nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2009‒06‒17
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Estimating the production function of university students By Kwok Tong Soo
  2. Uncertainty in financing higher education By Manolescu, Gheorghe
  3. Extra Earning Power: The Financial Returns to University Education in Canada By Karim Moussaly-Sergieh; Francois Vaillancourt
  4. Some university students are more equal than others: Evidence from England By Kwok Tong Soo; Ching-Fu Chen
  5. The reform of education funding: principles, options, modalities By Manolescu, Gheorghe
  6. Heterogeneities in the returns to degrees: evidence from the British cohort study 1970 By Massimiliano BRATTI; Robin NAYLOR; Jeremy SMITH
  7. The Importance of Relative Performance Feedback Information: Evidence from a Natural Experiment using High School Students By Ghazala Azmat; Nagore Iriberri
  9. Education and Democratic Preferences By Alberto Chong; Mark Gradstein
  10. The Century of Education By Christian Morrisson; Fabrice Murtin
  11. Elegance with substance By Colignatus, Thomas
  12. Measuring Discrimination in Education By Rema Hanna; Leigh Linden
  13. Bassa fecondità e istruzione nell’Italia di fine Novecento By Gianpiero DALLA ZUANNA; Roberto IMPICCIATORE
  14. Is Education prejudiced by Country-Risk? A Panel-Data Study using Attainment Data and Country-Risk as a Rational Expectation By Tiago Neves Sequeira; Nuno Ferraz

  1. By: Kwok Tong Soo
    Abstract: This paper estimates the production function for university students in English universities. Taking as the output the quality of a university degree and the dropout rate, we use as inputs teaching quality and quantity, entry qualifications, and the effort level. Our results uncover new findings regarding the importance of each of these elements in university performance. In particular, we find that the quality of teaching and entry qualifications affect degree performance, but not the number of hours of teaching or private study. Controlling for unobserved ability through a 2SLS/GMM estimator suggests that entry scores have no additional impact on degree performance beyond its role as a measure of student ability.
    Keywords: Production function estimation; Higher education; Instrumental variables
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Manolescu, Gheorghe (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci)
    Abstract: Communication address public education financing, taking into account explicitly the risk aspects of private investment in education. Advantages of public education, financed from public funds, consist of lack of markets lies in that students can protect against risks, an example being the education taxes that depend on expected income from investment in education. Considering the risk, the uncertainty highlights a link hitherto omitted between educational choice, resource endowment and productivity growth, which may serve to redefine the role of public education.
    Keywords: human capital; cost in terms of success; certainty equivalent; private financing; public financing; risk education; tax on distributed profits of investment
    JEL: D81 H52 I22
    Date: 2009–06–01
  3. By: Karim Moussaly-Sergieh (Statistics Canada); Francois Vaillancourt (Université de Montréal)
    Abstract: Getting a university degree offers substantial financial returns, for women more so than men and for undergraduate degrees more so than advanced degrees. This report finds that high returns to education signal high labour demand in particular fields relative to supply, information which is helpful for policymakers who distribute funds and for students who must choose their specialty.
    Keywords: social policy, university postsecondary education, internal rate of return
    JEL: I21 J24 I22 H52 H75
    Date: 2009–05
  4. By: Kwok Tong Soo; Ching-Fu Chen
    Abstract: This paper estimates the efficiency of students in English universities using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and a new dataset which is able to capture the behaviour of university students. Taking as the output the classification of a university degree, we use as inputs teaching hours and quality, entry qualifications, and the effort level. We find that university students differ in terms of the efficiency with which they use inputs in producing good degrees. In a second stage, we explore the determinants of the efficiency of university students using a truncated regression model. Higher student efficiency is found to be positively and significantly related to university size, and negatively and significantly related to the proportion of part-time students and the number of academic staff. The quality of a university has no significant impact on the efficiency of its students once endogeneity of university quality is controlled for.
    Keywords: Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA); Efficiency; Education
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Manolescu, Gheorghe (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci)
    Abstract: Driver education is a social determinant of human development, of spiritual evolution, directly influencing all social fields, particularly economy, and in this respect, targeting resources, especially financial, to support a quality education, values and competence is a goal, a requirement and an undeniable necessity. Communication that presents seeks to highlight economic dimensions of education, to problematizeze current funding of education and to formulate guidelines and some aspects of education funding reform, presenting several possible alternatives for financing education through a combination of various sources of funding: government, private and community (local) budget, banking and capital markets, domestic and international. Finally, it exposed a scheme of financing on educational levels, taking into account the nature of education, income and the cost of education, ability to finance the two sectors of the economy: public and private.
