nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2010‒04‒17
twenty-six papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Grading Standards in Education Departments at Universities By Cory Koedel
  2. Public Sector Decentralization and School Performance: International Evidence By Torberg Falch; Justina A.V. Fischer
  3. The impact of the 1999 education reform in Poland By Jakubowski, Maciej; Patrinos, Harry Anthony; Porta, Emilio Ernesto; Wisniewski, Jerzy
  4. The Impact of Distance to Nearest Education Institution on the Post-Compulsory Education Participation Decision By Andy Dickerson; Steven McIntosh
  5. Money, Mentoring and Making Friends: The Impact of a Multidimensional Access Program on Student Performance By Kevin Denny; Orla Doyle; Patricia O'Reilly; Vincent O'Sullivan
  6. Success/Failure in Higher Education:how long does it take to complete some core 1st. year disciplines? By CHAGAS LOPES, MARGARIDA; FERNANDES, GRAÇA
  7. The Design of the University System By Gianni De Fraja
  8. Ability, parental valuation of education and the high school dropout decision By Kelly Foley; Giovanni Gallipoli; David A. Green
  9. Higher Education Effects in Job and Marital Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence* By Alessandro Tampieri
  10. School accountability: (how) can we reward schools and avoid cream-skimming? By Erwin OOGHE; Erik SCHOKKAERT
  11. Choosing a career in Science and Technology By Tacsir, Ezequiel
  12. Which firms want PhDs? The effect of the university-industry relationship on the PhD labour market By José García-Quevedo; Francisco Mas-Verdú; José Polo-Otero
  13. The Effect of Education on Smoking Behaviour By Pierre Koning; Dinand Webbink; Nicholas G. Martin
  14. Some Remarks on the Effectiveness of Primary Education Interventions By Silva, Olmo
  15. Is the Over-Education Wage Penalty Permanent? By Joanne Lindley; Steven McIntosh
  16. Social Background in School Attainment and Job Market By Alessandro Tampieri
  17. The Role of Education in Preparing Graduates for the Labor Market in the GCC Countries By Lynn A. Karoly
  18. Non-response biases in surveys of school children: the case of the English PISA samples By John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf; Chris Skinner
  19. Value-added measures in Italian high schools: problems and findings By Piero Cipollone; Pasqualino Montanaro; Paolo Sestito
  20. The Value of Human Capital during the Second Industrial Revolution—Evidence from the U.S. Navy By Darrell J. Glaser; Ahmed S. Rahman
  21. Where Minds Meet: The “Professionalization” of Cross-Strait Academic Exchange By Günter Schucher
  22. The Labour Market Effects of Vocational Education and Training in Australia By Wang-Sheng Lee; Michael B. Coelli
  23. Differential parent and teacher reports of school readiness in a disadvantaged community By Orla Doyle; Sarah Finnegan; Kelly A. McNamara
  24. The Impact of school meals on school participation: Evidence from rural India By Farzana Afridi
  25. Female participation in African agricultural research and higher education: New insights By Beintema, Nienke M.; Di Marcantonio, Federica
  26. Searching for Jobs: Evidence from MBA Graduates By Kuhnen, Camelia M.

  1. By: Cory Koedel (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia)
    Abstract: This paper documents a startling difference in the grading standards between education departments and other academic departments at universities – undergraduate students in education classes receive significantly higher grades than students in all other classes. This phenomenon cannot be explained by differences in student quality or structural differences across departments (i.e., differences in class sizes). Drawing on evidence from the economics literature, the differences in grading standards between education and non-education departments imply that undergraduate education majors, the majority of whom become teachers, supply substantially less effort in college than non-education majors. If the grading standards in education departments were brought in line with those of other major academic departments, student effort would be expected to increase by at least 10-16 percent.
    Keywords: Grading Standards, Grade Inflation, Grading Standards in Departments of Education, Teacher Training
    JEL: I20 I23
    Date: 2010–02–01
  2. By: Torberg Falch (Institutt for Samfunnsøkonomi (Department of Economics), Norges Teknisk- Naturvitenskaplige Universitet (NTNU) (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)); Justina A.V. Fischer (University of Hamburg, Institute for Public Finance)
    Abstract: Using a panel of international student test scores 1980 – 2000 (PISA and TIMSS), panel fixed effects estimates suggest that government spending decentralization is conducive to student performance. The effect does not appear to be mediated through levels of educational spending.
