nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2009‒11‒07
twelve papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Evolution Tendencies of Educational Market’s Capacity and Structure By Neamtu Adina; Neamtu Liviu
  2. Targeting Non-Cognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention By Holmlund, Helena; Silva, Olmo
  3. Sorting, Peers and Achievement of Aboriginal Students in British Columbia By Friesen, Jane; Krauth, Brian
  4. Education, Rent Seeking and Growth By Berdugo, Binyamin; Meir, Uri
  5. Calculative practices in higher education: a retrospective analysis of curricular accounting about learning By Dixon, Keith
  6. The Causal Effect of Education on Wages Revisited By Matt Dickson
  7. The Officina Emilia Initiative:Innovative Local Actions to Support Education and Training Systems By Margherita Russo; Paola Mengoli
  8. The short-term impacts of a schooling conditional cash transfer program on the sexual behavior of young women By Baird, Sarah; Chirwa, Ephraim; McIntosh, Craig; Ozler, Berk
  9. The impact of teacher wages on the performance of students: evidence from PISA By Ali, Amjad
  10. Changing patterns in German education policy making: the impact of international organizations By Niemann, Dennis
  11. Does Education Shield Against Common Mental Disorders? By Edvard Johansson; Petri Böckerman; Tuija Martelin; Sami Pirkola; Karí Poikolainen
  12. What Parents Want: School preferences and school choice By Simon Burgess; Ellen Greaves; Anna Vignoles; Deborah Wilson

  1. By: Neamtu Adina; Neamtu Liviu (Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, Romania)
    Abstract: The success of the education system in Romania will be possible only through a network of long-term educational viable universities on an increasingly demanding and more aware market. Consequently, higher education studies institutions will have to meet as soon as possible the requirements of this market and to provide solutions to the needs of education and research through strategic approach capable of providing academic development of medium and long term.
    Keywords: education system, university, progress, educational offer, employment offer
    JEL: A22 M30 I20 I21 I22
    Date: 2009–05
  2. By: Holmlund, Helena (CEP, London School of Economics); Silva, Olmo (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: A growing body of research highlights the importance of non-cognitive skills as determinants of young people's cognitive outcomes at school. However, little evidence exists about the effects of policies that specifically target students' non-cognitive skills as a way to improve educational achievements. In this paper, we shed light on this issue by studying a remedial education programme aimed at English secondary school pupils at risk of school exclusion and with worsening educational trajectories. The main peculiarity of this intervention is that it solely targets students' non-cognitive skills – such as self-confidence, locus of control, self-esteem and motivation – with the aim of improving pupils' records of attendance and end-of-compulsory-education (age 16) cognitive outcomes. We evaluate the effect of the policy on test scores in standardized national exams at age-16 using both least squares and propensity-score matching methods. Additionally, we exploit repeated observations on pupils’ test scores to control for unobservables that might affect students’ outcomes and selection into the programme. We find little evidence that the programme significantly helped treated youths to improve their age-16 test outcomes. We also find little evidence of heterogeneous policy effects along a variety of dimensions.
    Keywords: cognitive and non-cognitive skills; policy evaluation; secondary schooling
    JEL: C20 I20 H75
    Date: 2009–10
  3. By: Friesen, Jane; Krauth, Brian
    Abstract: We use administrative data on students in grades 4 and 7 in British Columbia to examine the extent to which differences in school environment contribute to the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students as measured by standardized test scores. We find that segregation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students is substantial, and that differences in the distribution of these two groups across schools account for roughly half the overall achievement gap on the Foundation Skills Assessment tests in grade 7. The substantial school-level segregation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student across schools means that Aboriginal students on average have a higher proportion of peers who are themselves Aboriginal, as well as a higher proportion of peers in special education. We estimate the effect of peer composition on value-added exam outcomes, using longitudinal data on multiple cohorts of students together with school-by-grade fixed effects to account for endogenous selection into schools. We find that having a greater proportion of Aboriginal peers, if anything, improves the achievement of Aboriginal students.
    Keywords: Aboriginal education, peer effects
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2009–10–24
  4. By: Berdugo, Binyamin; Meir, Uri
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of education as a way of reducing private rent seeking activities and increasing output. In many underdeveloped economies, for most individuals, there is no private return to education. Nonetheless, according to this paper, governments are better off by investing in public education. We view education as a means to build personal character, thereby affecting macroeconomic long run equilibrium by reducing the number of individuals who are engaged in private rentseeking activities. We show that education is more efficient than ordinary law enforcement because it has a long-run effect. The policy implication of this result is that even when education does not increase human capital, compulsory schooling will be beneficial in pulling underdeveloped economies out of poverty.
