nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2011‒06‒04
eight papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. How Responsive is Investment in Schooling to Changes in Returns? Evidence from an Unusual Pay Reform in Israel's Kibbutzim By Ran Abramitzky; Victor Lavy
  2. Civic returns to education: its effect on homophobia By Kevin Denny
  3. Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement By Sa A. Bui; Steven G. Craig; Scott A. Imberman
  4. The educational aspirations of children of immigrants in Italy By Alessandra Minello; Nicola Barban
  5. The Long-Run Impacts of Early Childhood Education: Evidence From a Failed Policy Experiment By Philip DeCicca; Justin D. Smith
  6. Partner Choice and the Marital College Premium By Pierre-André Chiappori; Bernard Salanié; Yoram Weiss
  7. The Evolution of Wealth Distribution in a Model of Educational Investment with Heterogenous Agents By D'AMATO, Marcello; DI PIETRO, Christian
  8. Teams or Tournaments? A Field Experiment on Cooperation and Competition in Academic Achievement By M. Bigoni; M. Fort; M. Nardotto; T. Reggiani

  1. By: Ran Abramitzky; Victor Lavy
    Abstract: This paper uses a novel dataset to test the important theoretical prediction that the level of investment in schooling is increasing in the rate of return to education. We exploit a unique episode where different Israeli kibbutzim shifted from equal sharing to productivity-based wages in different years, resulting in sharp increases in the return to education. We use a difference-in-differences approach comparing educational outcomes of high school students in kibbutzim that reformed early (the treatment group) and late (the control group), before and after the early reforms (but before the late reforms). The treatment group is shown to be nearly identical to the control group in observable characteristics and pre-reform mean outcomes. We find that students in kibbutzim that reformed early increased their investment in education, as reflected by outcomes such as whether they graduated high school and their average matriculation scores. This effect is stronger for males, and is mainly driven by students whose parents have lower levels of education. It is also stronger for students in kibbutzim that reformed to a greater degree. We use various falsification tests to support our identification strategy and to show that our results are not driven by other factors such as differential time trends or differential exit rates. Our findings support the prediction that education is highly responsive to changes in returns, especially for students from weaker backgrounds.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2011–05
  2. By: Kevin Denny (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the question of whether higher levels of education contribute to greater tolerance of homosexuals. Using survey data for Ireland and exploiting a major reform to education, the abolition of fees for secondary schools in 1968, it is shown that increases in education causes individuals to be significantly more tolerant of homosexuals. Ignoring the endogeneity of education leads to much lower estimates of the effect of education. Replicating the model with data for the United Kingdom generates very similar results.
    Keywords: education, homophobia, tolerance, social returns
    Date: 2011–04–14
  3. By: Sa A. Bui; Steven G. Craig; Scott A. Imberman
    Abstract: In this paper we determine how the receipt of gifted and talented (GT) services affects student outcomes. We identify the causal relationship by exploiting a discontinuity in eligibility requirements and find that for students on the margin there is no discernable impact on achievement even though peers improve substantially. We then use randomized lotteries to examine the impact of attending a GT magnet program relative to GT programs in other schools and find that, despite being exposed to higher quality teachers and peers that are one standard deviation higher achieving, only science achievement improves. We argue that these results are consistent with an invidious comparison model of peer effects offsetting other benefits. Evidence of large reductions in course grades and rank relative to peers in both regression discontinuity and lottery models are consistent with this explanation.
    JEL: H75 I2
    Date: 2011–05
  4. By: Alessandra Minello; Nicola Barban
    Abstract: The general aim of this paper is to investigate the educational aspirations of the children of immigrants living in Italy and attending the last year of primary school (8th grade). We look at the educational aspirations both as a predictor of educational choice and as a measure of social integration. We consider both secondary school track and university aspirations as indicators of educational preferences in the short and long run. Data have been collected during the 2005-2006 school year and they come from the ITAGEN survey: the first Italian nation-wide extensive survey on children with at least one foreign-born parent. First, we analyze association between aspirations and structural characteristics (e.g. migration status and country of origin) and social aspects such as family socioeconomic status, and friendship ties. These aspects seem to be determinants in defining both short and long time aspirations, while long-term aspirations are not associated with migration status. Second, we investigate the relevance of context in delineating educational aspirations. To develop this second aspect we perform multilevel analysis that takes into account both individual and school level variables. Our hypothesis, confirmed both for short and long aspirations, is that attending a school where most of the Italian pupils have high educational aspirations may lead children of immigrants to enhance their own aspirations.
