nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2011‒04‒02
nine papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. A Preliminary Analysis of SACMEQ III South Africa By Nic Spaull
  2. Quantitative and qualitative aspects of education in South Africa: An analysis using the National Income Dynamic Study By Mia de Vos
  3. Does Abolishing Fees Reduce School Quality? Evidence from Kenya By Tessa Bold; Mwangi Kimenyi; Germano Mwabu; Justin Sandefur
  4. Segregation in primary schools - Do school districts really matter? Evidence from policy reforms By Anna Makles; Kerstin Schneider
  5. Time is money: Could deferred graduate retirement finance higher education? By Bilal Barakat
  6. Teachers' Evaluations and the Definition of the Situation in the Classroom By Dominik Becker; Klaus Birkelbach
  7. Body weight of Italians: the weight of Education By Vincenzo Atella; Joanna Kopinska
  8. Privatization of Knowledge: Did the U.S. Get It Right? (New Version). By Cozzi, Guido; Galli, Silvia
  9. Human capital and productivity By Angel de la Fuente

  1. By: Nic Spaull (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: The many and varied links between student socio-economic status and educational outcomes have been well documented in the South African economics of education literature. The strong legacy of apartheid and the consequent correlation between education and wealth have meant that, generally speaking, poorer students perform worse academically. The present study uses the recent Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ III) dataset for South Africa to identify those factors that have a significant effect on student maths and reading performance in Grade 6. The research confirms previous findings that socio-economic status, and particularly school socioeconomic status, is important when understanding student success or failure. Other factors which contribute significantly to student performance are homework frequency, preschool education, and the availability of reading textbooks. In contrast, teacher-subject knowledge was found to have only a modest impact on Grade 6 student performance. Policy interventions are also highlighted. The study concludes that South Africa is still a tale of two schools: one which is wealthy, functional and able to educate students, while the other is poor, dysfunctional, and unable to equip students with the necessary numeracy and literacy skills they should be acquiring in primary school. Nevertheless, it suggests that there are some options available to policy-makers which are expected to have a positive effect on student performance.
    Keywords: SACMEQ, South Africa, primary education, education, education production function, education policy, economics of education
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Mia de Vos (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: Based on a graphical and statistical analysis of the National Income Dynamic Study (NIDS), this paper provides a comprehensive picture of the educational context in South Africa. The main question under consideration is whether quantitative and qualitative educational attainment differs significantly along racial lines. The data shows that the government has been largely successful in reducing the race-based educational gap in terms of school enrolment and years of education successfully completed. Matriculation results and numeracy test scores unfortunately suggest that higher levels of educational attainment do not necessarily reflect positively on educational outcomes. This implies that the South African educational system is still characterized by large differentials in the quality of education.
    Keywords: Education quality, Cognitive skills, South Africa, Racial differential
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Tessa Bold; Mwangi Kimenyi; Germano Mwabu; Justin Sandefur
    Abstract: In 2003 Kenya abolished user fees in all government primary schools. We find that this Free Primary Education (FPE) policy resulted in a decline in public school quality and increased demand for private schooling. However, the former did not reflect a decline in value added by public schools - as anticipated if fees contribute to local accountability - but rather the selection of weaker pupils into free education. In contrast, affluent children who exited to the private sector in response to FPE benefited from a strong, causal effect on their exam performance which is robust to selection on unobserved ability.
    Keywords: user fees; school quality; private schools
    JEL: H52 I22 O15
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Anna Makles (Department of Economics University of Wuppertal); Kerstin Schneider (Department of Economics University of Wuppertal)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of the abolition of school districts in North-Rhine Westphalia on ethnic segregation in primary schools, using data from the school statistics from 2006/07 to 2008/09. The effect of the new policy is not easily identified, because several additional changes to the school law and nationality law have also affected segregation. We propose using a measure of systematic segregation and a Wald test in order to test for differences in systematic segregation and to estimate a random effects model to explain differences in systematic segregation across municipalities. The ethnic groups analyzed are Turkish and non-Turkish students, non-German and German students, and Muslim and non-Muslim students. It is shown that abolishing school districts has not increased systematic segregation in primary schools. However, segregation has been affected by policy changes other than the abolition of school districts.
