nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2009‒08‒22
twenty papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Estimating complementarity between education and training By Christian Belzil; J. Hansen; Nicolai Kristensen
  2. "Disability and Returns to Education in a Developing Country" By Kamal Lamichhane; Yasuyuki Sawada
  3. Education Delayed: Family Structure and Postnatal Educational Attainment By Carol Ann MacGregor
  4. Do Expenditures Other Than Instructional Expenditures Affect Graduation and Persistence Rates in American Higher Education? By Webber, Douglas A.; Ehrenberg, Ronald G.
  5. Playing the Admissions Game: Student Reactions to Increasing College Competition By John Bound; Brad Hershbein; Bridget Terry Long
  6. Higher Education By Andrä Wolter
  7. The Gender Gap in Secondary School Mathematics at High Achievement Levels: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions By Glenn Ellison; Ashley Swanson
  8. Should you believe in the Shanghai ranking? By Jean-Charles Billaut; Denis Bouyssou; Philippe Vincke
  9. Does pluralism in economics education make better educated, happier students? A qualitative analysis. By Andrew Mearman; Tim Wakeley; Gamila Shoib; Don J. Webber
  10. External Return to Education in Europe By Strawinski, Pawel
  11. Students’ perceptions of economics:Identifying demand for further study By Don J. Webber; Andrew Mearman
  12. Child Labour and Schooling Responses to Access to Microcredit in Rural Bangladesh By Islam, Asadul; Choe, Chongwoo
  13. Measuring Cognitive Competencies By Ulrich Trautwein
  14. Science and teaching: Two-dimensional signalling in the academic job market By Schneider, Andrea
  15. University Patenting in Germany before and after 2002: What Role Did the Professors' Privilege Play? By Sidonia von Ledebur; Guido Buenstorf; Martin Hummel
  16. Gendering models of leading academic performance (LAP): The role of social identity, prototypicality and social identity performance in female academic careers. By Aïcha Serghini Idrissi; Patricia Garcia-Prieto
  17. Report on Children's Profile at School Entry 2008-2009: Evaluation of the 'Preparing For Life' Early Childhood Intervention Programme By UCD Geary Institute PFL Evaluation Team; Orla Doyle; Carly Cheevers; Sarah Finnegan; Louise McEntee; Kelly McNamara
  18. Associations among Family Environment, Attention, and School Readiness for At-Risk Children By Rachel A. Razza; Anne Martin; Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
  19. Overskilling Dynamics and Education Pathways By Kostas Mavromaras; Seamus McGuinness; Yin King Fok
  20. Do No-Loan Policies Change the Matriculation Patterns of Low-Income Students? By Waddell, Glen R.; Singell, Jr., Larry D.

  1. By: Christian Belzil (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, ENSAE - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Economique, CIREQ - Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche en Economie Quantitative); J. Hansen (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, CIREQ - Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche en Economie Quantitative, CIRANO - Montréal - , Department of Economics, Concordia University - Concordia University); Nicolai Kristensen (Danish Institute of Governmental Research - AKF, University of Aarhus - University of Aarhus)
    Abstract: In this paper, we formulate and estimate a structural model of post-schooling training that explicitly allows for possible complementarity between initial schooling levels and returns to training. Precisely, the wage outcome equation depends on accumulated schooling and on the incidence of training. The effect of training on wage growth depends on individual permanent endowments as well as on education. We find evidence of statistically significant complementarity, i.e. the higher educated receive the highest return to the MBA-type training considered here.
