nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2010‒06‒18
nineteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Do School Resources Increase School Quality ? By Nadir Altinok
  2. Are School Counselors a Cost-Effective Education Input? By Mark L. Hoekstra; Scott Carrell
  3. Quotas and Quality: The Effect of H-1B Visa Restrictions on the Pool of Prospective Undergraduate Students from Abroad By Kato, Takao; Sparber, Chad
  4. Graded Children – Evidence of Longrun Consequences of School Grades from a Nationwide Reform By Sjögren, Anna
  5. Grade surprise and choice at 16 By Don J. Webber
  6. Does Raising the School Leaving Age Reduce Teacher Effort? A Note from a Policy Experiment By Colin Green; Maria Navarro Paniagua
  7. School Responsiveness to Quality Rankings: An Empirical Analysis of Secondary Education in the Netherlands By Koning, Pierre; van der Wiel, Karen
  8. What did abolishing university fees in Ireland do? By Kevin Denny
  9. Education and the Political Economy of Environmental Protection. By Natacha Raffin
  10. Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults By Black, Sandra E.; Devereux, Paul; Salvanes, Kjell G.
  11. The GED By Heckman, James J.; Humphries, John Eric; Mader, Nicholas S.
  12. East and West: The Twain Shall Meet: A Cross-cultural Perspective on Higher Education By Tejas A. Desai
  13. China's Higher Education Expansion and its Labor Market Consequences By Li, Shi; Xing, Chunbing
  14. Is the Over-Education Wage Penalty Permanent? By Joanne Lindley; Steven McIntosh
  15. Mentoring, Educational Services, and Economic Incentives: Longer-Term Evidence on Risky Behaviors from a Randomized Trial By Rodriguez-Planas, Nuria
  16. Measuring Discrimination in Education By Rema Hanna; Leigh Linden
  17. New Developments in Education Demand: International Empirical Evidences By Carlos Giovanni González Espitia
  18. A microfoundation for adaptability returns to schooling and technological complexity By Ophélie Cerdan; Bruno Decreuse; Pierre Granier
  19. Schooling and Wage Revisited: Does Higher IQ Really Give You Higher Income? By Deng, Binbin

  1. By: Nadir Altinok (IREDU - Institut de recherche sur l'éducation : Sociologie et Economie de l'Education - CNRS : UMR5225 - Université de Bourgogne, BETA - Bureau d'économie théorique et appliquée - CNRS : UMR7522 - Université de Strasbourg)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to verify whether school resource factors have an impact on the quality of education. This latter is measured with the help of a unique database on student scores in international skills tests. The general difficulties inherent in this type of study are the possibility of endogeneity bias and measurement errors. After estimation bias correction, we show that improvement in the quality of educational systems does not necessarily require an increase in school resources. When an alternative indicator of the performance of educational systems is used, our results are confirmed. Consequently, one should remain cautious about recommending purely financial measures to improve quality of education.
    Keywords: Quality of education ; School performance ; School resources
    Date: 2010–05
  2. By: Mark L. Hoekstra; Scott Carrell
    Abstract: While much is known about the effects of class size and teacher quality on achievement, there is little evidence on whether non-instructional resources improve academic achievement. We exploit plausibly exogenous within-school variation in counselors and find that one additional counselor reduces student misbehavior and increases reading and math achievement by 1.1 percentile points. Estimates imply the marginal counselor has the same impact on achievement as increasing the quality of every teacher in the school by 0.4 standard deviations, and is 3 times more effective than reducing class size by hiring an additional teacher. Results also indicate the academic benefits are largest for children from higher-income families attending school with economically disadvantaged peers, suggesting that additional support staff may help prevent flight from urban schools.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Kato, Takao (Colgate University); Sparber, Chad (Colgate University)
    Abstract: In deliberating whether to pursue an undergraduate education in the US, a foreign student takes into consideration the expected probability of securing US employment after graduation. The H-1B visa provides a primary means of legal employment for college-educated foreign-nationals. In October 2003, the government drastically reduced the number of available H-1B visas, hence lowering the probability of a college-educated foreign-national finding employment, and possibly discouraging highly qualified international students from attending US colleges and universities. However, citizens from five countries are de facto exempt from the 2003 H-1B visa restrictions. Using international students from these five exempt nations as the control and other international students as the treatment group, we study the effects of the 2003 H-1B policy change on the pool of international applicants to US schools. We use two datasets: (i) College Board SAT score data on prospective international applicants; and (ii) SAT and high-school GPA data on international applicants to a single highly selective university. Our fixed effect estimates show that the restrictive immigration policy has had an adverse impact on the quality of prospective international applicants, reducing their SAT scores by about 1.5%. This effect is driven mostly by a decline in the number of SAT score reports sent by international students at the top-quintile of the SAT score distribution, suggesting that the restrictive immigration policy disproportionately discourages high-ability international students from attending US schools. Our results are robust to alternative specifications, including the use of high-school GPA as a measure of applicant ability.
