nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2010‒05‒15
sixteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Schooling effects and earnings of French University graduates: school quality matters, but choice of discipline matters more By Jean-François Giret; Mathieu Goudard
  2. Are We Spending Too Many Years in School? Causal Evidence of the Impact of Shortening Secondary School Duration By Bettina Büttner; Stephan Thomsen
  3. Has the effect of parents’ education on child’s education changed over time? By Jenny Chesters
  4. Does university choice drive graduates’ employability? By Ciriaci, Daria; Muscio, Alessandro
  5. Competition and Educational Quality: Evidence from The Netherlands By Elbert Dijkgraaf; Raymond H.J.M. Gradus; Matthijs de Jong
  6. Causal Effects of Parents’ Education on Children’s Education By John Ermisch; Chiara Pronzato
  7. 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
  8. The role of entrepreneurship education and regional context in forming entrepreneurial intentions By Dirk Dohse; Sascha G. Walter
  9. Years of Schooling, Human Capital and the Body Mass Index of European Females By Giorgio Brunello; Daniele Fabbri; Margherita Fort
  10. Rates of Return to University Education: the Regression Discontinuity Design By Elliott Fan; Xin Meng; Zhichao Wei; Guochang Zhao
  11. Returns for Entrepreneurs versus Employees: The Effect of Education and Personal Control on the Relative Performance of Entrepreneurs vis-à-vis Wage Employees By Mirjam van Praag; Arjen van Witteloostuijn; Justin van der Sluis
  12. Education and Labor Market Activity of Women: An Age-Group Specific Empirical Analysis By Claudia Münch; Sweder van Wijnbergen
  13. Public Education for the Children Left Behind By Carmen CAMACHO; I-Ling SHEN
  14. Determinants of Lifetime Unemployment - A Micro Data Analysis with Censored Quantile Regressions By Achim Schmillen; Joachim Möller
  15. Political economics of higher education finance By Jordi Jofre-Monseny; Martin Wimbersky
  16. Peers, neighborhoods and immigrant student achievement - evidence from a placement policy By Olof Åslund; Per-Anders Edin; Peter Fredriksson; Hans Grönqvist

  1. By: Jean-François Giret (IREDU - Institut de recherche sur l'éducation : Sociologie et Economie de l'Education - CNRS : UMR5225 - Université de Bourgogne, CEREQ - Centre d'études et de recherches sur les qualifications - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - ministère de l'Emploi, cohésion sociale et logement); Mathieu Goudard (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: Our aim in this article is to study the relation between earnings of French universities graduates and some characteristics of their universities. We exploit data from the Céreq's "Génération 98" survey, enriched with information on university characteristics primarily from the ANETES (yearbook of French institutions of higher education). We employ multilevel modeling, enabling us to take advantage of the natural hierarchy in our separate datasets, and thus to identify, and even to measure potential effects of institutional quality. Since we take into account many individual students characteristics, we are able to obtain an income hierarchy among the different disciplines : students who graduated in science, economics or management obtain the highest earnings. Below them, we and students who graduated in law, political science, communication or language and literature, while the ones who graduated in social studies earn the lowest incomes. On the institutional level, we need two significant quality effects : the rest is from the socioeconomic composition of the university's student population, and the second effect is from the university's network in the job market. These last two results remain stable when we examine subsamples of universities according to their dominant teaching fields, except for universities that are particularly concentrated in science.
    Keywords: Demand for schooling, educational economics, human capital, salaries wage differentials, school choice
    Date: 2010–05–03
  2. By: Bettina Büttner (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Stephan Thomsen (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of shortening the duration of secondary schooling on the accumulation of human capital. In 2003, an educational policy reform was enacted in Saxony-Anhalt, a German state, providing a natural experimental setting. The thirteenth year of schooling was eliminated for those students currently attending the ninth grade. Tenth grade students were unaffected. The academic curriculum remained almost unaltered. Primary data collected from the double cohort of 2007 Abitur graduates reveals signficantly negative effects for both genders in mathematics. Only females were negatively effected in English and the results obtained in German literature were statistically insignificant.