    Keywords: Skill Complementarity ; Dynamic Treatment Effects ; Dynamic Programming ; Random Coefficients
    Date: 2009–03–04
  2. By: Kamal Lamichhane (Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), The University of Tokyo); Yasuyuki Sawada (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate wage returns to investment in education for persons with disabilities in Nepal, using information on the timing of being impaired during school-age years as identifying instrumental variables for years of schooling. We employ unique data collected from persons with hearing, physical, and visual impairments as well as nationally representative survey data from the Nepal Living Standard Survey 2003/2004 (NLSS II). After controlling for endogeneity bias arising from schooling decisions as well as sample selection bias due to endogenous labor participation, the estimated rate of returns to education is very high among persons with disabilities, ranging from 19.4 to 33.2%. The coexistence of these high returns to education and limited years of schooling suggest that supply side constraints in education to accommodate persons with disabilities and/or there are credit market imperfections. Policies to eliminate these barriers will mitigate poverty among persons with disabilities, the largest minority group in the world.
    Date: 2009–08
  3. By: Carol Ann MacGregor (Princeton University)
    Abstract: The rise in cohabitation and the concentration of single parenthood among the lower educated warrants an examination of postnatal educational attainment that considers differences by family structure. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, I examine the prevalence of obtaining additional education (N=3812) in the five years after a birth. Controlling for mothers? background and resources, married mothers are less likely to obtain additional education. Cohabiting mothers return to school more often than married mothers but less often than lone-mothers. Women who experience a union dissolution or divorce are also more likely to obtain additional education. Postnatal educational attainment appears to be an alternate pathway to economic security for women without stable romantic partnerships.
    Keywords: Education, Family Structure, Fragile Families
    Date: 2009–07
  4. By: Webber, Douglas A. (Cornell University); Ehrenberg, Ronald G. (Cornell University)
    Abstract: Median instructional spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at American colleges and universities has grown at a slower rate the median spending per FTE in a number of other expenditure categories during the last two decades. We use institutional level panel data and a variety of econometric approaches, including unconditional quantile regression models, to analyze whether noninstructional expenditure categories influence first year persistence and graduation rates of American undergraduate students. Our most important finding is that student service expenditures influence graduation and persistence rates and their marginal effects are larger for students at institutions with lower entrance test scores and more lower income students. Put another way, their effects are largest at institutions that have lower current persistence and graduation rates. Simulations suggest that reallocating some funding from instruction to student services may enhance persistence and graduation rates at those institutions whose rates are currently below the medians in the sample.
    Keywords: higher education, productivity, graduation rates
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2009–08
  5. By: John Bound; Brad Hershbein; Bridget Terry Long
    Abstract: Gaining entrance to a four-year college or university, particularly a selective institution, has become increasingly competitive over the last several decades. We document this phenomenon and show how it has varied across different parts of the student ability distribution and across region, with the most pronounced increases in competition being found among higher-ability students and in the Northeast. Additionally, we explore how the college preparatory behavior of high school seniors has changed in response to the growth in competition. We also discuss the theoretical implications of increased competition on longer-term measures of learning and achievement and attempt to test them empirically; the evidence and related literature, while limited, suggests little long-term benefit.
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2009–08
  6. By: Andrä Wolter
    Abstract: During the last five years higher education research in Germany seems to be in a significant upturn. This is a side effect partly of the obvious boom of empirical educational research in general and partly of the reform movement that has affected the German higher education system since middle of the 1990s. The demand for data in the field of higher education will increase considerably in future. The available data infrastructure for higher education research in Germany consists of two complementary main sources: on the one hand the official higher education statistics, on the other hand survey-based research. All in all, there are no serious or principle obstacles to access to the available data stock. Access in particular to some of the most important surveys could be improved by the establishment of a Forschungsdatenzentrum at HIS Hochschul-Informations-System. Furthermore, there are some deficiencies in the present data provision. New topics and demands of data provision have to be integrated into official statistics and survey based research – e.g. such issues as migration status, competencies, lifelong learning, quality of studies, institutional effects, international mobility, programs to promote younger scholars etc.. In particular there is a lack of panel designs. The very new National Education Panel Study (NEPS) will eliminate some but not all of these deficiencies.
