nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2011‒01‒30
eighteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Immigrants, schooling and background. Cross-country evidence from PISA 2006 By Marina Murat; Davide Ferrari; Patrizio Frederic; Giulia Pirani
  2. Can State Language Policies Distort Students' Demand for Higher Education? By Muravyev, Alexander; Talavera, Oleksandr
  3. University choice, peer group and distance By B. Cesi; Dimitri Paolini
  5. Shrinking classroom age variance raises student achievement : evidence from developing countries By Wang, Liang Choon
  6. How Much Do Educational Outcomes Matter in OECD Countries? By Hanushek, Eric A.; Woessmann, Ludger
  7. Why do educated mothers matter? a model of parental help By Canova, Luciano; Vaglio, Alessandro
  8. The Design of Performance Pay in Education By Derek Neal
  9. Lost in Transition? The Returns to Education Acquired under Communism 15 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall By Brunello, Giorgio; Crivellaro, Elena; Rocco, Lorenzo
  10. Too much of a good thing? Gender, 'Concerted cultivation' and unequal achievement in primary education By McCoy, Selina; Byrne, Delma; Banks, Joanne
  11. Determinants and dynamics of schooling and child labor in Bolivia By Grigoli, Francesco; Sbrana, Giacomo
  12. The value of an educated population for an individual's entrepreneurship success By André van Stel; Mirjam van Praag; José Maria Millan; Emilio Congregado; Concepcion Roman
  13. Are Immigrants Paid Less for Education? By Lubomira Anastassova
  14. Individual policy preferences for vocational versus academic education micro level evidence for the case of Switzerland By Busemeyer, Marius R.; Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra; Wolter, Stefan C.
  15. The Research Output of Business Schools and Business Scholars in Ireland By Tol, Richard S. J.
  16. Re-Reforming the Bostonian System: A Novel Approach to the Schooling Problem By Alcalde, Jose; Romero-Medina, Antonio
  17. Explaining International Differences in Rates of Overeducation in Europe By Davia, Maria A.; McGuinness, Seamus; O'Connell, Philip J.
  18. Can better governance increase university efficiency? By Néstor Duch-Brown; Montserrat Vilalta

  1. By: Marina Murat; Davide Ferrari; Patrizio Frederic; Giulia Pirani
    Abstract: Using data from PISA 2006, we examine the performance of immigrant students in different international educational environments. Our results show smaller immigrant gaps – differences in scores with respect to natives - where educational systems are more flexible and students’ mobility between courses and school programs is higher. Unlike previous studies, our analysis reveals no direct relation between these gaps and education models, be they comprehensive or tracking, adopted by countries.
    Keywords: international migration; educational systems; PISA
    JEL: F22 I21
    Date: 2010–11
  2. By: Muravyev, Alexander (IZA); Talavera, Oleksandr (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: This paper takes advantage of a recent policy experiment in Ukraine's secondary education system to study the effect of stricter requirements for proficiency in the state language on linguistic minority students’ demand for, as well as opportunities to pursue, further studies at the university level. The reform that we consider obligated all minority students, including those studying in public schools with a full cycle of education in minority languages, to take a standardized school exit test (which is also a university entry test) in Ukrainian, the state language, thus denying them previously granted access to translated tests. Using school-level data and employing the difference-in-difference estimator we find evidence that the reform resulted in a decline in the number of subjects taken by minority students at the school exit test. There was also a notable shift in the take-up of particular subjects, with fewer exams taken by minority students in more linguistically-demanding subjects such as History, Biology, and Geography, and more exams taken in foreign languages and Math. Overall, our results suggest some distortions in the accumulation of human capital by linguistic minority students induced by the language policy.
    Keywords: language policy, economics of minorities, education, Ukraine
    JEL: I28 J15
    Date: 2010–12
  3. By: B. Cesi; Dimitri Paolini
    Abstract: We analyze how authorizing a new university affects welfare when the students’ education depends on the peer group effect. Students are horizontally differentiated according to their ability and the distance from the university. Comparing a monopolistic university with a two-universities model we find that allowing a “new” university is welfare improving when the monopolistic university is only attended by able students with less mobility constraints. This occurs when mobility costs are sufficiently high. When mobility costs are low, a negative externality arises and welfare decreases. The negative externality comes through the peer group effect - high ability students that would have gone to the monopolistic university go to the university with the lower average ability. These students end up in a university with students whose ability was not high enough to go to the monopolist. On the other hand, students remaining in the good university benefit from a lower average ability. Thus, a new university is welfare improving only for those with low ability that in the monopolistic scenario would remain unskilled. When, instead, the mobility cost is high, the monopolist leaves out a significative mass of individuals. In this case, no negative externality arises because no student swaps university therefore a "new" university is welfare improving. However, this welfare improvement makes the opportunities for a higher education less equal (according to Romer, 1998) because an "external circumstance" like mobility cost, rather than own ability, becomes the main determinant of the students’ human capital.