    Keywords: educational equity; education economics; private funding; public funding; level of education; education loan market.
    JEL: G32 H52 I22
    Date: 2009–06–01
  6. By: Massimiliano BRATTI; Robin NAYLOR; Jeremy SMITH
    Abstract: Estimates of a high average return to a degree for UK graduates have provided a policy rationale for increasing the share of the costs of higher education borne by UK students over recent decades. We use evidence from a cohort of people born in 1970 to estimate hourly wage returns to a university degree. We analyse the extent of variations around average returns, focussing on heterogeneity in returns by factors such as: gender, degree subject studied, degree class awarded, student ability measures and family background. Among other results, we find substantial evidence of heterogeneous returns to a first degree according to subject area of study and class of degree awarded.
    Keywords: Degree, return, subject, UK, university
    JEL: J3 J4 I2
    Date: 2008–12–17
  7. By: Ghazala Azmat; Nagore Iriberri
    Abstract: We study the effect of providing relative performance feedback information on performance underpiece-rate incentives. A natural experiment that took place in a high school offers an unusualopportunity to test this effect in a real-effort setting. For one year only, students received informationthat allowed them to know whether they were above (below) the class average as well as the distancefrom this average. We exploit a rich panel data set and find that the provision of this information ledto an increase of 5% in students' grades. Moreover, the effect was significant for the wholedistribution. However, once the information was removed the effect disappeared. To rule out theconcern that the effect may be driven by teachers within the school, we verify our results usingnational level exams (externally graded) for the same students, and the effect remains.
    Keywords: school performance, relative performance, piece-rate, feedback, natural experiment, socialcomparison, self-perception, competitive preferences
    JEL: I21 M52 C30
    Date: 2009–03
  8. By: Mitea-Popia, Crina-Carmen (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci)
    Abstract: The ways in which public education is financed and delivered varies greatly throughout the world. Many developing countries have highly centralized government administration of education and other public services. Decentralization is one of the most important phenomena to have affected educational planning in the last years.
    Keywords: education; decentralization; devolution; reform; decision; budget
    JEL: A29 I21
    Date: 2009–06–01
  9. By: Alberto Chong; Mark Gradstein
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal link between education and democracy. Motivated by a model whereby educated individuals are in a better position to assess the effects of public policies and hence favor democracy where their opinions matter, the empirical analysis uses World Values Surveys to study the link between education and democratic attitudes. Controlling for a variety of characteristics, the paper finds that higher education levels tend to result in rodemocracy views. These results hold across countries with different levels of democracy, thus rejecting the hypothesis that indoctrination through education is an effective tool in non-democratic countries.
    Keywords: Education, democracy
    JEL: I20 I30 Y80
    Date: 2009–06
  10. By: Christian Morrisson; Fabrice Murtin
    Abstract: This paper presents a historical database on educational attainment in 74 countries for the period1870-2010, using perpetual inventory methods before 1960 and then the Cohen and Soto (2007)database. The correlation between the two sets of average years of schooling in 1960 is equal to 0.96.We use a measurement error framework to merge the two databases, while correcting for a systematicmeasurement bias in Cohen and Soto (2007) linked to differential mortality across educational groups.Descriptive statistics show a continuous spread of education that has accelerated in the second half ofthe twentieth century. We find evidence of fast convergence in years of schooling for a sub-sample ofadvanced countries during the 1870-1914 globalization period, and of modest convergence since1980. Less advanced countries have been excluded from the convergence club in both cases.
