nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2010‒07‒10
nineteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. The relationship between school violence and student proficiency By Severnini, Edson; Firpo, Sergio
  2. Grading standards, student ability and errors in college admission By Møen, Jarle; Tjelta, Martin
  3. British Columbia’s Best Schools: Where Teachers Make the Difference By David Johnson
  4. Matching higher education and labour market in the knowledge economy: the much needed reform of university governance in Italy By Ernesto Tavoletti
  5. Registered Education Savings Plans - Valuable Opportunities for the Students of Tomorrow By Kevin Girdharry; Elena Simonova; Rock Lefebvre
  6. The Crime Reducing Effect of Education By Stephen Machin; Olivier Marie; Suncica Vujic
  7. Student Experiences of the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme By Banks, Joanne; Byrne, Delma; McCoy, Selina; Smyth, Emer
  8. Fairness in education: The Italian university before and after the reform By Paolo Brunori; Vito Peragine; Laura Serlenga
  9. Do More Decentralized Local Governments do Better? An Evaluation of the 2001 Decentralization Reform in Colombia By Cortés, Darwin
  10. Assimilation in a New Context: Educational Attainment of the Immigrant Second Generation in Germany By Luthra R
  11. Peer effects and measurement error: the impact of sampling variation in school survey data By John Micklewright; Sylke V. Schnepf; Pedro N. Silva
  12. The controversial effects of microfinance on child schooling: A retrospective approach By Leonardo Becchetti; Pierluigi Conzo
  13. Quality Matters - the Expulsion of Professors and Ph.D. Student Outcomes in Nazi Germany By Fabian Waldinger
  14. Public investment in basic education and economic growth By Kuhl Teles, Vladimir; Andrade, Joaquim
  15. Networks Effects in International Migration : Education versus Gender By Michel BEINE; Sara SALOMONE
  16. School Attendance and Literacy before the Famine: A Simple Baronial Analysis By Cormac Ó Gráda
  17. Inequality of opportunity in Europe: Economic and policy facts By Gustavo A. Marrero; Juan Gabriel Rodríguez
  18. Income And Bargaining Effects On Education And Health By Ponczek, Vladimir
  19. An analysis of the efficiency of public spending and national policies in the area of R&D By Conte, Andrea; Schweizer, Philip; Dierx , Adriaan; Ilzkovitz, Fabienne

  1. By: Severnini, Edson; Firpo, Sergio
    Abstract: School violence has recently become a central concern among teachers, students, students' parents andpolicymakers. Violence can induce behaviors on educational agents that go against the goals ofimproving the quality of education and increasing school attendance. In fact, there is evidence thatschool environmental characteristics and student performance and behavior at school are related.Although school violence may have a direct impact on students’ performance, such impact has not yetbeen quantified. In this paper, we investigate this issue using Brazilian data and show that, on average,students who attended more violent schools had worse proficiency on a centralized test carried out bythe Brazilian Ministry of Education, even when we controlled for school, class, teachers and studentcharacteristics. We also show that school violence affects more the students from the bottom of theproficiency distribution. Furthermore, we find out that besides the direct effect on student proficiency,it seems that school violence has an indirect effect on it operating through teacher turnover. Indeed, weshow that the occurrence of violent episodes in a school decreases the probability of a class in thatschool having only one teacher during the academic year, and increases the probability of that classhaving more than one teacher (teacher turnover).
    Date: 2010–07–01
  2. By: Møen, Jarle (Dept. of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Tjelta, Martin (Finance and Management Department, University of Stavanger)
    Abstract: Grades are important for admission of students in most higher education programmes. Analysing admission and student performance data at a major Norwegian business school, we find that the grading practice of teachers at regional colleges sending students to the school is affected by the average performance of the students being graded. Teachers at colleges recruiting good students from upper secondary school tend to be strict in their grading practice, while teachers at colleges recruiting less good students tend to follow a lenient practice. This has implications for the interpretation of grades and hence for optimal admission procedures. We develop a methodology to assess the consequences of differential grading standards. Approximately ten percent of the students in our data are admitted at the expense of more competent students. We demonstrate costs for the school admitting wrong students and in particular for the rejected students.
    Keywords: Grading practices; Differential grading standards; Admission policy
    JEL: A20 I21
    Date: 2010–06–29
  3. By: David Johnson (wilfrid Laurier University)
    Abstract: This study compares student outcomes at British Columbia elementary schools where students come from similar socio-economic backgrounds, thus revealing "good" schools where principals, teachers and staff are making a positive difference to student performance. This alternative means of identifying the best schools in the province shows that there are both public and independent schools among the top performers. The resulting school ratings by percentile are useful not only to parents, but also to teachers, school board administrators and education officials who wish to identify schools whose practices deserve imitation.