    Keywords: peer group quality; mobility costs; universities
    JEL: I21 I23
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Michela Ponzo; Vincenzo Scoppa (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: Using data for 9, 13 and 15-year-old students from three different datasets (PIRLS-2006, TIMSS-2007 and PISA-2009), we investigate whether the age at school entry affects children school performance at the fourth, eighth and tenth grade levels. Since student’s age in a grade may be endogenous, we use an Instrumental Variable estimation strategy exploiting the exogenous variations in the month of birth coupled with the entry school cut-off date. We find that younger children score substantially lower than older peers at the fourth, the eighth and the tenth grade. The advantage of older students does not dissipate as they grow older. We do not find any significant effect of the relative age of a child with respect to the classmates’ age. Finally, we show that secondary school students are more likely to be tracked in more academic schools rather than in vocational schools if they are born in the early months of the year.
    Keywords: school entry age, educational production function, student achievement, choice of track, instrumental variables, Italy, PIRLS, TIMSS, PISA
    JEL: I21 I28 J13 J24
    Date: 2011–01
  5. By: Wang, Liang Choon
    Abstract: Large classroom variance of student age is prevalent in developing countries, where achievement tends to be low. This paper investigates whether increased classroom age variance adversely affects mathematics and science achievement. Using exogenous variation in the variance of student age in ability-mixing schools, the author finds robust negative effects of classroom age variance on fourth graders'achievement in developing countries. A simulation demonstrates that re-grouping students by age in the sample can improve math and science test scores by roughly 0.1 standard deviations. According to past estimates for the United States, this effect size is similar to that of raising expenditures per student by 26 percent.
    Keywords: Tertiary Education,Educational Sciences,Youth and Governance,Secondary Education,Scientific Research&Science Parks
    Date: 2011–01–01
  6. By: Hanushek, Eric A. (Stanford University); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Existing growth research provides little explanation for the very large differences in long-run growth performance across OECD countries. We show that cognitive skills can account for growth differences within the OECD, whereas a range of economic institutions and quantitative measures of tertiary education cannot. Under the growth model estimates and plausible projection parameters, school improvements falling within currently observed performance levels yield very large gains. The present value of OECD aggregate gains through 2090 could be as much as $275 trillion, or 13.8 percent of the discounted value of future GDP. Extensive sensitivity analyses indicate that, while differences between model frameworks and alternative parameter choices make a difference, the economic impact of improved educational outcomes remains enormous. Interestingly, the quantitative difference between an endogenous and neoclassical model framework – with improved skills affecting the long-run growth rate versus just the steady-state income level – matters less than academic discussions suggest. We close by discussing evidence on which education policy reforms may be able to bring about the simulated improvements in educational outcomes.
    Keywords: education, growth, OECD, cognitive skills, projection
    JEL: I2 O4
    Date: 2010–12
  7. By: Canova, Luciano; Vaglio, Alessandro
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role performed by mothers in affecting their childrens' performance at school. The article develops firstly a theoretical model in which household (parent-child pair) is treated as an individual, whose utility depends both on the performance at school of the student and on consumption. The model focuses on the different possibilities through which help of mothers may affect pupil's performance both in terms of time devoted to supervision and spillover effects. Empirical evidence then, using PISA 2006 and focusing on Italian case, shows that education of mothers is an issue when interacted with her occupational status. Highly educated mothers have a positive impact on students' score only when they are highly qualified in the job market. --
    Keywords: education,PISA,quantile regressions,parental help
    JEL: J12 J21 J24
    Date: 2010
  8. By: Derek Neal
    Abstract: This chapter analyzes the design of incentive schemes in education while reviewing empirical studies that evaluate performance pay programs for educators. Several themes emerge. First, it is difficult to use one assessment system to create both educator performance metrics and measures of student achievement. To mitigate incentives for coaching, incentive systems should employ assessments that vary in both format and item content. Separate no-stakes assessments provide more reliable information about student achievement because they create no incentives for educators to take hidden actions that contaminate student test scores. Second, relative performance schemes are rare in education even though they are more difficult to manipulate than systems built around psychometric or subjective performance standards. Third, assessment-based incentive schemes are mechanisms that complement rather than substitute for systems that promote parental choice, e.g. vouchers and charter schools.