    Keywords: skilled immigration, H-1B visa, college education, SAT scores
    JEL: F22 I20 O15 I28 J61
    Date: 2010–05
  4. By: Sjögren, Anna (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: Swedish elementary school children stopped receiving written end of year report cards following a grading reform in 1982. Gradual implementation of the reform creates an opportunity to investigate the effects of being graded on adult educational attainments and earnings for children in the cohorts born 1954–1974, using a difference-in-differences strategy. Accounting for municipal time trends and tracing out reform dynamics, there is some evidence that being graded increases girls’ years of schooling, but has no significant average effect on boys. Analysis of effects by family background suggests that receiving grades increases the probability of high school graduation for boys and girls with compulsory school educated parents. Sons of university graduates, however, earn less and are less likely to get a university degree if they were graded in elementary school.
    Keywords: School policy; Grades; Educational attainment; Adult earnings; Family background; Difference-in-differences
    JEL: I21 I28 J13 J24
    Date: 2010–06–08
  5. By: Don J. Webber (Department of Economics, Auckland University of Technology and Department of Economics, UWE, Bristol)
    Abstract: This paper argues that an important influence on boys’ decisions to stay on into post-compulsory education is the attainment of maths grades that differ from expected.
    Keywords: Bivariate probit; post-compulsory education; choice under uncertainty
    JEL: I21 C35
    Date: 2010–06
  6. By: Colin Green; Maria Navarro Paniagua
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of an increase in the school leaving age on high school teachers’ absence behaviour. We estimate differ- ence in difference models of absenteeism using count data approaches. Employing data from the Spanish Labour Force Survey, our findings suggest that high school teachers reduced their effort due to the re- form that raised the age of compulsory education commencing in the academic year 1998-1999 in Spain. In particular, they take 15% more sickness absence in the posttreatment period. This result should be of interest to both policy makers and researchers who rely upon com- pulsory school law changes as a source of exogenous variation in edu- cational attainment.
    Keywords: Absenteeism, Compulsory Schooling Laws, Count data, Teachers
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Koning, Pierre (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); van der Wiel, Karen (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the response of secondary schools to changes in their quality ratings. The current analysis is the first to address the impact of quality scores that have been published by a newspaper (Trouw), rather than public interventions. Our research design exploits the substantial lags in the registration and publication of the Trouw scores and that takes into account all possible outcomes of the ratings, instead of the lowest category only. Overall, we find evidence that school quality performance does respond to Trouw quality scores. Both average grades increase and the number of diplomas go up after receiving a negative score. For schools that receive the most negative ranking, the short-term effects (one year after a change in the ranking of schools) of quality transparency on final exam grades equal 10% to 30% of a standard deviation compared to the average of this variable. The estimated long run impacts are roughly equal to the short-term effects that are measured.
    Keywords: school quality, school accountability
    JEL: H75 I20 D83
    Date: 2010–05
  8. By: Kevin Denny (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: University tuition fees for undergraduates were abolished in Ireland in 1996. This paper examines the effect of this reform on the socioeconomic gradient (SES) to determine whether the reform was successful in achieving its objective of promoting educational equality. It finds that the reform clearly did not have that effect. It is also shown that the university/SES gradient can be explained by differential performance at second level which also explains the gap between the sexes. Students from white collar backgrounds do significantly better in their final second level exams than the children of blue-collar workers. The results are very similar to recent findings for the UK. I also find that certain demographic characteristics have large negative effects on school performance i.e. having a disabled or deceased parent. The results show that the effect of SES on school performance is generally stronger for those at the lower end of the conditional distribution of academic attainment.
    Keywords: tuition costs, university, fees, socio-economic background, educational attainment
    Date: 2010–05–24
  9. By: Natacha Raffin (Paris School of Economics - Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: We develop a political economy model that might explain the different environmental performance of countries, through educational choices. Individuals decide whether to invest in additional education according to their expectations regarding future environmental quality. They also vote on a tax that will be exclusively used to finance environmental protection. We show that the model may generate multiple equilibria and agents' expectations may be self-fulfilling when the public policy is endogenous. Then, we analyse the long-term implications of a public policy that would favour education and make it possible to select the higher equilibrium.