    Keywords: Education Papers, British Columbia elementary schools, socio-economic and education environments, Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)
    JEL: I21 L33 H44 I28 H75
    Date: 2010–06
  4. By: Ernesto Tavoletti (University of Macerata)
    Abstract: <div style="text-align: justify;">In the knowledge economy and current public finance constraints, matching higher education and labour market is not one of the main issues in higher education policy sustainability: it is “the issue”. Being universities’ sources of funding almost entirely domestic and in most countries primarily governmental, politicians are expected to ensure that the increasing public investment in higher education is justified by the fact that the benefits are captured by domestic workers and investors. In doing so they must avoid disrupting the international and free community of scholars and students pursuing knowledge, killing the goose that laid the golden eggs for so long. The European debate and frontiers of research concerning the interactions between universities and labour markets are analyzed. The much needed reform of university governance in Italy is evaluated in its premises and implications for the matching of higher education and labour market.</div>
    Keywords: higher education,university,knowledge economy,labour market,governance,new managerialism
    JEL: I23 I28 J21 J24
    Date: 2010–06
  5. By: Kevin Girdharry (Certified General Accountants Association of Canada); Elena Simonova (Certified General Accountants Association of Canada); Rock Lefebvre (Certified General Accountants Association of Canada)
    Abstract: The knowledge economy puts higher pressure on young Canadians to pursue higher education. The goals of the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) have focused on providing prospective students with affordable savings options and financial support for post secondary education. However, the RESP does not safeguard young Canadians from the increasing burden of student loans despite the generosity of provisions of this saving instrument. To better understand this phenomenon, this paper aims to examine characteristics of the RESP and understand its benefits. The analysis shows that the RESP has been continuously refined by the federal government in an effort to serve all Canadian families. However, there is growing concern around the communication and awareness of the RESP to the public which may diminish the potential of the RESP to lower student loan disbursements.
    Keywords: savings for education, personal finance, student loan, education savings grant, post secondary education
    JEL: E21 H31 H52 I22 I28
    Date: 2010–06
  6. By: Stephen Machin; Olivier Marie; Suncica Vujic
    Abstract: In this paper, we present evidence on empirical connections between crime and education, usingvarious data sources from Britain. A robust finding is that criminal activity is negatively associatedwith higher levels of education. However, it is essential to ensure that the direction of causation flowsfrom education to crime. Therefore, we identify the effect of education on participation in criminalactivity using changes in compulsory school leaving age laws over time to account for theendogeneity of education. In this causal approach, for property crimes, the negative crime-educationrelationship remains strong and significant. The implications of these findings are unambiguous andclear. They show that improving education can yield significant social benefits and can be a keypolicy tool in the drive to reduce crime.
    Keywords: Crime, education, offenders
    JEL: I2 K42
    Date: 2010–05
  7. By: Banks, Joanne; Byrne, Delma; McCoy, Selina; Smyth, Emer
    Keywords: education
    Date: 2010–06
  8. By: Paolo Brunori (University of Bari and CORE Louvain-la-Neuve); Vito Peragine (University of Bari); Laura Serlenga (University of Bari)
    Abstract: In 2001 the Italian tertiary education system embarked in a broad process of reform. The main novelty brought by the reform was a reduction of the length of study to get a first level degree together with the introduction of a 2-years, second level, master degree. This paper aims at studying the effects of the reform in terms of fairness in educational opportunity. In order to do so we first define fairness criteria following a well-developed responsibility sensitive egalitarian literature, we then discuss existing inequality of opportunity measures consistent with these criteria, we show their relationship, and we adapt them to the educational framework. We finally employ this set of measures to show the evolution of fairness in the access to university in Italy before and after the reform.
    Keywords: Equality of opportunity, higher education.
    JEL: D31 D63 C14 I2
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Cortés, Darwin
    Abstract: In this paper I evaluate the impact of the 2001 decentralization reform in Colombia. I use data from Colombia's municipalities. I look at the effect of the 2001 reform on enrolment in pre-college schools. While all municipalities received earnmarked national transfers, with the reform some of then now have more responsabilities to provide education (deeper decen- tralization) than others. Particulary important, the reform entitle the more decentralized municipalities to sign subsidy contracts with private school. Departments (the regional gov- ernments) are entitle to sign this type of contracts for the less decentralized municipalities. Since the rule for municipalities to receive more responsabilities follows and exogenous popu- lation threshold, I can implement Regression Discontinuity Design. Enrolment is measured through two variables: the number of students enroled in public schools and the number of subsidized students enroled in private schools. Results sugest that more decentralized mu- nicipalities subsidize more students in private schools. The difference is significant at all the levels of pre-college school for the period 2004-2006. In 2005, the difference accounts for 20% of enrolment in private schools and 3% of population of school age. Besides, there are not significant differences among municipalities regarding enrolment in public schools.