    Keywords: Fiscal Decentralization; Student Achievement; Federalism; PISA; TIMSS; Education; School Quality
    JEL: C33 H2 I2 H40
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Jakubowski, Maciej; Patrinos, Harry Anthony; Porta, Emilio Ernesto; Wisniewski, Jerzy
    Abstract: Increasing the share of vocational secondary schooling has been a mainstay of development policy for decades, perhaps nowhere more so than in formerly socialist countries. The transition, however, led to significant restructuring of school systems, including a declining share of vocational students. Exposing more students to a general curriculum could improve academic abilities. This paper analyzes Poland’s significant improvement in international achievement tests and the restructuring of the education system that expanded general schooling to test the hypothesis that delayed vocational streaming improves outcomes. Using propensity score matching and differences-in-differences estimates, the authors show that delayed vocationalization had a positive and significant impact on student performance on the order of one standard deviation.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Secondary Education,Education For All,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning
    Date: 2010–04–01
  4. By: Andy Dickerson (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield); Steven McIntosh (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: This paper uses data sources with the unique capacity to measure distances between home addresses and education institutions, to investigate, for the first time, the effect that such distance has on an individual's post-compulsory education participation decision. The results show that there is no overall net effect. However, when attention is focussed on young people who are on the margin of participating in post-compulsory education (according to their prior attainment and family background) and when post-compulsory education is distinguished by whether it leads to academic or vocational qualifications, then greater distance to nearest education institution is seen to have a significant impact on the decision to continue in full-time post-compulsory education. This finding has relevance for education participation in rural areas relative to urban areas.
    Keywords: post-compulsory education participation, travel distance
    JEL: J24 I20
    Date: 2010–03
  5. By: Kevin Denny (UCD School of Economics & UCD Geary Institute); Orla Doyle (UCD Geary Institute); Patricia O'Reilly (UCD Geary Institute); Vincent O'Sullivan (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: There is a well established socioeconomic gradient in educational attainment, despite much effort in recent decades to address this inequality. This study evaluates a university access program that provides financial, academic and social support to low socioeconomic status (SES) students using a natural experiment which exploits the time variation in the expansion of the program across schools. The program has parallels with US affirmative actions programs, although preferential treatment is based on SES rather than ethnicity. Evaluating the effectiveness of programs targeting disadvantaged students in Ireland is particularly salient given the high rate of return to education and the lack of intergenerational mobility in educational attainment. Overall, we identify positive treatment effects on first year exam performance, progression to second year and final year graduation rates, with the impact often stronger for higher ability students. We find similar patterns of results for students that entered through the regular system and the ‘affirmative action’ group i.e. the students that entered with lower high school grades. The program affects the performance of both male and female students, albeit in different ways. This study suggests that access programs can be an effective means of improving academic outcomes for socio-economically disadvantaged students.
    Keywords: Education inequality, Access programs, Natural experiment, Economics of education
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2010–04–09
    Abstract: ABSTRACT Despite the enormous increasing in Higher Education (HE) enrolment during the last decades in Portugal, retention rates remain very high when compared to most European Union countries'.This outcome is particularly meaningful for a set of 1st year's critical matters which failure severely conditions subsequent success as they are part of the scientific domain's basic knowledge.In this paper we investigate this feature for ISEG (School of Economics and Management of the Technical University of Lisbon) and consider its Pedagogic Observatory database which includes more than 1,500 individual data relative to the four graduation programmes. As relative failure expresses frequently under the form of longer time spells needed to complete thgose disciplines in this paper we adjusted a duration model (with control group)in order to assess the main determinants of the "survival" probabilities. After having controlled for ability, the results we obtained from Cox Regression show that the economic and social status of the family of origin, especially mother's and father's school level and occupation go on influencing students' results although not so meaningfully as in previous educational phases. Also the specific graduation track - Economics, Management, Mathematics applied to Economics & Management and Finances - appear to be deeply associated with success or retention. Nevertheless, the main determinant of relative success/failure is the student's situation towards the labour market, a meaningful proportion of them having to perform a paid occupation to afford to pay for education costs. Therefore our policy reccommendations are twofold: i) to shed light on the need for a more robust Government's Social Policy towards HE students especially now that the Bologna Reform imposes an heavier budgetary burden upon students; ii)to emphasize the finantial, organizational and syllabuses' reforms that HE institutions need to develope in order to capture and keep the "new publics" namely adult students for whom combining study and paid work represents the only available funding source.
