specifically, individuals born early in a quarter receive less financial aid than comparable individuals born late in the previous quarter. We find that receiving less aid induces individuals to work more during high school. However, we do not find any evidence that receiving less financial aid and thereby working more is associated with any adverse outcomes, such as a lower high school grade point average.
    Keywords: student grants, high school employment, regression discontinuity
    JEL: I28 J22 J24
    Date: 2009–01–28
  11. By: Sugimoto, Yoshiaki; Nakagawa, Masao
    Abstract: This paper argues that the introduction of compulsory schooling in early industrialization promoted the growth process that eventually led to a vicious cycle of population aging and negative pressure on education policy. In the early phases of industrialization, public education was undesirable for the young poor who relied on child labor. Compulsory schooling therefore discouraged childbirth, while the accompanying industrialization stimulated their demand for education. The subsequent rise in the share of the old population, however, limited government resources for education, placing heavier financial burdens on the young. This induced further fertility decline and population aging, and the resulting cycle may have delayed the growth of advanced economies in the last few decades.
    Keywords: Compulsory Education; Fertility; Generational Conflict; Growth.
    JEL: H50 J10 C70 O40 J20
    Date: 2009–03–07
  12. By: Geraint Johnes; T Agasisti
    Abstract: We estimate a variety of models to evaluate costs in US higher education institutions. A novel feature of our approach involves the estimation of latent class and random parameter stochastic frontier models of the multiproduct cost function. This allows us fully to accommodate both the heterogeneity of institutions and the presence of technical inefficiencies. Our findings suggest that global economies could be achieved by effecting a reduction in the number of institutions providing undergraduate instruction, while increasing the number of institutions engaged in postgraduate activity.
    Keywords: costs, efficiency, stochastic frontier, latent class, random parameter.
    Date: 2009
  13. By: Isabel Maria Bodas Freitas (Grenoble Ecole de Management); Bart Verspagen (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: This paper aims at analysing the impact of institutional and organizational factors on bridging industrial and university motivations for collaboration, as well as on the content, management and outcome of this relationship, in the Netherlands. In particular, we explore which type of projects, set up under specific industrial and university motivations, are more likely to face institutional barriers related to technology, market and organisational incentives frameworks. Moreover, we analyse the impact of technology transfer offices, research sponsoring, part-time professorships, and patenting on aligning university and industry motivations towards collaboration. To proceed empirically, thirty in-depth cases of successful university-industry knowledge transfer are analysed.
    Date: 2009–03
  14. By: Jennifer L. Steele; Richard J. Murnane; John B. Willett
    Abstract: This study capitalizes on a natural experiment that occurred in California between 2000 and 2002. In those years, the state offered a competitively allocated $20,000 incentive called the Governor's Teaching Fellowship (GTF) aimed at attracting academically talented, novice teachers to low-performing schools and retaining them in those schools for at least four years. Taking advantage of data on the career histories of 27,106 individuals who pursued California teaching licenses between 1998 and 2003, we use an instrumental variables strategy to estimate the unbiased impact of the GTF on the decisions of recipients to begin working in low-performing schools within two years after licensure program enrollment. We estimate that GTF recipients would have been less likely to teach in low-performing schools than observably similar counterparts had the GTF not existed, but that acquiring a GTF increased their probability of doing so by 28 percentage points. Examining retention patterns, we find that 75 percent of both GTF recipients and non-recipients who began working in low-performing schools remained in such schools for at least four years.
    JEL: I2 I22 I28
    Date: 2009–03

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