nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2011‒02‒26
thirteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Selective Secondary Education and School Participation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Malawi By Jacobus de Hoop
  2. Provincial Returns to Education for 21 to 35 year-olds: Results from the 1991-2006 Canadian Analytic Censuses Files By Emanuelle Bourbeau; Pierre Lefebvre; Philip Merrigan
  3. The English Baccalaureate: how not to measure school performance By Jim Taylor
  4. Measuring the impact of Educational Interventions on the Academic Performance of Academic Development Students in Second-Year Microeconomics By Leonard Smith; Vimal Ranchhod
  5. On Stability and Efficiency in School Choice Problems By Alcalde, Jose; Romero-Medina, Antonio
  6. Preparing for Success in Canada and the United States: The Determinants of Educational Attainment Among the Children of Immigrants By Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng
  7. School Quality and Housing Prices: Empirical Evidence Based on a Natural Experiment in Shanghai, China By Hao Feng; Ming Lu
  8. Gender Peer Effects in University: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment By Hessel Oosterbeek; Reyn van Ewijk
  9. Are Education and Entrepreneurial Income Endogenous and do Family Background Variables make Sense as Instruments? A Bayesian Analysis By Joern H. Block; Lennart Hoogerheide; Roy Thurik
  10. Spreading the Word: Geography, Policy and University Knowledge Diffusion By Sharon Belenzon; Mark Schankerman
  11. The Effect of Immigration on the School Performance of Natives: Cross Country Evidence Using PISA Test Scores By Brunello, Giorgio; Rocco, Lorenzo
  12. New Evidence on Teacher Labor Supply By Mimi Engel; Brian A. Jacob
  13. Incentives from Curriculum Tracking: Cross-national and UK Evidence By Koerselman, Kristian

  1. By: Jacobus de Hoop (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Large scale tracking policies, allowing academically apt pupils to enter a select group of secondary schools, can be found in many Sub-Saharan countries. However, evidence on the impact of these policies on school outcomes, especially school participation, is limited. This paper fills this gap by providing regression discontinuity evidence on the impact of Malawi's tracking program. The analysis is based on unique institutional data covering an entire cohort of pupils. Estimates show that Malawi's tracking program raises school participation of top students without a reduction in pupil learning. These findings have implications for education policy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: education; Malawi; regression discontinuity; Sub-Saharan Africa; tracking
    JEL: I21 O15
    Date: 2010–04–15
  2. By: Emanuelle Bourbeau; Pierre Lefebvre; Philip Merrigan
    Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of the returns to education and experience from 1990 to 2005 in Canada and across the provinces. The focus is on the earnings of young adults, age 21 to 35 at the times of the Censuses, classified by very detailed education groups, age and gender. Returns to higher education are very different across provinces and are particularly high in the western part of the nation. Over time, they are quite stable, but they are increasing for females in 2005 relative to 2000 in particular Bachelor’s degree and higher degrees. This is surprising given the very important increase in the supply of well educated females since 1991. These returns can explain partially why so many young women turned to higher education over time. It is also surprising that males have not followed suit, given that the returns are just as high for them as for women. Yet, the returns for university education are much higher than the returns for college or CEGE. Also, returns for trade degrees are much higher for males than for females. The male-female gap in higher education will certainly help to reduce the wage gap between genders, however, public policy must be concerned by the difference between male and female participation in higher education.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Wage Differentials, Returns to Education, Young Workers, Canadian Provinces, Gender
    JEL: J24 J31
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Jim Taylor
    Abstract: This paper challenges the view held by the UK Government that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate will lead to an improvement in educational outcomes in secondary education. Evidence is presented to show that this new qualification is biased against disadvantaged pupils from low-income families, pupils with special needs, and pupils who have little inclination to study a foreign language. Furthermore, the English Baccalaureate is deeply flawed when used as a school performance indicator and should not be included in the School Performance Tables.
    Keywords: English baccalaureate, Performance indicator, Secondary schools
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Leonard Smith (School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Vimal Ranchhod (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town; School of Economics, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of educational interventions made in the first- and second-year microeconomics courses on academic development students’ final mark in the second-year course. It also addresses issues of methodology, specification, and statistical analysis with respect to other studies in the field. The results suggest that the educational interventions in the first-year had a positive impact on the academic performance of the academic development cohort, relative to the mainstream cohort for the first period (2000-2002). The results also suggest that the educational interventions introduced in the second period (2003-2005), in the form of voluntary workshops for the academic development cohort, also improved the academic performance of this cohort relative to that of mainstream students.