    Keywords: Higher Education; Critical Matters; Time to successfully complete; Duration Models; Finantial Constraints; Portugal.
    JEL: A22 A23 C14 A2
    Date: 2010–03–31
  7. By: Gianni De Fraja
    Abstract: This paper compares the organisation of the university sector under private provision with the structure which would be chosen by a welfare maximising government. It studies a general equilibrium model where universities carry out research and teach students. To attend university and earn higher incomes in the labour market, students pay a tuition fee. Each university chooses its tuition fee to maximise the amount of resources it can devote to research. Research bestows an externality on society because it increases labour market earnings. Government intervention needs to balance labour market efficiency considerations — which would tend to equalise the number of students attending each university — with considerations of efficiency on the production side, which suggest that the most productive universities should teach more students and carry out more research. We find that government concentrates research more that the private market would, but less than it would like to do if it had perfect information about the productivity of universities. It also allows fewer universities than would operate in a private system.
    Keywords: Higher education; The organisation of the university sector.
    JEL: I21 I28 H42
    Date: 2009–09
  8. By: Kelly Foley; Giovanni Gallipoli (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of British Columbia); David A. Green
    Abstract: <p><p><p>We use a large, rich Canadian micro-level dataset to examine the channels through which family socio-economic status and unobservable characteristics affect children's decisions to drop out of high school. First, we document the strength of observable socio-economic factors: our data suggest that teenage boys with two parents who are themselves high school dropouts have a 16% chance of dropping out, compared to a dropout rate of less than 1% for boys whose parents both have a university degree. We examine the channels through which this socio-economic gradient arises using an extended version of the factor model set out in Carneiro, Hansen, and Heckman (2003). Specifically, we consider the impact of cognitive and non-cognitive ability and the value that parents place on education. Our results support three main conclusions. First, cognitive ability at age 15 has a substantial impact on dropping out. The highest ability individuals are predicted never to drop out regardless of parental education or parental valuation of education. In contrast, the lowest ability teenagers have a probability of dropping out of approximately .36 if their parents have a low valuation of education. Second, parental valuation of education has a substantial impact on medium and low ability teenagers. A low ability teenager has a probability of dropping out of approximately .03 if his parents place a high value on education but .36 if their educational valuation is low. These effects are estimated while conditioning on ability at age 15. Thus, under some assumptions, they reflect parental influences during the upper teenage years and are in addition to any impact they might have in the early childhood years leading up to age 15. Third, parental education has no direct effect on dropping out once we control for ability and parental valuation of education. Overall, our results point to the importance of whatever determines ability at age 15 (including, potentially, early childhood interventions) and of parental valuation of education during the teenage years. Our work also provides a small methodological contribution by extending the standard factor based estimator to allow a more non-linear relationship between the factors and a co-variate of interest. We show that allowing for non-linearities has a substantial impact on estimated effects.</p></p></p>
    Date: 2009–11
  9. By: Alessandro Tampieri
    Abstract: This paper examines how educational decisions a¤ect job and marital satisfaction. We build up a model with educational assortative matching where individuals decide whether to attend university both for obtaining job satisfaction and for increasing the probability to be matched with an educated partner. The educational choices between future partners are simultaneously determined as a Nash equilibrium. The theoretical results suggest that, as assortative matching increases, the proportion of educated individuals increases. For educated individuals, job satisfaction falls and marital satisfaction increases. We test our model using the British Household Panel Survey. We carry out longitudinal analysis for years 2003-2006. Our empirical .ndings support the theoretical results.