    JEL: I20 I28
    Date: 2011–01
  9. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); Crivellaro, Elena (University of Padova); Rocco, Lorenzo (University of Padova)
    Abstract: Using data for 22 economies in Eastern and Western Europe, we find evidence that having studied under communism is relatively penalized in the economies of the late 2000s. This evidence, however, is limited to males and to primary and secondary education, and holds for eight CEE economies but not for the East Germans who have studied in the former German Democratic Republic. We also find that post-secondary education acquired under communism yields higher, not lower, payoffs than similar education in Western Europe.
    Keywords: returns to education, Eastern Europe
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2010–12
  10. By: McCoy, Selina; Byrne, Delma; Banks, Joanne
    Abstract: It is well established that cultural and economic resources imparted to children vary significantly by social class. Literature on concerted cultivation has highlighted the extent to which out-of-school activities can reproduce social inequalities in the classroom. Within this literature however, little attention has been given to the role of gender in concerted cultivation. In this paper, we use data from the first wave of the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study to consider how both social class and gender influence the level and type of out-of-school activities in which children engage. Moreover, we examine how out-of-school activities, class and gender impact on children's school engagement and academic achievement. We find that while childrearing logics tend to operate within social class categories, there is an additional cultural aspect of gender in the uptake of different types of out-of-school activities. Our findings suggest the need to move beyond explanations of concerted cultivation to explain gender differences in maths and reading attainment.
    Keywords: social class,concerted cultivation,gender,school engagement,academic achievement,maths performance,reading performance
    Date: 2010–11
  11. By: Grigoli, Francesco; Sbrana, Giacomo
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of primary school enrollment, attendance and child labor in Bolivia from 1999 to 2007. The analysis also aims at identifying the substitution and complementary relationships between schooling and working. Although enrollment rates show a significant improvement, lack of attendance remains an issue. The empirical results reveal that the increase in enrollment is led by indigenous children and those living in urban areas. Moreover, contrary to common belief, being extremely poor and indigenous are the main determinants of school attendance. Although extremely poor children increased their school attendance, they were not able to reduce child labor. However, for indigenous children school attendance and child labor were substitutes, increasing schooling and reducing child labor.
    Keywords: Street Children,Primary Education,Education For All,Youth and Governance,Children and Youth
    Date: 2011–01–01
  12. By: André van Stel; Mirjam van Praag; José Maria Millan; Emilio Congregado; Concepcion Roman
    Abstract: Human capital obtained through education has been shown to be one of the strongest drivers of entrepreneurship performance. The entrepreneur's human capital is, though, only one of the input factors into the production process of her venture. The value of other input factors, such as (knowledge) capital and labor is likely to be affected by the education level of the possible stakeholders in the entrepreneur's venture. The education distribution of the (local) population may thus shape the supply function of the entrepreneur. Likewise, the demand function faced by the entrepreneur is also likely to be shaped by the taste, sophistication and thus the education level of the population in their role as consumers. In other words, a population with a higher education level may be associated with (i) a working population of higher quality; (ii) more and/or higher quality universities with a positive effect on research and development (R&D) and knowledge spillovers leading to more high tech and innovative ventures; and finally, (iii) a more sophisticated consumer market. Based on this, we formulate the following proposition: The performance of an entrepreneur is not only affected positively by her own education level but in addition, also by the education level of the population. We test this proposition using an eight years (1994-2001) panel of labor market participants in the EU-15 countries from which we select individuals who have been observed as entrepreneurs. We find strong support for a positive relationship between enrolment rates in tertiary education in country j and year t and several measures of the performance of individual entrepreneurs in that same country and year, including survival and the probability that an entrepreneur starts employing personnel and maintains as an employer for a longer period of time. An implication of our novel finding is that entrepreneurship and higher education policies should be considered in tandem with each other.  
    Date: 2011–01–18
  13. By: Lubomira Anastassova
    Abstract: This paper is on measuring the gap in returns to education between foreign-born and native workers in France, Germany, and Austria and investigates the extent to which this gap can be explained by a mis-match between the actual and the years of schooling typical for a given occupation. The return to usual years of schooling across different occupations is found to be higher than that for actual years of education. In the case of correctly matched workers who have the ‘typical’ education in a certain occupation, there is no additional reward in earnings for natives compared to foreign workers. Immigrants, however, have significantly lower wage returns in being over-educated than natives but are penalized less for being under-educated.