    Date: 2010–08
  5. By: Alcalde, Jose; Romero-Medina, Antonio
    Abstract: This paper proposes a way to allocate students to schools such that conciliates Pareto efficiency and stability. Taking as a starting point the recent reform proposed by the Boston School Committee, we propose a marginal modification to reach our objective redefine how students are prioritize. Our proposal is to allow schools to prioritize only a small set of students an then use a common priority order for the rest. Under this condition we propose a score based priority ranking that makes the output of the new Boston Mechanism Pareto efficient and stable.
    Keywords: School allocation problem; Pareto efficient matching
    JEL: D71 C71 C72
    Date: 2011–02–13
  6. By: Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng
    Abstract: This paper reviews the recent research on the determinants of the educational attainment among the children of immigrants born in Canada and the United States, also known as the second generation. The focus is on the gap in educational attainment between the second and third-and-higher generations (the children of domestic-born parents), as well as the intergenerational transmission of education between immigrants and their children. On average, the children of immigrants have educational levels significantly above those of their counterparts in Canada with Canadian-born parents. In the U.S., educational levels are roughly the same between these two groups. In both countries, conditional on the educational attainment of the parents and location of residence, the children of immigrants attain higher levels of education than the third-and-higher generations. Parental education and residential location are major determinants of the numerically positive gap in educational attainment between the children of immigrants and the children of Canadian-born or American-born parents. However, even after accounting for these and other demographic background variables, much of the positive gap between the second generation and the third-and-higher generations remains in Canada. In Canada, parental education is less important as a determinant of educational attainment for the children in immigrant families than for those with Canadian-born parents. Less educated immigrant parents are more likely to see their children attain higher levels of education than are their Canadian-born counterparts. Outcomes vary significantly by ethnic/source region group in both countries. In the U.S., some second-generation ethnic/source region groups, such as those with Mexican, Puerto Rican and other Central/South American backgrounds, have relatively low levels of education (unadjusted data with no controls). However, conditional on background characteristics, these second-generation
    Keywords: Education, training and learning, Children and youth, Ethnic diversity and immigration, Educational attainment, Immigrant children and youth, Ethnic groups and generations in Canada, Outcomes of education
    Date: 2011–02–15
  7. By: Hao Feng; Ming Lu
    Abstract: The extent to which the quantity and quality of education is capitalized into housing prices is a key issue in understanding the relationship between allocation of educational resources and the housing market. Using monthly panel data of 52 residential areas in Shanghai and employing a natural experiment of designating Shanghai Experimental Model Senior High Schools (EMSHS), we find that housing prices in Shanghai have capitalized the access to quality schools and other public goods. One quality school per square kilometer raises average housing prices by approximately 19%, and one best EMSHS per square kilometer increases housing prices by 21%. We also match the schools designated for EMSHS with schools of similar quality but not designated for EMSHS, and compare housing prices in the corresponding areas. We find that the designation increased the housing prices, showing that dissemination of information about school quality was significantly affected by the designation.
    Keywords: education, housing market, capitalization, public goods, natural experiment
    Date: 2010–11
  8. By: Hessel Oosterbeek (University of Amsterdam); Reyn van Ewijk (VU University Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Recent studies for primary and secondary education find positive effects of the share of girls in the classroom on achievement of boys and girls. This study examines whether these results can be extrapolated to post-secondary education. We conduct an experiment in which the shares of girls in workgroups for first year students in economics and business are manipulated and students are randomly assigned to these groups. Boys tend to postpone their dropout decision when surrounded by more girls, and there is also a modest reduction in early absenteeism. On the other hand, boys perform worse on courses with high math content when assigned to a group with many girls. Overall, however, we fail to find substantial gender peer effects on achievement. This in spite of the fact that students' perceptions of the behavior of themselves and their peers are influenced by the share of girls.