    Keywords: Education; Marriage; Job Satisfaction; Educational Assortative Matching
    JEL: C78 I21 J12
    Date: 2010–02
  10. By: Erwin OOGHE; Erik SCHOKKAERT
    Abstract: Introducing school accountability may create incentives for efficiency. However, if the performance measure used does not correct for pupil characteristics, it will lead to an inequitable treatment of schools and create perverse incentives for cream-skimming. We apply the theory of fair allocation to show how to integrate empirical information about the educational production function in a coherent theoretical framework. The requirements of rewarding performance and correcting for pupil characteristics are incompatible if we want the funding scheme to be applicable for all educational production functions. However, we characterize an attractive subsidy scheme under specific restrictions on the educational production function. This subsidy scheme uses only information which can be controlled easily by the regulator. We show with Flemish data how the proposed funding scheme can be implemented. Correcting for pupil characteristics has a strong impact on the subsidies (and on the underlying performance ranking) of schools.
    Date: 2009–11
  11. By: Tacsir, Ezequiel (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Student choice is at the center of many discussions about higher education policy. At the same time, and regardless of the emphasis put on achieving an important endowment of graduates trained in science and engineering, participation in these fields is stagnated or declining. Evidence suggests that the provision of additional scholarships for science and engineering students or abolishing the tuition fees will have practically no impact. The major problem seems to be that science and engineering programs suffer from a poor image, including as being difficult, leading to lower earning potentials than other specializations. The present study contributes to our understanding of the student choice process by highlighting by means of binomial probit with selection model (Van den Ven and Van Praag, 1981) the factors and dimensions that influence the choicew of field of study. Specifically, we will show the role that non-pecuniary rewards play in the selection process. Using results from a self-designed survey to young individuals finishing high school in Argentina, we show that when factors as the social respect and expected labour demand are considered, the income expectations become irrelevant for the decision about what type of career to follow at the university. Specifically, those inclined towards science, technology and engineering fields are motivated by the belief of obtaining important rewards in the form of social rewards (i.e., reputation) and the expectation of graduating from a highly demanded university career.
    Keywords: Occupational Choice, Professions, Public Policy
    JEL: J44 J48 J24 I21
    Date: 2010
  12. By: José García-Quevedo (Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB) and Dpt. of Political Economy and Public Finance, University of Barcelona); Francisco Mas-Verdú (Dpt. of Economics and Social Sciences, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB)); José Polo-Otero (CYD Foundation and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB))
    Abstract: PhD graduates hold the highest education degree, are trained to conduct research and can be considered a key element in the creation, commercialization and diffusion of innovations. The impact of PhDs on innovation and economic development takes place through several channels such as the accumulation of scientific capital stock, the enhancement of technology transfers and the promotion of cooperation relationships in innovation processes. Although the placement of PhDs in industry provides a very important mechanism for transmitting knowledge from universities to firms, information about the characteristics of the firms that employ PhDs is very scarce. The goal of this paper is to improve understanding of the determinants of the demand for PhDs in the private sector. Three main potential determinants of the demand for PhDs are considered: cooperation between firms and universities, R&D activities of firms and several characteristics of firms, size, sector, productivity and age. The results from the econometric analysis show that cooperation between firms and universities encourages firms to recruit PhDs and point to the existence of accumulative effects in the hiring of PhD graduates.
    Date: 2010–03
  13. By: Pierre Koning; Dinand Webbink; Nicholas G. Martin
    Abstract: This paper analyses the causal effect of education on starting and quitting smoking, using longitudinal data of Australian twins. The endogeneity of education, censoring of smoking durations and the timing of starting smoking versus the timing of completion of education are taken into account by using the flexible Mixed Proportional Hazard (MPH) specification. Unobserved effects in the specification are assumed to be twin specific and possibly correlated with completed education years. In addition, we use various unique control indicators reflecting the discounting behaviour of individuals that may affect both the smoking decision and the number of education years. In contrast to previous studies in our model specification, differences in the number of education years cannot explain differences in smoking behaviour at young ages. We find one additional year of education to reduce the duration of smoking with 9 months, but no significant effect of education on starting smoking. The effect of education on quitting smoking largely confines to male twins. This suggests that education policies that succeed in raising the level of education may improve public health through an increase of smoking cessation, but are not effective in preventing smoking at young ages.