    Keywords: educational aspirations, immigrant integration, ITAGEN, friendship ties, scholastic context
    Date: 2011–05
  5. By: Philip DeCicca; Justin D. Smith
    Abstract: We investigate short and long-term effects of early childhood education using variation created by a unique policy experiment in British Columbia, Canada. Our findings imply starting Kindergarten one year late substantially reduces the probability of repeating the third grade, and meaningfully increases in tenth grade math and reading scores. Effects are highest for low income students and males. Estimates suggest that entering kindergarten early may have a detrimental effect on future outcomes.
    JEL: I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2011–05
  6. By: Pierre-André Chiappori (Columbia University - Department of Economics); Bernard Salanié (Columbia University - Department of Economics); Yoram Weiss (Tel-Aviv University - Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Several theoretical contributions have argued that the returns to schooling within marriage play a crucial role for human capital investments. Our paper quantifies the evolution of these returns over the last decades. We consider a frictionless matching framework á la Becker-Shapley-Shubik, in which the gain generated by a match between two individuals is the sum of a systematic effect that only depends on the spouses' education classes and a match-specific term that we treat as random; following Choo and Siow (2006), we assume the latter component has an additively separable structure. We derive a complete, theoretical characterization of the model. We show that if the supermodularity of the surplus function is invariant over time and errors have extreme value distributions with time-invariant but education-dependent variances, the model is overidentified. We apply our method to US data on individuals born between 1943 and 1972. Our model fits the data very closely; moreover, we find that the deterministic part of the surplus is indeed supermodular and that, in line with theoretical predictions, the "marital college premium" has increased for women but not for men over the period.
    Date: 2011
  7. By: D'AMATO, Marcello (CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno - Italy); DI PIETRO, Christian (CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno - Italy)
    Abstract: The implications of individual heterogeneity for the evolution of wealth distribution are studied in a standard model of occupational choice with financial market imperfections and local non convexities in education investment technology. We consider heterogeneity in the cost of educational investment, interpreted as genetic variation at the level of lineage. Ergodicity of the wealth distribution is obtained whenever the (exogenous)distribution of education costs entails the presence of ability types for which the educational investment is inefficient vis a vis financial investment, regardless of how ”large” the support is. Conversely, poverty traps can emerge only if investment is efficient for every single agent in the economy. We show that under quite general conditions, the accumulation of wealth at the lineage level does not eliminate financial market imperfections over the long run, motivating our exploration of policy implications. In particular heterogeneity requires more persitent policies to achieve similar results as in the standard case. On the other hand policies can be effective in environments where they would fail under the assumption of homogeneous costs.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility; inequality dynamics; occupational choice; educational investment; borrowing constraints
    JEL: D31 D91 I21 J24 O15
    Date: 2011–05–25
  8. By: M. Bigoni; M. Fort; M. Nardotto; T. Reggiani
    Abstract: This paper assesses the effect of two stylized and antithetic non-monetary incentive schemes on students’ effort. We collect data from a field experiment where incentives are exogenously imposed, performance is monitored and individual characteristics are observed. Students are randomly assigned to a tournament scheme that fosters competition between coupled students, a cooperative scheme that promotes information sharing and collaboration between students and a control treatment in which students can neither compete, nor cooperate. In line with theoretical predictions, we find that competition induces higher effort with respect to cooperation and cooperation does not increase effort with respect to the baseline. However, this is true only for men, while women do not seem to react to non-monetary incentives.
    JEL: A22 C93 I20
    Date: 2011–05

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