    Keywords: Immigrants; schooling, occupations; earnings; rates of return
    JEL: F22 I21 J24 J31 J61
    Date: 2010–02
  14. By: Busemeyer, Marius R.; Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra; Wolter, Stefan C.
    Abstract: This paper uses an original dataset from a survey conducted in Switzerland in 2007 to explore the dynamics of education policy preferences. This issue has largely been neglected so far as most studies on welfare state attitudes do not look at preferences for education. We argue that education policy preferences vary along two dimensions: the distribution of resources across different sectors of the education system (i.e. vocational training vs. academic education) and the level of investment in education both from public and private sources. With regard to the former, the findings suggest that individual educational experience matters most, i.e., individuals prefer to concentrate resources on those educational sectors that are closest to their own educational background. With regard to the second dimension, we find that affiliation to partisan ideologies matters much more than other variables. Proponents of the left demand more investment both from the state as well as from the private sector and oppose individual tuition fees. -- Dieses Papier untersucht die Dynamik bildungspolitischer Präferenzen auf der Mikroebene. Dabei werden Daten aus einer eigenen Erhebung verwendet, die im Jahr 2007 in der Schweiz durchgeführt wurde. Die Untersuchung bildungspolitischer Präferenzen wurde in der einschlägigen Literatur zur Untersuchung von wohlfahrtsstaatlichen Einstellungen bisher vernachlässigt. Wir zeigen, dass bildungspolitische Präferenzen auf zwei Dimensionen zu verorten sind: zum einen die Verteilung von öffentlichen Mitteln auf verschiedene Bildungssektoren (berufliche vs. hochschulische Bildung) und zum anderen das Gesamtniveau der Bildungsausgaben. In Bezug auf die erste Dimension stellen wir fest, dass der individuelle Bildungshintergrund sehr prägend ist. Die Befragten unterstützten die Konzentration von öffentlichen Mitteln in denjenigen Bildungsbereichen, die sie aus der eigenen Bildungskarriere kennen. In Bezug auf die zweite Dimension lassen sich hingegen starke ideologische Effekte feststellen. Individuen, die sich ideologisch im linken Spektrum verorten, fordern mehr Bildungsausgaben vonseiten des Staates und des Privatsektors und lehnen Studiengebühren eher ab.
    Date: 2010
  15. By: Tol, Richard S. J.
    Abstract: The research performance of business scholars on the island of Ireland is evaluated based on their number of publication, number of citations, h-index and the same divided by the numbers of years since the first publication. Data were taken from Scopus. There is a large variation in both life-time achievement and annual production. Almost half of the 748 scholars have not published in an academic journal. Men perform better than women. More senior people perform better. There are distinct differences between disciplines, with accountancy performing poorly. On average, scholars in Northern Ireland perform better than scholars in the Republic. However, Trinity College Dublin has the top rank among the eleven business schools; Queen's University Belfast and University College Dublin share the second place; and NUI Galway and the University of Ulster share the fourth spot. Irish business schools specialize in particular research areas so that mergers would lead to schools can support a broader range of cutting-edge education.
    Keywords: Business schools/business scholars/research performance/Ireland
    Date: 2010–12
  16. By: Alcalde, Jose; Romero-Medina, Antonio
    Abstract: This paper proposes the notion of E-stability to conciliate Pareto efficiency and fairness. We propose the use of a centralized procedure, the Exchanging Places Mechanism. It endows students a position according with the Gale and Shapley students optimal stable matching as tentative allocation and allows the student to trade their positions. We show that the final allocation is E-stable, i.e. efficient, fair and immune to any justifiable objection that students can formulate.
    Keywords: School allocation problem; Pareto efficient matching
    JEL: D71 C71
    Date: 2011–01–18
  17. By: Davia, Maria A.; McGuinness, Seamus; O'Connell, Philip J.
    Abstract: This paper examines the factors determining variations in international rates of overeducation. We find significant effects for a range of factors including labour market structural imbalances, risk, trade-union density and the structure of academic funding. The results suggest that international levels of overeducation are particularly sensitive to variations in higher education funding arrangements.
    Keywords: overeducation,international variation,mismatch
    Date: 2010–12
  18. By: Néstor Duch-Brown (University of Barcelona & IEB); Montserrat Vilalta (Escola Universitària del Maresme - UPF)
    Abstract: This paper links governance reforms with potential improvements in efficiency in Spanish universities. Taking the classic DEA model as our starting-point, we focus on the study of efficient units to identify the ones that present atypical behaviour (outliers) and should be removed from the analysis, and then to order the remaining institutions in terms of what is known as robust efficiency. Moreover, we use a second stage regression analysis and a three-stage adjusted values non-parametric model to analyse the influence of environmental factors on the efficiency scores obtained. Once environmental factors are taken into account, the remaining unexplained inefficiency is attributed to governance failures. Our results indicate that the observed inefficiency in Spanish public universities is mainly determined by deficient governance. Thus, there is scope for improvements in efficiency through governance reform.
    Keywords: Efficiency, governance, universities
    JEL: C14 I23 L31
    Date: 2010

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