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Glenn Ellison; Ashley Swanson
    Abstract: This paper uses a new data source, American Mathematics Competitions, to examine the gender gap among high school students at very high achievement levels. The data bring out several new facts. There is a large gender gap that widens dramatically at percentiles above those that can be examined using standard data sources. An analysis of unobserved heterogeneity indicates that there is only moderate variation in the gender gap across schools. The highest achieving girls in the U.S. are concentrated in a very small set of elite schools, suggesting that almost all girls with the ability to reach high math achievement levels are not doing so.
    JEL: I2 J16
    Date: 2009–08
  8. By: Jean-Charles Billaut (LI - EA 2101 - Laboratoire d'Informatique - Université François Rabelais - Tours - Polytech'Tours); Denis Bouyssou (LAMSADE - Laboratoire d'analyse et modélisation de systèmes pour l'aide à la décision - CNRS : UMR7024 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX); Philippe Vincke (CODE - CODE - Université Libre de Bruxelles)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a critical analysis of the "Academic Ranking of World Universities", published every year by the Institute of Higher Education of the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and more commonly known as the Shanghai ranking. After having recalled how the ranking is built, we first discuss the relevance of the criteria and then analyze the proposed aggregation method. Our analysis uses tools and concepts from Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). Our main conclusions are that the criteria that are used are not relevant, that the aggregation methodology is plagued by a number of major problems and that the whole exercise suffers from an insufficient attention paid to fundamental structuring issues. Hence, our view is that the Shanghai ranking, in spite of the media coverage it receives, does not qualify as a useful and pertinent tool to discuss the "quality" of academic institutions, let alone to guide the choice of students and family or to promote reforms of higher education systems. We outline the type of work that should be undertaken to oer sound alternatives to the Shanghai ranking.
    Keywords: Shanghai ranking; multiple criteria decision analysis; evaluation models; higher education.
    Date: 2009–05–29
  9. By: Andrew Mearman (Department of Economics, University of the West of England, UK); Tim Wakeley (Griffith University, Australia); Gamila Shoib (Griffith University, Australia); Don J. Webber (Department of Business Economics, Auckland University of Technology and Department of Economics, UWE, Bristol)
    Abstract: This paper contributes to the debate on pluralism in the Economics curriculum. Here pluralism means a diversity of theoretical perspectives. One set of pedagogical arguments for pluralism are those found in ‘liberal’ philosophy of education. To this end, the first part of the paper presents arguments for pluralism based on ‘liberal’ pedagogical arguments. The paper also notes more instrumental arguments for pluralism; and barriers to such an approach. Finally, the paper considers new primary evidence from focus groups on student perceptions of economics. This evidence shows support for the arguments that a pluralist curriculum is popular and develops cognitive capacities of criticism, comparison and analysis – exactly those argued for in (liberal) pedagogical discussion – as well as judgement, understanding and writing skills. However, pluralism as a teaching strategy may be more difficult for those delivering it.
    Keywords: Students; pedagogy, pluralism, perceptions, focus groups
    JEL: A22 B4 B5
    Date: 2009–08
  10. By: Strawinski, Pawel (University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: This paper provides an international comparison of external rates of return to education. As is pointed out in the literature social return rate exceeds the pure technical rate of return by a considerable margin. However, measuring social return is delicate due to methodological and data problems. The exploited approach is based on a comparative advantage theory. It allows us to control for potential endogeneity problem and a self-selection into different education regimes. We find that external return is positive in all European countries. However the magnitude of these returns varies. It seems that the external return is higher in small economies in which the number of highly educated people is low.
    Keywords: return to education; private return ; social return
    JEL: I21 O15
    Date: 2009–08
  11. By: Don J. Webber (Department of Business Economics, Auckland University of Technology and Department of Economics, UWE, Bristol); Andrew Mearman (Department of Economics, University of the West of England, UK)
    Abstract: Most university departments aspire to increase their quantity of students. The objective of this empirical study is to ascertain whether it is possible to identify students who would demand more economics study. Using data on student perceptions of economics and the application of logistic regression, K-means clustering, ANOVA and Tukey’s HSD statistical techniques we reveal distinct clusters of students, including a small cluster of students who appear to be more open to further study.