    Keywords: student performance, school duration, learning intensity, natural experiment
    JEL: I21 J18 C21
    Date: 2010–02
  3. By: Jenny Chesters
    Abstract: This paper examines whether the expansion of higher education has reduced inequality by providing more opportunities for students from less privileged backgrounds to attend university or further entrenched existing inequalities. Drawing on Maximally Maintained Inequality theory and Relative Risk Aversion theory, I use logistic regressions to analyse data collected by three nationally representative, crosssectional surveys conducted between 1987 and 2005 (N= 4463) to examine the association between parents’ education and child’s education. Having a universityeducated parent is used as a proxy for membership of the privileged class based on the assumption that children of university-educated parents are more likely to take advantage of opportunities to acquire higher education. University-educated parents are also better placed to provide extra tuition and to assist their children negotiate the education system. I find that although the expansion of higher education has had some impact, having a university-educated parent continues to exert a direct effect on an individual’s propensity to graduate from university.
    Keywords: Higher Education, Inequality, Mobility
    JEL: I23 N30 Z13
    Date: 2010–03
  4. By: Ciriaci, Daria; Muscio, Alessandro
    Abstract: Universities have come under increasing pressure to become key drivers of economic development in the age of the knowledge economy. Yet we know very little about the impact of university quality and scientific excellence on the probability of graduates finding jobs. This paper investigates the determinants of Italian graduates’ employability 1-year and 3-years after graduation, with special reference to university quality measured in terms of research performance. Our results confirm that the ‘better’ the university, the higher the likelihood that graduates will be employed. We also observe strong effects associated with field of study, and wide regional differences.
    Keywords: University quality; returns to education; labour market outcomes; employment
    JEL: I23 J24
    Date: 2010–05–05
  5. By: Elbert Dijkgraaf (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Raymond H.J.M. Gradus (VU University Amsterdam, and Erasmus University Rotterdam); Matthijs de Jong (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Ample evidence is available for the effect of competition on educational quality as only a few countries allow large scale competition. In the Netherlands free parental choice is present since the beginning of the 20th century, which can be characterized as a full voucher program with 100% funding. Based on panel data for the Netherlands we show that there is a relation between competition and educational outcomes in secondary education, but that it is negative and small. This effect is larger for small and medium sized schools and for schools which do not have a Protestant or Catholic denomination.
    Keywords: Competition; Private Schools; Scale; Quality; Secondary Education
    JEL: H70 I20
    Date: 2009–11–13
  6. By: John Ermisch; Chiara Pronzato
    Abstract: The paper shows that parents’ education is an important, but hardly exclusive part of the common family background that generates positive correlation between the educational attainments of siblings from the same family. But the correlation between the educational attainments of parents and those of their children overstates considerably the causal effect of parents’ education on the education of their children. Our estimates based on Norwegian twin-mothers indicate that an additional year of either mother’s or father’s education increases their children’s education by as little as one-tenth of a year. There is some evidence that the mother’s effect is larger among poorer educated parents, while the father’s effect is larger among better educated parents. We also find that the effect of mother’s education is larger for daughters than sons. There is evidence that father’s education has a larger effect than that of mothers in both the USA and Norway, but the difference in the estimated parental effects is much larger in the USA and is statistically significantly there. One explanation for a smaller maternal effect is that better educated mothers work more in paid employment and spend less time interacting with their children. We test this hypothesis using a ‘matching estimator’ for Norway and find no evidence to support it; indeed children of otherwise identical mothers (on a number of criteria, including both parents education) who worked more in paid employment completed more years of education.
