nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2011‒09‒16
twenty papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Do Neighbours Affect Teenage Outcomes? Evidence from Neighbourhood Changes in England By Stephen Gibbons; Olmo Silva; Felix Weinhardt
  2. From Grants to Loans and Fees: The Demand for Post-Compulsory Education in England and Wales from 1955 to 2008 By Peter Dolton; Li Lin
  3. Should economists listen to educational psychologists? Some economics of student motivation By Jocelyn Donze and Trude Gunnes
  4. Does Additional Spending Help Urban Schools? An Evaluation Using Boundary Discontinuities By Stephen Gibbons; Sandra McNally; Martina Viarengo
  5. When do Better Schools Raise Housing Prices? Evidence from Paris Public and Private Schools By Gabrielle Fack; Julien Grenet
  6. Do Differences in School's Instruction Time Explain International Achievement Gaps in Maths, Science and Language? Evidence from Developed and Developing Countries By Victor Lavy
  7. The Roads to Success: Analyzing Dropout and Degree Completion at University By Elena Arias Ortis; Catherine Dehon
  8. Starting School And Leaving Welfare: The Impact of Public Education on Lone Parents' Welfare Receipt By Mike Brewer; Claire Crawford
  9. Financial education and investment attitudes in high schools: evidence from a randomized experiment By Leonardo Becchetti; Stefano Caiazza; Decio Coviello
  10. La calidad de los maestros en Colombia: Desempeño en el examen de Estado del ICFES y la probabilidad de graduarse en el área de educación By Juan D. Barón; Leonardo Bonilla Mejía
  11. Human Capital and Productivity in British Columbia By Alexander Murray; Andrew Sharpe
  12. Educational Achievement of Second Generation Immigrants: An International Comparison By Christian Dustmann; Tommaso Frattini; Gianadrea Lanzara
  13. Does the Student-Loan Burden Weigh into the Decision to Start a Family? By Gicheva, Dora
  14. Gender ratios at top PhD programs in economics By Galina Hale; Tali Regev
  15. Educational “Goodwill”: Measuring the Intangible Assets at Highly Selective Private Colleges and Universities By Peter Nurnberg; Morton Schapiro; David Zimmerman
  16. The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors? By Brunello, Giorgio; Fort, Margherita; Schneeweis, Nicole; Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf
  17. Education, Preferences, and Household Welfare By Marcel Fafchamps; Forhad Shilpi
  18. Ireland's Generic Repeat Design Schools Programme By Tony Sheppard
  19. “Schools of the Future” Initiative in California By Kathleen Moore
  20. Highly qualified Mexican immigrants in the U.S. and transfer of resources from Mexico to the U.S. through the education costs of Mexican migrants By Adolfo Albo; Juan Luis Ordaz Diaz

  1. By: Stephen Gibbons; Olmo Silva; Felix Weinhardt
    Abstract: In this paper, we use census data on several cohorts of secondary school students in England matched to detailed information on place of residence to investigate the effect of neighbours' background characteristics and prior achievements on teenagers' educational and behavioural outcomes. Our analysis focuses on the age-11 to age-16 time-lapse, and uses variation in neighbourhood composition over this period that is driven by residential mobility. Exploiting the longitudinal nature and detail of our data, we are able to control for pupil unobserved characteristics, neighbourhood fixed-effects and time-trends, school-by-cohort unobservables, as well as students' observable attributes and prior attainments. Our results provide little evidence that neighbours' characteristics significantly affect pupil test score progression during secondary education. Similarly, we find that neighbourhood composition only exerts a small effect on pupil behavioural outcomes, such as general attitudes towards schooling, substance use and anti-social behaviour.
    Keywords: Neighbourhood effects, cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes, secondary schools
    JEL: C21 I20 H75 R23
    Date: 2010–11
  2. By: Peter Dolton; Li Lin
    Abstract: The UK has progressively moved from a Higher Education (HE) system which is funded at the tax payers' expense to one which is funded by individual participants (and their parents) by scrapping student grants, introducing student loans and charging tuition fees. The purpose of this paper is to identify the impact of these changes on the demand for HE using time-series data for England and Wales over the period 1955 to 2008. We use a Seemingly Unrelated Regressions model of three indicators of demand for post-compulsory education allowing for structural breaks. Tests show that most of the breaks occurred in line with several important policy changes. We find that less generous student financial support arrangements have had a significant negative impact on university enrolment. We simulate the impact of raising tuition fees to £9,000 pa and find that this will reduce demand for HE from boys by 7.51 percentage points and from girls by 4.92 percentage points.
