nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2009‒08‒02
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. School enrollment, selection and test scores By Filmer, Deon; Schady, Norbert
  2. On the Quality of Private and Public Education: the Case of Chile By Juan-Pedro Garces
  3. How do college students form expectations? By Basit Zafar
  4. Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers By C. Kirabo Jackson; Elias Bruegmann
  5. Literacy and Numeracy in Faith-Based and Government Schools in Sierra Leone By Wodon, Quentin; Ying, Yvonne
  6. The Simulation of the Educational Output over the Life Course: The GAMEO Model By Pierre Courtioux; Stéphane Gregoir; Dede Houeto
  7. On the Robustness of Brain Gain Estimates By Beine, Michel; Docquier, Frédéric; Rapoport, Hillel
  8. Comparing the Performance of Faith-Based and Government Schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo By Backiny-Yetna, Prospere; Wodon, Quentin
  9. Are there diminishing returns to transfer size in conditional cash transfers ? By Filmer, Deon; Schady, Norbert
  10. School Choice in Chile: Looking at the Demand Side By Francisco Gallego; Andrés Hernando
  11. Environmental health and education : Towards sustainable growth By Natacha Raffin
  12. The Internal Politics of Journal Editing By Barnett, William A.
  13. Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multi-Period Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions By Ding, Weili; Lehrer, Steven F.
  14. La valutazione della didattica e della ricerca medica: esperienze a confronto By Cavalieri, Marina; Mangano, Alfia

  1. By: Filmer, Deon; Schady, Norbert
    Abstract: There is a strong association between schooling attained and test scores in many settings. If this association is causal, one might expect that programs that increase school enrollment and attainment would also improve test scores. However, if there is self-selection into school based on expected gains, marginal children brought into school by such programs may be drawn disproportionately from the left-hand side of the ability distribution, which could limit the extent to which additional schooling translates into more learning. To test this proposition, this paper uses data from Cambodia. The results show that a program that provides scholarships to poor students had a large effect on school enrollment and attendance, which increased by approximately 25 percentage points. However, there is no evidence that, 18 months after the scholarships were awarded, recipient children did any better on mathematics and vocabulary tests than they would have in the absence of the program. The paper discusses results that suggest that the self-selection of lower-ability students into school in response to the program is an important part of the explanation. The analysis also shows minimal program effects on other outcomes, including knowledge of health practices, expectations about the future, and adolescent mental health.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Education For All,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning,Secondary Education
    Date: 2009–07–01
  2. By: Juan-Pedro Garces (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: In this essay, we intend to measure the contribution of different factors within the educational system that affect the quality of education. The purpose is to compare, in a completely dispassionate way, the academic achievements of public and private schools (mainly at the secondary level) in one country: Chile. We take Chile because it has the most extensive (voucher-type) program for subsidizing private education and because it has a fairly wide and accessible amount of data. Amongst other factors, we study the influence of the public/private divide, the socio-economic level of the students and the pupil/teacher ratio. The quality of education is measured by the performance of students in standardized national tests administered to all schools in Chile.
    Keywords: education, development
    JEL: I2 O1
    Date: 2009–07
  3. By: Basit Zafar
    Abstract: Because students rely on their subjective expectations when choosing a college major, understanding this process of expectations formation is crucial for education policy recommendations. This paper focuses on how college students form expectations about various major-specific outcomes. I collect a unique panel data set of Northwestern University undergraduates that contains their subjective expectations about major-specific outcomes. Although students tend to be overconfident about their future academic performance, I find that they revise their expectations about various major-specific outcomes in systematic ways. For example, students who receive extremely positive information about their ability revise upward their prediction for short-term grade-point average (GPA). Similarly, those who receive very negative information revise downward their beliefs about GPA. Furthermore, students seem to update their probabilistic beliefs in a manner consistent with Bayesian analysis: Prior beliefs about outcomesto be realized in college tend to be fairly precise, while new information influences prior beliefs about outcomes in the workplace. Moreover, students who are more uncertain about major-specific outcomes in the initial survey make greater absolute revisions in their beliefs in the follow-up survey. Finally, I present evidence that learning plays a role in the decision to switch majors. Negative revisions to beliefs about graduating in four years, enjoying coursework, and earning an expected salary are associated with dropping a major.