    Keywords: Rent Seeking; Decency; Education; Growth
    JEL: O10 A20 O43 I21
    Date: 2009–10–31
  5. By: Dixon, Keith
    Abstract: Accounting has been shown to figure variously in New Higher Education. However, despite their infant precursors having been labelled curricular accounting (Theodossin, 1986), accounting researchers have overlooked a collection of calculative practices that has grown and spread internationally over the past two decades. The collection in question comprises credit points, levels of learning, level descriptors, learning outcomes, and related characteristics of student transcripts and diploma supplements, qualification frameworks and credit transfer systems. This paper extends coverage of the accounting literature to this particular variant of accounting. The subject is addressed both in a technical way and in the broader context of accounting in organisations and society. The former University of New Zealand and its affiliate in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the University of Canterbury, also of that city, are used as a case study. The credit point system in place at the University of Canterbury in 2009 and its antecedents back to 1873 are analysed genealogically. Participant-observation and related means are used to collect data. These data are analysed using ideas of representational schemes, path-dependent changes and negotiated orders among parties who have been associated with the case institutions. The analysis illuminates how and why learning (and teaching) at the University of Canterbury has come to be specified, recorded and controlled using curricular accounting; and why the accounting in use accords conceptually and, to an increasing degree, in practice to that in use across tertiary education in many countries. Among the social, economic and political issues that have spurred on this spread are international standards, quality and equivalence of tertiary education qualifications, study and learning; diversification of participation in tertiary education; changes to the levels and sources of funding tertiary education; and the many and varied ideas, etc. associated with New Higher Education. The spread has multifarious consequences for students, academics, alumni, universities and similar institutions, higher education, governments and others. There is much scope for further research.
    Keywords: Higher education; Credit accumulation and transfer; Social and institutional accounting; Genealogical methods
    JEL: I21 H83 I28
    Date: 2009–11–01
  6. By: Matt Dickson
    Abstract: This paper estimates the return to education using two alternative instrumental variable estimators: one exploits variation in schooling associated with early smoking behaviour, the other uses the raising of the minimum school leaving age. Each instrument estimates a ‘local average treatment effect’ and my motivation is to analyse the extent to which these differ and which is more appropriate for drawing conclusions about the return to education in Britain. I implement each instrument on the same data from the British Household Panel Survey, and use the over-identification to test the validity of my instruments. I find that the instrument constructed using early smoking behaviour is valid as well as being strong, and argue that it provides a better estimate of the average effect of additional education, akin to ordinary least squares but corrected for endogeneity. I also exploit the dual sources of exogenous variation in schooling to derive a further IV estimate of the return to schooling. I find the OLS estimate to be considerably downward biased (around 4.6%) compared with the IV estimates of 12.9% (early smoking), 10.2% (RoSLA) and 12.5% (both instruments).
    Keywords: human capital, endogeneity, local average treatment effect
    JEL: I20 J30
    Date: 2009–09
  7. By: Margherita Russo; Paola Mengoli
    Abstract: The issue of the regeneration of skills, in particular in the light engineering industry, is addressed by Officina Emilia (henceforth OE) as a crucial one in order to re-examine the interweaving of education, innovation and local development in the SMEs production systems. The project, aimed at the education and training systems, is designed to enhance the industrial culture in order to strengthen technical and scientific education. First sponsored in 2000 by the University of Modena & Reggio Emilia (Italy), over the last years OE has gathered the support of local actors dealing with the themes of training, culture, and local development. In 2009 it opened its museolaboratorio (“workshop-museum”) in which teaching activities promote an interest in the themes of work, technologies and the socio-economic development of the territory among the students and teachers of schools of all types and levels. The involvement of class groups, of teachers and other visitors takes place through active learning practices that foster motivation and develop a sense of belonging which is likely to lead to a more profitable educational experience, both secondary and tertiary, as well as to contribute to improving career prospects. Officina Emilia proposes innovative action on a local level, allowing for the implementation of effective teaching practices as well as the broadening and consolidation of best practices which might support a society-wide trend towards maintaining a high demand for a better quality of education and the ability to provide it. Ten years after the beginning of the initiative, with this paper we intend to open up the discussion on the various research issues and on the actions undertaken, focusing on the analytical tools and the main critical areas in the further implementation of the Officina Emilia initiative.
    Keywords: Analysis of Education; Education Policy; Regional Development Policies; Innovation
    JEL: I21 J24 I28 O31 R58
    Date: 2009–05
  8. By: Baird, Sarah; Chirwa, Ephraim; McIntosh, Craig; Ozler, Berk
    Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that conditional cash transfer programs for schooling are effective in raising school enrollment and attendance. However, there is also reason to believe that such programs can affect other outcomes, such as the sexual behavior of their young beneficiaries. Zomba Cash Transfer Program is a randomized, ongoing conditional cash transfer intervention targeting young women in Malawi that provides incentives (in the form of school fees and cash transfers) to current schoolgirls and recent dropouts to stay in or return to school. An average offer of US$10/month conditional on satisfactory school attendance – plus direct payment of secondary school fees – led to significant declines in early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and self-reported sexual activity among program beneficiaries after just one year of program implementation. For program beneficiaries who were out of school at baseline, the probability of getting married and becoming pregnant declined by more than 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively. In addition, the incidence of the onset of sexual activity was 38 percent lower among all program beneficiaries than the control group. Overall, these results suggest that conditional cash transfer programs not only serve as useful tools for improving school attendance, but may also reduce sexual activity, teen pregnancy, and early marriage.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Adolescent Health,Education For All,Primary Education,Disease Control&Prevention
    Date: 2009–10–01
  9. By: Ali, Amjad
    Abstract: Teacher profile and characteristics are not weightless because student achievements are heavily teacher dependent. In this detailed and in-depth research, the impact of teacher wages on students’ achievement was assessed in different ways by using different measuring sticks; starting salary, salary after 15 year of experience, salary per hour of net teaching time and salary ratio to GDP per capita and by using country scores, of 15 year old pupil enrolled in lower secondary school, in OECD member countries. For this propose PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 survey data of students’ scores were used. The independent variables “wages” was regressed on the dependent variable “students total mean country score”. The results of these analyses gave an indication that there is a positive impact of teacher wages on students’ performance.