    Keywords: Environmental quality, human capital, education, self-fulfilling prophecies, public policy.
    JEL: I28 H20 O16 O40 Q58
    Date: 2010–05
  10. By: Black, Sandra E. (University of Texas at Austin); Devereux, Paul (University College Dublin); Salvanes, Kjell G. (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: A variety of public campaigns, including the "Just Say No" campaign of the 1980s and 1990s that encouraged teenagers to "Just Say No to Drugs", are based on the premise that teenagers are very susceptible to peer influences. Despite this, very little is known about the effect of school peers on the long-run outcomes of teenagers. This is primarily due to two factors: the absence of information on peers merged with long-run outcomes of individuals and, equally important, the difficulty of separately identifying the role of peers. This paper uses data on the population of Norway and idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition within schools to examine the role of peer composition in 9th grade on longer-run outcomes such as IQ scores at age 18, teenage childbearing, post-compulsory schooling educational track, adult labor market status, and earnings. We find that outcomes are influenced by the proportion of females in the grade, and these effects differ for men and women. Other peer variables (average age, average mother's education) have little impact on the outcomes of teenagers.
    Keywords: education, peer effects
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2010–05
  11. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Humphries, John Eric (University of Chicago); Mader, Nicholas S. (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: The General Educational Development (GED) credential is issued on the basis of an eight hour subject-based test. The test claims to establish equivalence between dropouts and traditional high school graduates, opening the door to college and positions in the labor market. In 2008 alone, almost 500,000 dropouts passed the test, amounting to 12% of all high school credentials issued in that year. This chapter reviews the academic literature on the GED, which finds minimal value of the certificate in terms of labor market outcomes and that only a few individuals successfully use it as a path to obtain post-secondary credentials. Although the GED establishes cognitive equivalence on one measure of scholastic aptitude, recipients still face limited opportunity due to deficits in noncognitive skills such as persistence, motivation and reliability. The literature finds that the GED testing program distorts social statistics on high school completion rates, minority graduation gaps, and sources of wage growth. Recent work demonstrates that, through its availability and low cost, the GED also induces some students to drop out of school. The GED program is unique to the United States and Canada, but provides policy insight relevant to any nation's educational context.
    Keywords: returns to education, GED, dropouts, graduation rate, noncognitive skills
    JEL: I21 J24 J31
    Date: 2010–05
  12. By: Tejas A. Desai
    Abstract: This paper seeks to explain certain cultural differences that may have contributed to this imbalance between the Indian and American higher education systems.[W.P. No. 2009-04-03]
    Keywords: cultural,imbalance, Indian, American, higher education systems, Cross-cultural Perspective, East, West, Twain
    Date: 2010
  13. By: Li, Shi (Beijing Normal University); Xing, Chunbing (Beijing Normal University)
    Abstract: Using a 1/5 random draw of the 1% census of 2005, we investigate how China’s higher education expansion commenced in 1999 affects the education opportunities of various population groups and how this policy affects the labor market. Treating the expansion as an experiment and using a LATE framework, we find that higher education expansion increased the probability of go to college tremendously. Different populations “benefit” from this policy differently however. Minority female, those from central-western region and from rural areas are less likely to benefit from it. One-child families are more responsive to this policy. Using higher education resources at the provincial level as another dimension of variation, and using a difference-in-difference strategy, we find that the education expansion decreased the within sector inequality of population with above high school (inclusive) education. This is primarily due to the increase of the income level for high school graduate. That of the college graduate deceased, but only slightly and not significantly.
    Keywords: China, higher education expansion, LATE, difference in difference, income level
    Date: 2010–05
  14. By: Joanne Lindley (University of Surrey); Steven McIntosh (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: structured uncertainty, DSGE models, robustness, Bayesian estimation, interest-rate rules
    JEL: E52 E37 E58
    Date: 2010–02
  15. By: Rodriguez-Planas, Nuria (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper is the first to use a randomized trial in the US to analyze the short- and long-term impacts of an after-school program that offered disadvantaged high-school youth: mentoring, educational services, and financial rewards to attend program activities, complete high-school and enroll in post-secondary education on youths' engagement in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, criminal activity, and teenage childbearing. Outcomes were measured at three different points in time, when youths were in their late-teens, and when they were in their early- and their late-twenties. Overall the program was unsuccessful at reducing risky behaviors. Heterogeneity matters in that perverse effects are concentrated among certain subgroups, such as males, older youths, and youths from sites where youths received higher amount of stipends. We claim that this evidence is consistent with different models of youths’ behavioral response to economic incentives. In addition, beneficial effects found in those sites in which QOP youths represented a large fraction of the entering class of 9th graders provides hope for these type of programs when operated in small communities and supports the hypothesis of peer effects.