    Keywords: Field experiment; Peer effects; University students
    JEL: I22 I28 D83
    Date: 2010–11–11
  9. By: Joern H. Block (Centre for Advanced Small Business Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Lennart Hoogerheide (Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam); Roy Thurik (Centre for Advanced Small Business Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam; EIM Business and Policy Research, Zoetermeer)
    Abstract: Education is a well-known driver of (entrepreneurial) income. The measurement of its influence, however, suffers from endogeneity suspicion. For instance, ability and occupational choice are mentioned as driving both the level of (entrepreneurial) income and of education. Using instrumental variables can provide a way out. However, three questions remain: whether endogeneity is really present, whether it matters and whether the selected instruments make sense. Using Bayesian methods, we find that the relationship between education and entrepreneurial income is indeed endogenous and that the impact of endogeneity on the estimated relationship between educa-tion and income is sizeable. We do so using family background variables and show that relaxing the strict validity assumption of these instruments does not lead to strongly different results. This is an important finding because family background variables are generally strongly correlated with education and are available in most datasets. Our approach is applicable beyond the field of returns to education for income. It applies wherever endogeneity suspicion arises and the three questions become relevant.
    Keywords: Education; income; entrepreneurship; self-employment; endogeneity; instrumental variables; Bayesian analysis; family background variables
    JEL: C11 L26 M13 J24
    Date: 2010–02–26
  10. By: Sharon Belenzon; Mark Schankerman
    Abstract: Using new data on citations to university patents and scientific publications, and measures of distance based on Google maps, we study how geography affects university knowledge diffusion. We show that knowledge flows from patents are localized in two respects: they decline sharply with distance up to about 100 miles, and they are strongly constrained by state borders, controlling for distance. While distance also constrains knowledge spillovers from publications, the state border does not. We investigate how the strength of the state border effect varies with university and state characteristics. It is larger for patents from public, as compared to private, universities and this is partly explained by the local development policies of universities. The border effect is larger in states with stronger non-compete laws that affect intra-state labor mobility, and those with greater reliance on in-state educated scientists and engineers. We confirm the impact of non-compete statutes by studying a policy reform in Michigan that introduced such restrictions.
    Keywords: knowledge spillovers, diffusion, geography, university technology transfer, patents, scientific publications
    JEL: K41 L24 O31 O34
    Date: 2010–08
  11. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); Rocco, Lorenzo (University of Padova)
    Abstract: We study whether a higher share of immigrant pupils affects the school performance of natives using aggregate multi-country data from PISA. We find evidence of a negative and statistically significant relationship. The size of the estimated effect is small: doubling the share of immigrant pupils in secondary schools from its current sample average of 4.8 percent to close to 10 percent would reduce the test score of natives by 1.32 to 1.96 percent, depending on the selected group of natives. There is also evidence that – conditional on the average share of immigrant pupils – reducing the dispersion of this share between schools has small positive effects on the test scores of natives.
    Keywords: immigrants, school performance, natives
    JEL: J15 I28
    Date: 2011–02
  12. By: Mimi Engel; Brian A. Jacob
    Abstract: Recent evidence on the large variance in teacher effectiveness has spurred renewed interest in teacher labor market policies. A substantial body of prior research documents that more highly qualified teachers tend to work in more advantaged schools, although this literature cannot determine the relative importance of supply versus demand factors in generating this equilibrium outcome. To isolate the importance of teacher labor supply, we attended three large teacher job fairs in Chicago during the summer of 2006 and collected detailed information on the specific schools at which teachers interviewed. We document a substantial variation in the number of applicants per school, with some schools having fewer than five applicants and others schools having over 300 applicants, even after controlling for the number and type of positions advertised at the school. We show that the demographic characteristics of schools strongly predict the number of applicants to the school in the expected direction. Interestingly, the geographic location of the school is an extremely strong predictor of applications, even after controlling for a host of observable school and neighborhood characteristics.
    JEL: I21 I28 J01 J08 J2 J45
    Date: 2011–02
  13. By: Koerselman, Kristian (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Curriculum tracking creates incentives before its start, and we should expect scores in tested subjects to be higher at that point. I find evidence from both UK and international data for sizable incentive effects. Incentive effects are important from a methodological perspective because they lead to downward bias in value-added estimates of the later age effect of tracking on achievement. They also invalidate placebo tests that work by regressing pre-tracking scores on tracking policies.
    Keywords: incentives; curriculum tracking; ability streaming; high-stakes testing; student achievement
    JEL: I21 I28 J08 J24
    Date: 2011–02–16

This nep-edu issue is ©2011 by Joao Carlos Correia Leitao. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.