    Keywords: Education ; Forecasting ; Human behavior ; Prediction (Psychology)
    Date: 2009
  4. By: C. Kirabo Jackson; Elias Bruegmann
    Abstract: Using longitudinal elementary school teacher and student data, we document that students have larger test score gains when their teachers experience improvements in the observable characteristics of their colleagues. Using within-school and within-teacher variation, we further show that a teacher’s students have larger achievement gains in math and reading when she has more effective colleagues (based on estimated value-added from an out-of-sample pre-period). Spillovers are strongest for less-experienced teachers and persist over time, and historical peer quality explains away about twenty percent of the own-teacher effect, results that suggest peer learning.
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2009–07
  5. By: Wodon, Quentin; Ying, Yvonne
    Abstract: This paper provides a comparative assessment of the market share, reach to the poor, and performance of faith-based and public schools in Sierra Leone using data from the 2004 Integrated Household Survey. One-third of primary school students attend government schools and more than half are in faith-based government-assisted schools. Faith-based schools tend to serve children who live in poverty more than public schools, and after controlling for student and household characteristics and school choice, they also perform slightly better than public schools.
    Keywords: Primary education; faith-based; poverty; performance; Sierra Leone
    JEL: Z12 H11 I21 L33 H44
    Date: 2009–06
  6. By: Pierre Courtioux (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I); Stéphane Gregoir (CEREMADE - CEntre de REcherches en MAthématiques de la DEcision - CNRS : UMR7534 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX); Dede Houeto (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: The paper presents the GAMEO model. It is a dynamic microsimulation model which aims at analyse educational output. It develops a generational approach and put the stress on the ditribution of educational output differentiated by type an level of degree.
    Keywords: microsimulation; education
    Date: 2009–06–08
  7. By: Beine, Michel (University of Luxembourg); Docquier, Frédéric (Catholic University of Louvain); Rapoport, Hillel (Bar-Ilan University)
    Abstract: Recent theoretical studies suggest that migration prospects can raise the expected return to human capital and thus foster education investment at home or, in other words, induce a brain gain. In a recent paper (Beine, Docquier and Rapoport, Economic Journal, 2008) we used the Docquier and Marfouk (2006) data set on emigration rates by education level to examine the impact of brain drain migration on gross (pre-migration) human capital formation in developing countries. We found a positive effect of skilled migration prospects on human capital growth in a cross-section of 127 developing countries, with an elasticity of about 5 percent. In this paper we assess the robustness of our results to the use of alternative brain drain measures, definitions of human capital, and functional forms. We find that the results hold using the Beine et al. (2007) alternative brain drain measures controlling for whether migrants acquired their skills in the home or in the host country. We also regress other indicators of human capital investment on skilled migration rates and find a positive effect on youth literacy while the effect on school enrolment depends on the exact specification chosen.
    Keywords: brain drain, brain gain, migration
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2009–07
  8. By: Backiny-Yetna, Prospere; Wodon, Quentin
    Abstract: This paper provides a comparative assessment of the market share, reach to the poor, and performance of faith-based and public schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo using data from the 2004-2005 "123" survey. More than two thirds of primary school students attend faith-based government-assisted schools. Both types of school cater to a similar population that is overwhelmingly poor. Faith-based schools perform slightly better at least in some dimensions than government schools, but the differences between the two types of schools are small and not statistically significant.