    Keywords: Smoking; duration models; education
    JEL: C41 I21
    Date: 2010–02
  14. By: Silva, Olmo (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: In this paper I survey the recent economics of education literature in order to identify which education policies can effectively improve the quality of primary schooling, as measured by pupil test-based achievements. Particular attention is devoted to the experience of England, a country which has made substantial investments over the past decade aimed at improving its primary education. Evidence suggests that broadly scoped resource-based programmes deliver less than more targeted policies. Additionally, a growing body of research shows that interventions that enhance choice and competition among education-service providers, and motivate teachers through pecuniary rewards, have some scope in raising education standards. I conclude my survey by discussing some broad concerns with modes of education provision centred on choice and competition, mainly pupil segregation along the lines of ability and family background.
    Keywords: primary schools, resources, choice and competition, incentives
    JEL: I20 I28 H52 J24
    Date: 2009–04
  15. By: Joanne Lindley (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield); Steven McIntosh (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: Much has been written about the impact of over-education on wages using cross-sectional data, although there have been few studies that analyse the returns to over-education in a dynamic setting. This paper adds to the existing literature by using panel data to investigate the impact and permanence of over-education wage penalties, whilst controlling for unobserved individual heterogeneity. Our fixed effects estimates suggest that the over-education wage penalty cannot solely be explained by unobserved heterogeneity. Over-education is permanent for many workers since around 50 percent of workers over-educated in 1991 are still over-educated in 2005. However, we also show that these workers are of lower quality compared to around 25 percent who find a match within five years of being over-educated. Finally, there is a significant scarring effect for workers over-educated in 1991 since they never fully reach parity compared to those who were matched in 1991, although this is not the case for graduates who manage to find a match within 5 years.
    Keywords: Over-education, Skills
    JEL: J24 J31 I2
    Date: 2010–01
  16. By: Alessandro Tampieri
    Abstract: This paper studies how social background a¤ects schooling attainment and job opportunities from a theoretical perspective. We analyse the interaction between a school and an employer when students attend school and then go to the job market. Students di¤er in ability and belong to different social groups. Our results suggest that the employer makes use of social background in the recruitment decisions: this favours advantaged students, as they are more likely to have high ability. In turn, the school optimally provides disadvantaged students with less teaching than advantaged students, given the same level of ability.
    Keywords: Social Background; Ability
    JEL: C73 I21 J24
    Date: 2009–11
  17. By: Lynn A. Karoly
    Abstract: In the 21st century knowledge economy, education plays an increasingly important role in preparing new labor market entrants for the workforce and providing skill upgrading throughout the working career. The vital role of education is propelled by the rapid pace of technological change, as well as the interdependent, global economy, forces that together demand a workforce with the capacity for leadership, problem solving, and collaboration and communication in a wide range of economic sectors. Within this context, the education and workforce development systems are critical for supporting human capital development throughout the life course. This paper reviews these broader trends regarding the role of education in the labor market and then considers the implications for education in the countries of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Where data are available, the paper examines patterns of educational attainment overall in these countries, evidence of the quality of the education systems and the graduates they produce, and the labor market benefits of higher educational attainment. It also assesses gender differences, where possible, in each of these indicators of interest. The paper concludes by enumerating several key challenges facing the Gulf countries in promoting strong education systems and well functioning labor markets to meet the labor force needs in the private and public sectors in the 21st century global economy.
    Date: 2010–02
  18. By: John Micklewright (Depatment of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.); Sylke V. Schnepf (School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.); Chris Skinner (School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.)
    Abstract: We analyse response patterns to an important survey of school children, exploiting rich auxiliary information on respondents’ and non-respondents’ cognitive ability that is correlated both with response and the learning achievement that the survey aims to measure. The survey is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which sets response thresholds in an attempt to control data quality. We analyse the case of England for 2000 when response rates were deemed high enough by the PISA organisers to publish the results, and 2003, when response rates were a little lower and deemed of sufficient concern for the results not to be published. We construct weights that account for the pattern of non-response using two methods, propensity scores and the GREG estimator. There is clear evidence of biases, but there is no indication that the slightly higher response rates in 2000 were associated with higher quality data. This underlines the danger of using response rate thresholds as a guide to data quality.