    Keywords: Parents Education, Children Education
    JEL: D0
    Date: 2010–02
  7. By: Kevin Denny (University College Dublin); Orla Doyle (University College Dublin); Patricia O'Reilly (University College Dublin); Vincent O'Sullivan (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
    Date: 2010–04–15
  8. By: Dirk Dohse (Kiel Institute for the World Economy); Sascha G. Walter (Kiel University)
    Abstract: This study examines how the extent of entrepreneurship education within university departments influences students’ entrepreneurial intentions in three careers: computer science, electrical engineering, and business. Specifically, it proposes that the effect of such education is (1) contingent on its mode (active, e.g. business plan seminars, vs. reflective, e.g. theory lectures), (2) contingent on the regional context and (3) complemented by individual-level influences such as role models or work experience. Results show that active modes of entrepreneurship education directly increase intentions and attitudes, whereas the impact of reflective modes depends on the regional context. Parental role models and work experience are found to complement entrepreneurship education in different ways. The findings have important implications for theory building as well as for the practice of teaching entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial intentions, regional economy, knowledge spillover
    JEL: L26 M13 M59 R12
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Giorgio Brunello; Daniele Fabbri; Margherita Fort
    Abstract: We find that the protective effect of years of schooling on the BMI of European females is non negligible, but smaller than the one recently found for the US. By using individual standardized cognitive tests instead of years of schooling as the measure of education we show that the current focus in the literature on years of schooling is not misplaced. We also investigate whether the response to changes in compulsory education is heterogeneous, and find that the protective effect of schooling is stronger among overweight than among obese females.
    Keywords: obesity, human capital, Europe
    JEL: I12 I21
    Date: 2010–01
  10. By: Elliott Fan; Xin Meng; Zhichao Wei; Guochang Zhao
    Abstract: Estimating the rate of return to a university degree has always been difficult due to the problem of omitted variable biases. Benefiting from a special feature of the University Admission system in China, which has clear cutoffs for university entry, combined with a unique data set with information on individual National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) scores, we estimate the Local Average Treatment Effects (LATE) of university education based on a Regression Discontinuity design. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to use RD design to estimate the causal effect of a university education on earnings. Our results show that the rates of return to 4-year university education relative to 3-year college education are 40 and 60 per cent for the compliers in the male and female samples, respectively, which are much larger than the simple OLS estimations revealed in previous literature. Since in our sample a large proportion of individuals are compliers (45 per cent for males and 48 per cent for females), the LATEs estimated in this paper have a relatively general implication. In addition, we find that the LATEs are likely to be larger than ATEs, suggesting that the inference drawn from average treatment effects might understate the true effects of the university expansion program introduced in China in 1999 and thereafter.
    Keywords: Rate of return to education, Regression Discontinuity Design, China
    JEL: I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2010–03
  11. By: Mirjam van Praag (University of Amsterdam); Arjen van Witteloostuijn (University of Antwerp, and Utrecht University); Justin van der Sluis (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: How valuable is education for entrepreneurs’ performance as compared to employees’? What might explain any differences? And does education affect peoples’ occupational choices accordingly? We answer these questions based on a large panel of US labor force participants. We show that education affects peoples’ decisions to become an entrepreneur negatively. We show furthermore that entrepreneurs have higher returns to education than employees (in terms of the comparable performance measure ‘income’). This is the case even when estimating individual fixed effects of the differential returns to education for spells in entrepreneurship versus wage employment, thereby accounting for selectivity into entrepreneurial positions based on fixed individual characteristics. We find these results irrespective of whether we control for general ability and/or whether we use instrumental variables to cope with the endogenous nature of education in income equations. Finally, we find (indirect) support for the argument that the higher returns to education for entrepreneurs is due to fewer (organizational) constraints faced by entrepreneurs when optimizing the profitable employment of their education. Entrepreneurs have more personal control over the profitable employment of their human capital than wage employees.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; self-employment; returns to education; performance; personal control; locus of control; human capital; wages; incomes
    JEL: J23 J24 J31 J44 M13
    Date: 2009–12–08
  12. By: Claudia Münch (University of Amsterdam); Sweder van Wijnbergen (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We analyze the determinants of female labor market participation for different age-groups in the European Union. We show that female participation is positively affected by tertiary education at any age. But upper secondary education increases participation only up to an age of 40 while after that it has no effect or even a negative impact The results are tested for robustness and controlled for endogeneity. The results show that increasing educational attainment levels in the female population will contribute significantly to higher aggregate participation rates. However,in simulations up to 2050 such benefits are partially offset by a negative aging effect.