    Keywords: characteristics; profile; qualities; impact; teacher; learning; achievements; performance; student; salary; wages; gender; PISA; OECD
    JEL: D24
    Date: 2009–04–01
  10. By: Niemann, Dennis
    Abstract: The German sectors of secondary and higher education witnessed far-reaching changes in the last decade. Comprehensive reforms were introduced that essentially altered the educational structure as well as the procedures in policy making. These reforms were massively influenced by international initiatives namely the OECD's PISA study and the Bologna Process accompanied by the EU Commission. Both IOs succeeded in impacting German education reforms by applying various governance instruments that can be described as soft governance. Albeit multiple veto points were present in Germany and traditional German principles of education were contrary to the promoted ideals, the IOs' initiatives resolved these blocking effects of national transformation capacities and had a substantial impact on German education policy making. ; In der letzten Dekade haben weitreichende Reformen den sekundären und tertiären Bildungssektor in Deutschland nachhaltig verändert. Dies gilt sowohl für die Strukturen des Schul- bzw. Hochschulbereichs als auch für den Aspekt der Politikgestaltung im Bildungsbereich. Der zu beobachtende Reformprozess ist maßgeblich von Initiativen auf internationaler Ebene angestoßen und beeinflusst worden - namentlich durch die PISA-Studie der OECD und den Bologna-Prozess, welcher mehr und mehr mit der EU zu assoziieren ist. In beiden Fällen wurde durch die Anwendung vornehmlich weicher Steuerungsmechanismen maßgeblich Einfluss auf die Reformprozesse genommen. Obwohl in Deutschland zahlreiche institutionelle Vetopunkte im Bereich der Bildungspolitik existieren und die traditionellen Prinzipien des deutschen Bildungsverständnisses den von der internationalen Ebene beförderten Idealen teilweise diametral gegenüberstanden, gelang es beiden Internationalen Organisationen bzw. Initiativen diese blockierenden Effekte zu umgehen bzw. zu neutralisieren.
    Date: 2009
  11. By: Edvard Johansson; Petri Böckerman; Tuija Martelin; Sami Pirkola; Karí Poikolainen
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : The paper examines the causal effect of education on common individual mental disorders in adulthood. We use a representative population health survey and instrumental variable methods. The estimates point to mostly insignificant effects of education on common mental disorders. We find that the length of education reduces the BDI (Beck Depression Inventory) measure at the 10% significance level, but has no effect when using the GHQ-12 (12-item General Health Questionnaire) or the probability of severe depression as a measure of mental health. These results cast doubt on the view that the length of formal education would be a particularly important determinant of common mental disorders later in life.
    JEL: I12 I21
    Date: 2009–10–20
  12. By: Simon Burgess; Ellen Greaves; Anna Vignoles; Deborah Wilson
    Abstract: Parental demand for academic performance is a key element in the view that strengthening school choice will drive up school performance. In this paper we analyse what parents look for in choosing schools. We assemble a unique dataset combining survey information on parents’ choices plus a rich set of socio-economic characteristics; administrative data on school characteristics, admissions criteria and allocation rules; and spatial data attached to a pupil census to define the de facto set of schools available to each family in the survey. To achieve identification, we focus on cities where the school place allocation system is truth-revealing (“equal preferences”). We take great care in trying to capture the set of schools that each family could realistically choose from. We also look at a large subset of parents who continued living in the same house as before the child was born, to avoid endogenous house/school moves. We then model the choices made in terms of the characteristics of schools and families and the distances involved. School characteristics include measures of academic performance, school socio-economic and ethnic composition, and its faith school status. Initial results showed strong differences in the set of choices available to parents in different socio-economic positions. Our central analysis uses multinomial logistic regression to show that families do indeed value academic performance in schools. They also value school composition – preferring schools with low fractions of children from poor families. We compute trade-offs between these characteristics as well as between these and distance travelled. We are able to compare these trade-offs for different families. Our results suggest that preferences do not vary greatly between different socio-economic groups once constraints are fully accounted for.
    Keywords: school preferences, school choice, parental choice
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2009–10

This nep-edu issue is ©2009 by Joao Carlos Correia Leitao. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.