    Date: 2010–05–31
  10. By: Luthra R (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper utilizes the German Mikrozensus to model competing secondary school outcomes among both foreign and naturalized children of guest workers, ethnic Germans, EU and third country immigrants. In line with previous research, I find that second generation disadvantage in educational attainment is largely explained by parental background. However, my study also finds evidence of higher attainment among many second generation groups. By introducing categorical interactions between parental education and immigrant origin, I link this new finding to the fact that most second generation groups are less adversely affected by low parental education than are the children of native Germans.
    Date: 2010–06–30
  11. 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.); Pedro N. Silva (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica and Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton.)
    Abstract: Investigation of peer effects on achievement with sample survey data on schools may mean that only a random sample of peers is observed for each individual. This generates classical measurement error in peer variables, resulting in the estimated peer group effects in a regression model being biased towards zero under OLS model fitting. We investigate the problem using survey data for England from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) linked to administrative microdata recording information for each PISA sample member's entire year cohort. We calculate a peer group measure based on these complete data and compare its use with a variable based on peers in just the PISA sample. The estimated attenuation bias in peer effect estimates based on the PISA data alone is substantial.
    Keywords: peer effects, measurement error, school surveys, sampling variation
    JEL: C21 C81 I21
    Date: 2010–06–30
  12. By: Leonardo Becchetti (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”); Pierluigi Conzo (University of Rome “Tor Vergata”)
    Abstract: Two crucial problems when research agencies or donors need to asses empirically the microfinance/children education nexus on already operating organizations are lack of availability of panel data and selection bias. We propose an original approach which tackles these problems by combining retrospective panel data, fixed effects and comparison between pre and post-treatment trends. The relative advantage of our approach vis-à-vis standard cross-sectional estimates (and even panels with just two observations repeated in time) is that it allows to analyse the progressive effects of microfinance on borrowers. With this respect our paper gives an answer to the widespread demand of impact methodologies required by regulators or by funding agencies which need to evaluate the current and past performance of existing institutions. We apply our approach to a sample of microfinance borrowers coming from two districts of Buenos Aires with different average income levels. By controlling for survivorship bias and heterogeneity in time invariant and time varying characteristics of respondents we find that years of credit history have a positive and significant effect on child schooling conditional to the borrower’s standard of living and distance from school.
    Keywords: child schooling, microfinance, retrospective data, impact evaluation.
    JEL: D13 G20 I21 J22 J24 O12 O16 O18 O54
    Date: 2010
  13. By: Fabian Waldinger
    Abstract: I investigate the effect of faculty quality on Ph.D. student outcomes. To address theendogeneity of faculty quality I use exogenous variation provided by the expulsion ofmathematics professors in Nazi Germany. I find that faculty quality is a very importantdeterminant of short and long run Ph.D. student outcomes. A one standard deviation increasein faculty quality increases the probability of publishing the dissertation in a top journal by 13percentage points, the probability of becoming full professor by 10 percentage points, theprobability of having positive lifetime citations by 16 percentage points, and the number oflifetime citations by 6.3.
    Keywords: PhD students, university quality, faculty quality, Nazi Germany, dismissal of professors
    JEL: I2 I21 J24 N34
    Date: 2010–06
  14. By: Kuhl Teles, Vladimir; Andrade, Joaquim
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper was to visualize the relation between governmentspending on basic education and the human capital accumulation process, observingthe impacts of this spending on individual investments in higher education, and oneconomic growth. It is used an overlapping-generations model where the governmenttax the adult generation and spent it in basic education of the next generations. Itwas demonstrated that the magnitude of the marginal effect of government spendingin basic education on growth crucially depends on public budget constrains. The paperexplains why some countries with a lot of public investment in basic education growthat low rates. In that sense if a country has only a lot of public investment in basiceducation without investment in higher education it may growth at low rates becausethe taxation can cause distortions in the agents incentives to invest in higher education.
    Date: 2010–06–29
  15. By: Michel BEINE (CREA,University of Luxembourg, IRES and CES-Ifo); Sara SALOMONE (IRES, UniversitŽ catholique de Louvain and Tor Vergata University)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of networks on the structure of international migration flows to OECD countries. In particular, we look at whether diaspora effects are different across education levels and gender. Using new data allowing to include both dimensions, we are able to analyze the respective impact of networks on the proportion of each category of migrant. Therefore, unlike the preceding literature on macro determinants of international migration, we can identify the factors that influence the selection in terms skills and in terms of gender. We find that network effects vary by education level but not by gender.
    Keywords: Migration,Human capital, network/diaspora externalities, Gender
    JEL: F22 O15
    Date: 2010–05–26
  16. By: Cormac Ó Gráda (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper complements a much larger study of school attendance in pre-famine Ireland by FitzGerald (2010). It exploits some of the data generated by that study to analyze further some of the determinants of schooling and literacy in the 1820s and 1840s.