    Keywords: Primary education; faith-based; performance; poverty; Democratic Republic of Congo
    JEL: Z12 H11 I21 L33 H44
    Date: 2009–06
  9. By: Filmer, Deon; Schady, Norbert
    Abstract: There is increasing evidence that conditional cash transfer programs can have large impacts on school enrollment, including in very poor countries. However, little is known about which features of program design -- including the amount of the cash that is transferred, how frequently conditions are monitored, whether non-complying households are penalized, and the identity or gender of the cash recipients -- account for the observed outcomes. This paper analyzes the impact of one feature of program design -- namely, the magnitude of the transfer. The analysis uses data from a program in Cambodia that deliberately altered the transfer amounts received by otherwise comparable households. The findings show clear evidence of diminishing marginal returns to transfer size despite the fact that even the larger transfers represented on average only 3 percent of the consumption of the median recipient households. If applicable to other settings, these results have important implications for other programs that transfer cash with the explicit aim of increasing school enrollment levels in developing countries.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Access to Finance,Education For All,,Primary Education
    Date: 2009–07–01
  10. By: Francisco Gallego (Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.); Andrés Hernando
    Abstract: How do parents choose among schools when they are allowed to do so? In this paper, we analyze detailed information of 70,000 fourth-graders attending about 1,200 publicly subsidized schools in the context of the Chilean voucher system. We model the school choice of a household as a discrete choice of a single school, based on the random utility model developed by McFadden (1974) and the specification of Berry, Levinsohn, and Pakes (1995), which includes choice-specific unobservable characteristics and deals with potential endogeneity. Our results imply that households value some attributes of schools, with the two most important dimensions being test scores and distance to school. Interestingly, at the same time, our results suggest there is a lot of heterogeneity in preferences because the valuation of most school attributes depend on household characteristics. In particular, we find that while proximity to school is an inferior attribute, test scores is a normal attribute. We present evidence that our results are mainly driven by self-selection and not by school-side selection. As a nal check, we compute the average enrollment elasticity with respect to all school attributes and find that higher elasticities are correlated with higher supply of the attribute, especially in the case of test scores-enrollment elasticities for private schools.
    Keywords: School choice, Chile, Vouchers, Structural Estimates, Parental Preferences.
    JEL: I20 I21 I22 I28
    Date: 2009
  11. By: Natacha Raffin (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: This article aims at investigating the interplay between environmental quality, health and development. We consider an OLG model, where human capital dynamics depend on the current environment, through its impact on children's school attendance. In turn, environmental quality dynamics depend on human capital, through maintenance and pollution. This two-way causality generates a co-evolution of human capital and environmental quality and may induce the emergence of an environmental poverty trap characterized by a low level of human capital and deteriorated environmental quality. Our results are consistent with empirical observation about the existence of Environmental Kuznets Curve. Finally, the model allows for the assessment of an environmental policy that would allow to escape the trap.
    Keywords: Education, environmental quality, growth, health.
    Date: 2009–04
  12. By: Barnett, William A.
    Abstract: I have been invited to write an essay for The American Economist on my experiences as founder and editor of the Cambridge University Press journal, Macroeconomic Dynamics. I have decided to focus the essay on my experiences in starting up the journal. Few economists, who have not themselves started up a new journal, are aware of the nature of the process and its sometimes very complicated academic politics.
    Keywords: journal editing; essay; academic politics; interviews; macroeconomics; dynamics
    JEL: E0 A20 B00 A10
    Date: 2009–07–24
  13. By: Ding, Weili; Lehrer, Steven F.
    Abstract: This paper introduces an empirical strategy to estimate dynamic treatment effects in randomized trials that provide treatment in multiple stages and in which various noncompliance problems arise such as attrition and selective transitions between treatment and control groups. Our approach is applied to the highly influential four year randomized class size study, Project STAR. We find benefits from attending small class in all cognitive subject areas in kindergarten and the first grade. We do not find any statistically significant dynamic benefits from continuous treatment versus never attending small classes following grade one. Finally, statistical tests support accounting for both selective attrition and noncompliance with treatment assignment.
    Keywords: Dynamic treatment effects, contaminated experiments, class size, education production, attrition, non-compliance
    JEL: I21 C31
    Date: 2009–07–22
  14. By: Cavalieri, Marina; Mangano, Alfia
    Abstract: In medical faculties, teaching and research are carried out together with patient health care. A large body of literature has empirically studied the effects of these joint academic activities, especially in terms of higher hospital costs and better quality of care. An appropriate definition and evaluation of the outputs provided by these institutions and their interactions is crucial to design an efficient and equitable financing scheme. This paper aims at analyzing different methodological approaches which can be used to evaluate medical teaching and research. Some evaluation experiences of both Italian and international institutions are described and critically apprised. The comparative analysis reveals that none of the systems is immune to criticism. Hence, the importance of adopting multiple evaluation methods involving subjective and objective measures as well as qualitative and quantitative approaches.
    Keywords: Evaluation; teaching; research; medical faculties; university
    JEL: H40 I10
    Date: 2009–05

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