    Keywords: Non-response, bias, school survey, data linkage, PISA
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2010–03–24
  19. By: Piero Cipollone (Bank of Italy and INVALSI); Pasqualino Montanaro (Bank of Italy); Paolo Sestito (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Students’ competencies are influenced by a host of factors, including the individual school’s effectiveness. Measuring this contribution is extremely difficult. One way of circumventing the problem is by focusing on changes in competencies over time, i.e. value-added measures. Using the results of an INVALSI survey of high schools, this paper implements these measures for Italy, in an attempt to identify a general pattern of value-added among schools. Purging the sample of measurement errors – which require the exclusion of schools with too few students tested – and taking into account the selection bias implied by the non-compulsory nature of schools’ participation in the survey, we find that the positive gap in favour of general programs (licei) when looking at the level of competencies tends to vanish (in maths and science) when focusing on value-added measures. By contrast, in the maths and science field schools located in the Southern regions are characterized not only by a lower starting level of competencies but also by a lower value-added. For maths at least, there is also a general tendency for teachers’ turnover to have a negative effect on student improvements.
    Keywords: education, value-added
    JEL: I20 I21
    Date: 2010–03
  20. By: Darrell J. Glaser (United States Naval Academy); Ahmed S. Rahman (United States Naval Academy)
    Abstract: This paper explores the role of human capital on earnings and other measures of job performance during the late 19th century. During this time, U.S. Naval ocers belonged either to a regular or an engineer corps and had tasks assigned to their specialized training and experience. To test for the eects of specialized skills on performance, we compile educational data from original-source Naval Academy records for the graduating classes of 1858 to 1905. We merge these with career data extracted from official Navy registers for the years 1859 to 1907. This compilation comprises one of the longest and earliest longitudinal records of labor market earnings, education and experience of which we are aware. Our results suggest that greater technical skill translated into higher earnings early in careers, but wage premia diminished as careers progressed. From this evidence we argue that technical progress was more skill-depreciating than skill-biased during this period.
    Date: 2010–01
  21. By: Günter Schucher (GIGA Institute of African Studies)
    Abstract: In international relations, transnational academic exchange or, more generally, cultural ex-change is usually seen as a function of the quality of bilateral relations. As a variety of public diplomacy intended to win the “hearts and minds” of intellectuals in another country, the development of educational exchanges depends on the twists in foreign policy. Academic exchange across the Taiwan Strait commenced in the late 1980s, directly after the lifting of the travel ban, and had gathered momentum by the mid-1990s. It even accelerated further after the inauguration of the pro-independence Chen-government in Taiwan in 2000, creat-ing the “paradox” of the expansion of social contacts in times of frosty political relations. One possible explanation for this is that due to the rather unique situation in the Taiwan Strait people-to-people exchanges between Taiwan and mainland China have been officially promoted as a substitute for official contacts. What is often neglected by analysts of cross-Strait relations, however, is the fact that academic exchange is also a response to the global pressure to internationalize higher education. Within this two-dimensional framework (in-ternational relations and the internationalization of higher education), cross-Strait academic exchange has been developing its own dynamic. The outcome has been an increasing amount of nonofficial communication and the growing “professionalization” (in the sense of the academic profession) of academic exchange.
    Keywords: Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, academic exchange, international relations, public diplomacy, internationalization of higher education, cross-Strait relations
    Date: 2009–08
  22. By: Wang-Sheng Lee (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Michael B. Coelli (Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: We provide estimates of the effects of completing a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification on several labour market outcomes: earnings from employment, plus the probabilities of being employed, being employed full-time if employed, and being employed in a permanent position. Estimates are provided for 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005. The estimation methodology is based on matched comparisons of persons at each level of VET qualifications separately with Year 12 completers and non-completers. We find that compared to Year 12 completers, there is little benefit from obtaining certificate level qualifications, but there are positive employment and earnings outcomes associated with obtaining diploma level qualifications. Compared to non-completers of Year 12, however, there are benefits from obtaining any kind of VET qualification, including the lower level Certificate I/II qualifications.
    Date: 2010–01
  23. By: Orla Doyle (Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Sarah Finnegan (Geary Institute, University College Dublin); Kelly A. McNamara (Geary Institute, University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Differential ratings by multiple informants are an important issue in survey design. Although much research has focused on differential reports of child behaviour, discrepancies between parent and teacher reports of children’s school readiness are less explored.