    Keywords: after-school program, short-, medium- and long-term effects, behavioral models, peer effects, criminal activity, teen childbearing and substance abuse
    Date: 2010–05
  16. By: Rema Hanna; Leigh Linden
    Abstract: In this paper, a methodology to measure discrimination in educational contexts is illustrated. In India, exam competition is run through which children compete for a large financial prize and teachers have been recruited to grade the exams.Then there is a random assignment of child “characteristics†(age, gender, and caste) to the cover sheets of the exams to ensure that there is no systematic relationship between the characteristics observed by the teachers and the quality of the exams. It has been found out that teachers give exams that are assigned to be lower caste scores that are about 0.03 to 0.09 standard deviations lower than exams that are assigned to be high caste. The effect is small relative to the real differences in scores between the high and lower caste children. Low-performing, low caste children and top-performing females tend to lose out the most due to discrimination. Interestingly, findings also suggest that the discrimination against low caste students is driven by low caste teachers, while teachers who belong to higher caste groups do not appear to discriminate at all. This result runs counter to the previous literature, which tends to find that individuals discriminate in favor of members of their own groups.[Working Paper no. 230]
    Keywords: methodology, discrimination, educational contexts, large financial prize, teachers, characteristicsage, gender, and caste, cover sheets, exams, favor
    Date: 2010
  17. By: Carlos Giovanni González Espitia
    Abstract: This paper reviews the main economic theories and international empirical applications that analyze demand for education. The document begins with a review of the theoretical background since the appearance of human capital theory proposed by Becker (1964), which made way to the emergence of the Economics of Education in the mid-twentieth century. The other theories that are reviewed have emerged around the proposed by Gary Becker and from them we can mention: the consumption model originally developed by Schaafsma (1976) and Lazear (1977), the current credentialist defended by authors such as Arrow (1973) and Spence (1973), institutionalist theory developed by Doering and Piore (1971) and Thurrow (1975), radical theories written by Bowles and Gintis (1975), the topic of the capabilities proposed by Sen (1999) and modern eclectic vision by Blaug (1976), Moreno (1998) and San Segundo (2001). The review of empirical applications focuses on models that analyze characteristics that influence the demand for post-compulsory education, because it is this demand for education where the person or his family have choice. Some of the characteristics that determine the demand for education are those of the individual, social background factors, the socioeconomic environment, skills and institutional environment, among others. Finally, the methodology commonly used for this kind of empirical studies is the Microeconometrics, especially discrete choice models estimated by the Maximum-Likelihood method.
    Date: 2010–06–12
  18. By: Ophélie Cerdan (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); Bruno Decreuse (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); Pierre Granier (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: In a frictional environment, technological complexity creates adaptability returns to schooling. This paper provides microfoundations to such an argument, and revisits the impacts of worker heterogeneity and risk aversion. In our model, firms and workers are located on a knowledge space. Education widens the measure of the knowledge subset that the worker embodies, while technological complexity expands the measure of the knowledge subset that is required to operate on the job. We find uncertainty with regard to the type of the future partner motivates schooling, while it inhibits technological complexity. When workers differ in scholastic ability, the welfare of a given group increases with the proportion of workers of this group. Finally, risk aversion motivates a precautionary demand for education, which in turn creates income risk through firms' technological choices.
    Keywords: Education; Multi-dimensional skills; Frictions; Heterogeneity; Risk aversion
    Date: 2010–06–08
  19. By: Deng, Binbin
    Abstract: Traditional studies of returns-to-schooling have been generally concerned with several issues like the omitted variable bias, error-in-measurement bias and the endogeneity of schooling. While such inquiries are of much empirical importance, this paper tries to ask a different but non-negligible question: what should be interpreted from the individual ability measure per se in the wage equation? With data from well documented national surveys in the U.S., this paper is able to make a simple but fundamental argument: IQ level per se, holding all other personal characteristics constant, has negligible net effect in determining one’s income level and thus should not be used as the proper measure of the ability we want to quantify in the wage-determining process, i.e., the very ability to earn income.
    Keywords: return to schooling, ability measure, insignificance of IQ, emotional intelligence
    JEL: O15 J24
    Date: 2010–06–09

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