    Keywords: Students; Demand for economics
    JEL: A22 A29
    Date: 2009–08
  12. By: Islam, Asadul; Choe, Chongwoo
    Abstract: Microcredit has been shown to be effective in reducing poverty in many developing countries. However, less is known about its effect on human capital formation. In this paper, we develop a model examining the relation between microcredit and child labour. We then empirically examine the impact of access to microcredit on children’s education and child labour using a new and large data set from rural Bangladesh. We address the selection bias using the instrumental variable method where the instrument relies on an exogenous variation in treatment intensity among households in different villages. The results show that household participation in a microcredit program may increase child labour and reduce school enrolment. The adverse effects are more pronounced for girls than boys. Younger children are more adversely affected than their older siblings and the children of poorer and less educated households are affected most adversely. Our findings remain robust to different specifications and methods, and when corrected for various sources of selection bias.
    Keywords: Microcredit; child labour; school enrolment; instrumental variable; treatment effect
    JEL: A20 C21 O12
    Date: 2009
  13. By: Ulrich Trautwein
    Abstract: The systematic of key cognitive competencies is of high scientific and societal relevance, as is the availability of high-quality data on cognitive competencies. In order to make well-informed decisions, politicians and educational authorities need high-quality data about the effectiveness of formal and non-formal educational environments. Similarly, researchers need strong data to test complex theoretical models about how individual biographies are shaped by the interplay between individual and institutional affordances and constraints. Innumerable data sets offer some form of information on competencies such as respondents’ years at school and their school grades. Such data are relatively easy to collect. When it comes to making informed political and educational decisions, however, there are increasing calls for a more systematic use of standardized competence tests. The production, storage, and use of standardized test data on competencies in specific domains is expensive, complex, and time-consuming, however. This chapter argues that there is a paucity of adequate data on cognitive competencies in important domains, especially of longitudinal data from standardized competence tests, and that for many important questions there are no good alternatives to high-quality standardized tests of cognitive competencies. Furthermore, it outlines some challenges in the construction and application of standardized competence tests and makes several recommendations.
    Keywords: cognitive competencies, assessment, intelligence, school grades
    Date: 2009
  14. By: Schneider, Andrea (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg)
    Abstract: Post-docs signal their ability to do science and teaching to get a tenure giving universities the possibility of separating highly talented agents from the low talented ones. However separating that means signalling effort for the highly talented becomes even more important in a two-dimensional signalling case. This attracts notice to time constraints. Under weak conditions separating equilibria do not exist if time constraints are binding. The existing equilibria are more costly but without additional information compared to the one-dimensional case. Considering this, the efficiency of the current two-dimensional academic job market signalling can be improved by switching to a one-dimensional one.
    Keywords: Multi-dimensional signalling; Academic job market; Teaching and Research
    JEL: D82 I23 J41
    Date: 2009–08–10
  15. By: Sidonia von Ledebur (Philipps University Marburg); Guido Buenstorf (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena); Martin Hummel (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: We examine ownership patterns of German university-invented patents before and after the abolition of the "professors' privilege" in 2002 to explore how the legal change affected patenting activities. Our data show a shift from individually-owned and firm-owned patents to university-owned patents, which becomes increasingly strong over the years. Differences in the patent experience of inventors and universities further help explain the variance in ownership patterns. Both experienced and inexperienced inventors are affected by the legal change.
    Keywords: university patenting, technology transfer, professors' privilege, Germany
    JEL: O33 O34 O38
    Date: 2009–08–12
  16. By: Aïcha Serghini Idrissi (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.); Patricia Garcia-Prieto (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.)