    Keywords: School choice, policy reform, systematic segregation, dissimilarity index, school districts
    JEL: H75 I21 I28 J15
    Date: 2011–03
  5. By: Bilal Barakat
    Abstract: Higher education is never free — the question is: who should pay for it? Current policy debates in Europe are increasingly focusing on raising the share of private funding. To date, policy discussions have centred on a relatively small number of alternatives, namely full public funding, tuition fees, either up-front or delayed and income-contingent, or a surtax on graduate incomes. Here, I present an alternative that, to my knowledge, has not been suggested previously, but sidesteps some important objections against other forms of private contributions. The basic idea explored here is to increase the statutory retirement age for higher education graduates relative to non-graduates. In principle, the resulting decrease in future public pension liabilities can be converted into increased funds for present spending on higher education. In this first discussion of the above proposal I consider important caveats, perform an order-of-magnitude estimate of financial feasibility, i.e. whether deferred graduate retirement (DGR) could potentially raise sufficient funds to replace tuition fees, and discuss advantages and disadvantages compared to more established policy options. I conclude that, at least in the European context, DGR is potentially feasible both financially and politically, has a number of desirable properties compared to the alternatives, and deserves more serious investigation.
    Keywords: Higher education, cost-sharing, retirement age.
    Date: 2011–03
  6. By: Dominik Becker (CGS, University of Cologne); Klaus Birkelbach (University of Duisburg-Essen)
    Abstract: The theoretical contribution of this paper is to regard teachers' evaluations with a prognostic claim about students' future academic ability as a result of a special social situation in the classroom. We assume that after teachers have framed the social situation, particular scripts of action will determine the criteria on which teachers ground their evaluations. In concrete terms, we propose a theoretical approach that integrates existing meritocratic and 'habitus' explanations in the comprehensive framework of frame selection theory with its important distinction between a more automatic and a more rational type of information processing. Our empirical contribution is to test the hypotheses that we deduced from our theoretical assumptions in a set of structural equation models. Using data from the Cologne High School Panel (CHiSP), we find that even when controlling for the path structure of the model, indicators for both kinds of concepts are statistically significant. However, regardless of the underlying type of information processing, the predictive power of indicators operationalizing the meritocratic explanation is comparatively higher.
    Keywords: teachers' evaluations, inequality in educational opportunities, frame selection theory, structural equation modeling
    Date: 2011–03–22
  7. By: Vincenzo Atella (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Joanna Kopinska (University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: In this paper we empirically study the relationship between education attainment and Body Mass Index (BMI), using as theoretical reference an energy balance model. Our data consist of individual level data from eight waves of the Italian survey on life-styles. We use Quantile Regression (QR) technique to study the impact of education along the whole distribution of the BMI and provide evidence that the effect of education on BMI is greater in magnitude for the overweight and the obese. This effect is reinforced (three times greater) once we account for the endogeneity of some of the determinants of BMI (IVQTE). Finally, we adopt a model specification that allows us to test if education is likely to affect BMI indirectly, through channels such as the adoption of better life styles (healthier diet and more sport activities). Results seem to confirm this hypothesis, and this may reveal an important information for policymakers.
    Keywords: BMI, Instrumental variables, Quantile regression, IVQTE
    JEL: C23 I11 L23 I12 I21
    Date: 2011–03–23
  8. By: Cozzi, Guido; Galli, Silvia
    Abstract: To foster innovation and growth should basic research be publicly or privately funded? This paper studies the impact of the gradual shift in the U.S. patent system towards the patentability and commercialization of the basic R&D undertaken by universities. We see this movement as making universities becoming responsive to "market" forces. Prior to 1980, universities undertook research using an exogenous stock of researchers that were motivated by "curiosity." After 1980, universities patent their research and behave as private firms. This move, in a context of two-stage inventions (basic and applied research) has an a priori ambiguous effect on innovation and welfare. We build a Schumpeterian model and match it to the data to assess this important turning point.
    Keywords: R&D and Growth; Sequential Innovation; Basic Research; Patent Laws.
    JEL: O41 O34 O31
    Date: 2011–01–15
  9. By: Angel de la Fuente
    Abstract: This paper surveys the empirical literature on human capital and productivity and summarizes the results of my own work on the subject. On balance, the available evidence suggests that investment in education has a positive, significant and sizable effect on productivity growth.According to my estimates, moreover, the social returns to investment in human capital are higher than those on physical capital in most EU countries and in many regions of Spain.
    Keywords: human capital, productivity, growth, measurement error JEL Classification: O40, I20, O30, C19.
    Date: 2011–02

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