    Keywords: Inequality, human capital, economic history, copula function
    JEL: D31 E27 F02 N00 O40
    Date: 2009–06
  11. By: Colignatus, Thomas
    Abstract: National parliaments around the world are advised to each have their own national parliamentary enquiry into the education in mathematics and into what is called ‘mathematics’. Current mathematics namely fails and causes extreme social costs. The failure in mathematics and math education can be traced to a deep rooted tradition and culture in mathematics itself. Mathematicians are trained for abstract theory but when they teach then they meet with real life pupils and students. Didactics requires a mindset that is sensitive to empirical observation which is not what mathematicians are basically trained for. When mathematicians deal with empirical issues then problems arise in general. The stock market crash in 2008 was caused by many factors, including mismanagement by bank managers and failing regulation, but also by mathematicians and ‘rocket scientists’ mistaking abstract models for reality (Mandelbrot & Taleb 2009). Another failure arises in the modelling of the economics of the environment where an influx of mathematical approaches causes too much emphasis on elegant form and easy notions of risk but insufficient attention to reality, statistics and real risk (Tinbergen & Hueting 1991). Errors by mathematicians on realistic assumptions have important consequences for civic discourse and democracy as well (Colignatus 2007). The failure in math education is only one example in a whole range. The discussion of mathematics in this book can be understood by anyone with a decent command of highschool mathematics. While school math should be clear and didactically effective, a closer look shows that it is cumbersome and illogical. (1) This is illustrated with some twenty examples from a larger stock of potential topics. (2) Additional shopping lists for improvement on both content and didactic method can be formulated as well. (3) Improvements appear possible with respect to mathematics itself, on logic, voting theory, trigonometry and calculus. (4) What is called mathematics thus is not really mathematics. Pupils and students are psychologically tortured and withheld from proper mathematical insight and competence. Other subjects, like the education in economics, biology or physics, suffer as well. Application of economic theory helps us to understand that markets for education and ideas tend to be characterized by monopolistic competition and natural monopolies. Regulations then are important. Apparently the industry of mathematics education currently is not adequately regulated. The regulation of financial markets is a hot topic nowadays but the persistent failure of mathematics education should rather be high on the list as well. It will be important to let the industry become more open to society. When you want to understand the underlying historical processes that cause the current state of the world then this is the book for you. Mathematics education must be tackled, both as a noble goal of itself and for the larger causes.
    Keywords: education; mathematics; economics; school; college; university; training; skill; ability; human capital policy; human development; capacity formation; remediation; lifecycle skill formation; software; ICT; computer algebra; textbook publishing; learning; teaching; efficacy; regulation; policy evaluation;
    JEL: A20 I20 P16
    Date: 2009–05–11
  12. By: Rema Hanna; Leigh Linden
    Abstract: In this paper, we illustrate a methodology to measure discrimination in educational contexts. In India, we ran an exam competition through which children compete for a large financial prize. We recruited teachers to grade the exams. We then randomly assigned child "characteristics" (age, gender, and caste) to the cover sheets of the exams to ensure that there is no systematic relationship between the characteristics observed by the teachers and the quality of the exams. We find that teachers give exams that are assigned to be lower caste scores that are about 0.03 to 0.09 standard deviations lower than exams that are assigned to be high caste. The effect is small relative to the real differences in scores between the high and lower caste children. Low-performing, low caste children and top-performing females tend to lose out the most due to discrimination. Interestingly, we find that the discrimination against low caste students is driven by low caste teachers, while teachers who belong to higher caste groups do not appear to discriminate at all. This result runs counter to the previous literature, which tends to find that individuals discriminate in favor of members of their own groups.
    JEL: I2 J16
    Date: 2009–06
  13. By: Gianpiero DALLA ZUANNA; Roberto IMPICCIATORE
    Abstract: LOW FERTILITY AND EDUCATION IN ITALY AT THE END OF XX CENTURY.Several studies suggest that in Italy in the last decades the negative effect of education on fertility has disappeared or has changed sign. However, recent analyses developed in other countries highlight that the relation between education and fertility should be analyzed taking selection bias under control. With this purpose, we developed multiprocess hazard models with four simultaneous equations (one for each birth order) including an unobserved heterogeneity component at the individual level and we applied them to a large data sample coming from the ISTAT Multipurpose survey called “Aspetti della vita quotidiana”. For second, third and fourth birth order, the positive effect of education, that emerged from descriptive analysis and from models with independent equations, is simply due to a spurious relation. Net of selectivity, a negative relation between education and fertility emerges for the second and higher birth order. The preservation of the “traditional” link between education and fertility in Italy could be due to the peculiarities of the welfare regime.
    Keywords: Fertility, education, hazard models, selection, unobserved heterogeneity
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2008–04–09
  14. By: Tiago Neves Sequeira (Departamento de Gestão e Economia, Universidade da Beira Interior); Nuno Ferraz (Departamento de Gestão e Economia, Universidade da Beira Interior)
    Abstract: We consider country-risk as a determinant of education growth in a large cross-section of countries observed through time. Applying cross-country dynamic panel data estimations, we show that country-risk influences the education output growth negatively. This contributes to the literature on the educational production function, as it adds a robust determinant of that function. Among country-risks, economic risk is the most influential and among economic risks, economic growth, socioeconomic conditions and, mostly surprising, budget balance have the highest effects. This is a very robust empirical result and indicates that politicians should endeavor to decrease country-risk in order to enhance education.
    Keywords: Education, Country-Risk, Economic Growth
    JEL: I21 O15 O17 O50
    Date: 2008

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