    Abstract: In this paper we argue that Leading Academic Performance (LAP) expectations in universities are gendered, hindering female academic leadership. Integrating concepts from social identity theory of leadership, prototypicality, and social identity performance we describe how evaluations of female academic performance are shaped by gender social identity negatively affecting the career advancement of female faculty. We then illustrate how female academics can perform their academic and/or female social identities in order to be considered as leading academic performers.
    Date: 2009–08
  17. By: UCD Geary Institute PFL Evaluation Team (The Geary Institute University College Dublin); Orla Doyle (The Geary Institute University College Dublin); Carly Cheevers (The Geary Institute University College Dublin); Sarah Finnegan (The Geary Institute University College Dublin); Louise McEntee (The Geary Institute University College Dublin); Kelly McNamara (The Geary Institute University College Dublin)
    Abstract: The Children's Profile at School Entry (CPSE) was conducted by the UCD Geary Institute who have been commissioned by the Northside Partnership to assess the levels of school readiness in a designated disadvantaged community of Ireland, as part of an overall evaluation of the Preparing for Life (PFL) early childhood intervention programme.
    Date: 2009–08–07
  18. By: Rachel A. Razza (Syracuse University); Anne Martin (Columbia University); Jeanne Brooks-Gunn (Columbia University)
    Abstract: This study examined the developmental pathways from children’s family environment to school readiness within an at-risk sample (N = 1,701). Measures of the family environment (maternal parenting behaviors and maternal mental health) across early childhood were related to children’s observed sustained attention as well as to academic and behavioral outcomes at age 5 years. Results suggest specificity in the associations among attention and its correlates. Maternal parenting behaviors but not mental health explained individual differences in sustained attention, which in turn were associated with variability in children’s academic school readiness. Mediation tests confirmed that sustained attention partially accounted for the link between parenting behaviors and academic school readiness. While maternal mental health was associated with children’s behavioral school readiness, sustained attention did not play a mediating role. Findings indicate sustained attention as a potential target for efforts aimed at enhancing academic school readiness among predominantly poor and minority children.
    Date: 2009–06
  19. By: Kostas Mavromaras (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne and IZA, Bonn); Seamus McGuinness (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin); Yin King Fok (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: This paper uses panel data and econometric methods to estimate the incidence and the dynamic properties of overskilling among employed individuals. The paper begins by asking whether there is extensive overskilling in the labour market, and whether overskilling differs by education pathway. The answer to both questions is yes. The paper continues by asking whether overskilling is a self-perpetuating labour market state (state dependence), and whether state dependence differs by education pathway. The paper uses a dynamic random effects probit which includes Mundlak corrections and it models the initial conditions following Heckman's method. It finds that there is extensive overskilling state dependence in the workplace, and to the degree that overskilling can be interpreted as skills underutilisation and worker-job mismatch, this is an important finding. Overskilled workers with a higher degree show the highest state dependence, while workers with vocational education show none. Workers with no post-school qualifications are somewhere between these two groups. The finding that higher degree graduates suffer the greatest overskilling state dependence, combined with the well-established finding that they also suffer the highest overskilling wage penalty, offers an additional useful perspective to compare the attributes of vocational and degree qualifications.
    Keywords: Overskilling, education pathways, state dependence, dynamic estimation
    JEL: J24 J31
    Date: 2009–07
  20. By: Waddell, Glen R. (University of Oregon); Singell, Jr., Larry D. (University of Oregon)
    Abstract: We empirically examine whether there is discernable variation in the matriculation patterns of low-income students at public flagship institutions in the United States around changes in institutional financial-aid policies that target resident, low-income students with need-based aid. While enrollment responses cannot be attributed to these programs, we do find that institutions that introduce income-targeted aid subsequently enroll financially needier and geographically more-distant students. These findings imply that "improved" access may actually displace some needy students in favor of others.
    Keywords: low income, financial aid, no loan, Pell
    JEL: I23 I21 J24
    Date: 2009–08

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