    Date: 2010–01–25
  24. By: Farzana Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi; Institute of Economic Growth)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the effect of transition from monthly distribution of free food grains to the daily provision of free cooked meals to school children on enrollments and attendance in a rural area of India. School panel data allow a difference-in-differences estimation strategy to address possible endogeneity of program placement. The results suggest that program transition had a significant impact on improving the daily participation rates of children in lower grades. The average monthly attendance rate of girls in grade 1 was more than 12 percentage points higher while there was a positive but insignificant effect on grade 1 boys' attendance rate. The impact on enrollment levels was insignificant.
    Keywords: school meals, attendance, enrollment
    JEL: I21 I28 I38
    Date: 2010–02
  25. By: Beintema, Nienke M.; Di Marcantonio, Federica
    Abstract: Female farmers play a vital role in African agriculture, accounting for the majority of the agricultural workforce. However, agricultural research and higher education are disproportionately led by men. There is an urgent need for greater representation of women in the field of agricultural science and technology (S&T) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Female scientists, professors, and senior managers offer different insights and perspectives to help research institutes to more fully address the unique and pressing challenges of both female and male farmers in the region. Gender-disaggregated data on S&T capacity are scarce, often lack sufficient detail, and focus more generally on S&T rather than on agriculture specifically. Data are not always comparable due to different methodologies and coverage. The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative and the CGIAR Gender & Diversity (G&D) Program partnered together to address this information gap. This report presents the results of an in-depth benchmarking survey on gender-disaggregated capacity indicators, covering 125 agricultural research and higher education agencies in 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the first study of its kind to present detailed human resources data on female participation in agricultural science, the main findings of which include the following: • Total capacity in terms of the professional staff employed at the agricultural research and higher education agencies included in this study increased by 20 percent between 2000/01 and 2007/08, and women constituted almost half of this capacity increase. The female population of professional staff grew by eight percent per year on average, which is four times higher than the comparable rate of increase for the male population, indicating that the gender gap in African agricultural sciences is closing. • The proportion of female professional staff employed at the sample agricultural research and higher education agencies increased from 18 percent in 2000/01 to 24 percent in 2007/08, but fewer women have advanced degrees compared to their male colleagues. In 2007/08, for example, 27 percent of the sample’s professional women held PhD degrees compared with 37 percent of the sample’s professional men. • Of concern, about two-thirds of the overall (female and male) capacity increase comprised staff holding only BSc degrees, indicating that the overall quality of capacity in agricultural research and higher education is declining in some Sub-Saharan African countries. Notably, the total number of male professional staff trained to the MSc level declined between 2000/01 and 2007/08; however, more in-depth analysis is needed to explain the underlying causes of these shifts and to what degree they represent structural changes. • Levels of female participation in agricultural research and higher education among the sample agencies were particularly low in Ethiopia (6 percent), Togo (9 percent), Niger (10 percent), and Burkina Faso (12 percent). Shares of female professional staff were much higher in South Africa, Mozambique, and Botswana (32, 35, and 41 percent, respectively). • The female share of students enrolled in higher agricultural education was higher than the female shares of professional staff employed at the agricultural research and higher education agencies in most cases, but a significant proportion of the female students concerned were undertaking only BSc-level studies (83 percent). • Only 14 percent of the management positions were held by women, which is considerably lower than the share of female professional staff employed at the sample’s agricultural research and higher education agencies (24 percent). • The pool of female staff is much younger on average than the pool of male staff. • The prevalence of female professional staff is comparatively higher in fields related to life and social sciences, and comparatively lower in fields involving areas traditionally thought of as “hard science”, such as engineering.
    Keywords: agricultural R&D, Sub-Saharan Africa, female participation, S&T capacity, agricultural higher education,
    Date: 2010
  26. By: Kuhnen, Camelia M.
    Abstract: This paper proposes and tests empirically a model of optimal job search using novel data on job seeking strategies of participants in the labor market for MBA graduates. Theoretically and empirically I find that the breadth of search that workers conduct depends on their ability, outside option, and fit with available jobs, as well as on the exogenous job application cost and the ex-ante probability of applications resulting in offers. These results illustrate the formation of the supply of human capital available to hiring companies, which drives the efficiency of matching between workers and firms and ultimately determines productivity.
    Keywords: job search; matching; human capital; MBA education; career choice
    JEL: J44 J64 M51 J24 M12 G30
    Date: 2010–01–31

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