    Keywords: female labour market participation; fertility; educational achievements; aging
    JEL: J22 J1
    Date: 2009–11–12
  13. By: Carmen CAMACHO (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); I-Ling SHEN (UniversitŽ de Genve, Department of Econometrics, Institute for the Sudy of Labor (IZA) and Institut de Recherches Žconomiques et sociales de lÕUCL)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of public education in the context of parental migration, and it studies the effects of an expansive income tax policy that is adopted to increase public education expenditure per pupil. It is shown that such a policy may exacerbate income inequality in the long run if for the less skilled dynasties, the benefits of more public spending on education does not make up for the negative effects of increased parental absences. However, if the migration-induced tax base erosion is not severe, an expansive income tax policy indeed enhances future human capital for all dynasties, and moreover, it may help the less skilled households escape from the poverty trap, thus reducing long-run inequality.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Income Inequality; Parental Migration; Public Education Expenditure; Tax Base Erosion
    JEL: H20 H52 O15 O40
    Date: 2010–03–16
  14. By: Achim Schmillen (Osteuropa-Institut, Regensburg (Institut for East European Studies)); Joachim Möller (Institute for Employment Research (IAB))
    Abstract: Building on a large administrative micro data set for the time span 1975 - 2004 we look at lifetime unemployment for West German birth cohorts 1950 to 1954. Descriptive evidence shows a highly uneven distribution of unemployment in West Germany - more than 60% of the individuals in our sample were not unemployed for a single day over the better part of their professional career while almost half of the total amount of unemployment fell upon 5% of the individuals covered. We employ censored quantile regressions to explain the amount of individual lifetime unemployment. Explanatory variables are either characteristics of the individual (like education), or of the job (like the wage) or the employer (like the size of the firm) early in the professional career. A particular emphasis is placed on the importance of the occupation: we find that for men working in a disadvantageous occupation at age 25 ceteris paribus leads to a signicantly higher amount of lifetime unemployment. Educational attainment or the wage earned at age 25 are also related to the amount of men's lifetime unemployment, amongst others. Some of these variables show very interesting patterns when looking at dierent quantiles. For women results are in general less clear-cut.
    Keywords: Lifetime unemployment, Censored-Quantile Regressions, Occupations specific human capital
    JEL: J64 J24
    Date: 2009–10
  15. By: Jordi Jofre-Monseny (University of Passau); Martin Wimbersky (University of Munich)
    Abstract: We study voting over higher education finance in an economy with risk averse households who are heterogeneous in income. We compare four different systems and analyse voters' choices among them: a traditional subsidy scheme, a pure loan scheme, income contingent loans and graduate taxes. Using numerical simulations, we find that majorities for income contingent loans or graduate taxes become more likely as the income distribution gets more equal. We also perform sensitivity analyses with respect to risk aversion and the elasticity of substitution between high skilled and low skilled workers.
    Keywords: Voting, higher education, financing scheme
    JEL: H52 H42 D72
    Date: 2010
  16. By: Olof Åslund (IFAU & Uppsala University); Per-Anders Edin (IFAU & Uppsala University); Peter Fredriksson (Stockholm University); Hans Grönqvist (SOFI, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: We examine to what extent immigrant school performance is affected by the characteristics of the neighborhoods that they grow up in. We address this issue using a refugee placement policy which provides exogenous variation in the initial place of residence in Sweden. The main result is that school performance is increasing in the number of highly educated adults sharing the subject’s ethnicity. A standard deviation increase in the fraction of high-educated in the assigned neighborhood raises compulsory school GPA by 0.9 percentile ranks. This magnitude corresponds to a tenth of the performance gap between refugee immigrant and native-born children.
    Keywords: Peer effects, ethnic enclaves, immigration, school performance
    JEL: J15 I20 Z13
    Date: 2010

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