    Keywords: Ireland, economic history, literacy, human capital
    Date: 2010–07–02
  17. By: Gustavo A. Marrero (Universidad de La Laguna); Juan Gabriel Rodríguez (Instituto de Estudios Fiscales and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)
    Abstract: In this paper we consider the main factors that have influenced inequality of opportunity (IO) in Europe. Based on the EU-SILC database, we find that the various levels of development, education and social protection expenditure in 23 European countries significantly affect IO. Dropping out from school, reaching at least secondary levels of education, social spending to promote social integration and child care are the most important variables of those analyzed. The functioning of the labor market and the tax structure, on the other hand, do not have a significant bearing on IO. Lastly, we note that IO and total inequality exhibit differentiated explanatory patterns, which signifies that means of redistribution that serve to reduce overall inequality do not necessarily reduce IO.
    Keywords: inequality of opportunity; growth; education; public expenditure; labor market.
    JEL: D63 E24 O15 O40
    Date: 2010
  18. By: Ponczek, Vladimir
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine the impacts of the reform in the rural pension system in Brazil in 1991 onschooling and health indicators. In addition, we use the reform to investigate the validity of the unitarymodel of household allocation by testing if there were uneven impacts on those indicators depending onthe gender of the recipient. The main conclusion of the paper is that the reform had significantly positiveeffects on the outcomes of interest, especially on those co-residing with a male pensioner, indicating thatthe unitary model is not a well-specified framework to understand family allocation decisions. Thehighest impacts were on school attendance for boys, literacy for girls and illness for middle-age people.We explore a collective model as defined by Chiappori (1992) as one possible alternative representationfor the decision-making process of the poor rural Brazilian families. In the cooperative Nash equilibrium,the reform effects can be divided into two pieces: a direct income effect and bargaining power effect. Thedata support the existence of these two different effects
    Date: 2010–05–05
  19. By: Conte, Andrea; Schweizer, Philip; Dierx , Adriaan; Ilzkovitz, Fabienne
    Abstract: Improving the quality of public finances is a major challenge for European policy makers. The economic crisis has increased budgetary pressures and accentuated the tension between the need to sustain public spending aimed at raising the EU growth potential and the increased scarcity of public resources. Rising the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending in growth-enhancing areas such as education, R&D and innovation has become, therefore, even more important. This paper reviews the innovation performance of the different EU Member States and provides estimates of the relative efficiency of their R&D spending. In doing so, it aims at moving the policy discussion from mere volume-based policy targets towards a better assessment of the quality and effects of public R&D spending. The main contribution of this paper is therefore the identification of both (1) a suitable methodology for the evaluation of efficiency levels across Member States and (2) structural and policy determinants which may contribute to raise efficiency levels of R&D spending across countries and over time. Results indicate that there exist large cross-country differences in terms of measured efficiency, which is an indication that in many Member States there remains a significant potential for further improvement. Currently, there appears to be a divide in efficiency levels between old and new Member States. However, there is some evidence that the new Member States are catching up. The estimated efficiency scores indicate that all EU Member States have improved their efficiency levels over time. There is evidence that the efficiency of R&D spending is higher in countries with a strong knowledge base which, in turn, implies that increases in R&D spending do not necessarily lead to reductions in efficiency levels. Other factors that positively affect efficiency levels include the high-tech specialisation of the economy, the level of investment in education, the employment share in science and technology, and the degree of protection of intellectual property rights. Finally, a R&D tax treatment more oriented towards fiscal incentives rather than direct subsidies appears to have a positive effect on the efficiency level of R&D spending across EU Member States. This work is based on both a quantitative measurement of efficiency levels and a qualitative analysis of the policy instruments used in the Member States to promote R&D efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency scores are calculated by means of the Stochastic Frontier Analysis for a set of input and output indicators in order to overcome the limitations associated with each individual indicator. A complementary survey of national governments highlights some further policy instruments that could contribute to increase the efficiency of R&D and innovation policies, in particular at the national level. The results of the survey argue in favour of adopting a systemic approach to R&D, education and innovation policies, including three main elements: (i) adapting educational programmes and the research infrastructure to the needs of science and industry; (ii) making a sustained commitment to knowledge investment by adopting medium-term funding programmes; and (iii) evaluating existing R&D programmes in order to determine which policy tools are the most effective and in which areas R&D investments offer the highest returns. More recently, Member States have introduced R&D spending measures specifically targeted to deal with the consequences of the economic crisis. A closer look at these measures reveals that Member States consider direct grants and offers of tax relief as appropriate instruments to counteract the effects of the crisis. It should be clear that such policy measures should be tailored to the specific needs and strengths of every Member State.
    Keywords: Public Finance; Efficiency; R&D spending; patents; innovation policy.
    JEL: H50 C23 O33
    Date: 2009–09

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