    Keywords: post compulsory education, student finance, structural change
    JEL: J08 I22 I28
    Date: 2011–09
  3. By: Jocelyn Donze and Trude Gunnes (Statistics Norway)
    Abstract: This paper sheds light on the role of student motivation in the success of schooling. We develop a model in which a teacher engages in the management of student motivation through the choice of the classroom environment. We show that the teacher is able to motivate high-ability students, at least in the short run, by designing a competitive environment. For students with low ability, risk aversion, or when engaged in a long term relationship, the teacher designs a classroom environment that is more focused on mastery and self-referenced standards. In doing so, the teacher helps to develop the intrinsic motivation of students and their capacity to overcome failures.
    Keywords: Education; Student Achievement; Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation; Effort; Goal Theory.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2011–09
  4. By: Stephen Gibbons; Sandra McNally; Martina Viarengo
    Abstract: Improvement of educational attainment in schools in urban, disadvantaged areas is an important priority for policy - particularly in countries like England which have a long tail at the bottom of the educational distribution and where there is much concern about low social mobility. An anomaly in the spatial dimension of school funding policy in England allows us to examine the effect of increasing school expenditure for schools in urban areas. This anomaly arises because an 'area cost adjustment' is made in how central government allocates funds to Local Authorities (school districts) whereas, in reality, teachers are drawn from the same labour market and are paid according to national pay scales. This is one of the features that give rise to neighbouring schools on either side of a Local Authority boundary being allocated very different resources, even if they have very similar characteristics. We find that these funding disparities give rise to sizeable differences in pupil attainment in national tests at the end of primary school. This finding lends adds to the evidence that school resources have an important role to play in improving educational attainment and has direct policy implications for the current 'pupil premium' policy in England.
    Keywords: Urban schools, education, resources,
    JEL: R0 I21 H52
    Date: 2011–09
  5. By: Gabrielle Fack; Julien Grenet
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate how housing prices react to the quality of education offered by neighbouring public and private schools. The organization of secondary schooling in the city of Paris, which combines residence-based-assignment to public schools with a well-developed and almost entirely publicly funded private school system, offers a valuable empirical context for analyzing how private schools affect the capitalization of public school performance in housing prices. Using comprehensive data on both schools and real estate transact ions over the period 1997-2004, we develop a matching framework to carefully compare sales across school attendance boundaries. We find that a standard deviation increase in public school performance raises housing prices by 1.4 to 2.4%. Moreover, we show that the capitalization of public school performance in the price of real estate shrinks as the availability of private schools increases in the neighbourhood. Our results confirm the predictions of general equilibrium models of school choice that private schools, by providing an advantageous outside option to parents, tend to mitigate the impact of public school performance on housing prices.
    Keywords: School attendance zones, private schools, housing markets,residential segregation
    JEL: H41 I21 I28 R21
    Date: 2010–10
  6. By: Victor Lavy
    Abstract: There are large differences across countries in instructional time in schooling institutions. Can these differences explain some of the differences across countries in pupils' achievements in different subjects? What is the likely impact of changes in instructional time? While research in recent years provides convincing evidence about the effect of several inputs in the education production function, there is limited evidence on the effect of classroom instructional time. Such evidence is of policy relevance in many countries, and it became very concrete recently as President Barrack Obama announced the goal of extending the school week and year as a central objective in his proposed education reform for the US. In this paper, I estimate the effects of instructional time on students' academic achievement in math, science and language. I estimate linear and non-linear instructional time effects controlling for unobserved heterogeneity of both pupils and schools. The evidence from a sample of 15 year olds from over fifty countries that participated in PISA 2006 consistently shows that instructional time has a positive and significant effect on test scores. The effect is large relative to the standard deviation of the within pupil test score distribution. The OLS results are highly biased upward but the within student estimates are very similar across groups of developed and middle-income countries. However, the estimated effect of instructional time in the sample of developing countries is much lower than the effect size in the developed countries. Several checks for threats of identification support the causal interpretation of this evidence. I obtain very similar results when I use as an alternative data from primary and middle schools in Israel and a somewhat different identification strategy. Finally, I also explore some correlations that suggest that suggest that the productivity of instructional time is higher in countries that implemented s
    Date: 2010–10
  7. By: Elena Arias Ortis; Catherine Dehon
    Abstract: In this paper we study the factors that influence both dropout and degree completion (4 or 5 years to earn a degree) at university using survival analysis. In particular, we apply the set of discrete-time methods for competing risks event history analysis described in Scott and Kennedy (2005). Using the competing risks model, we show that foreign students are more likely to experience consecutive enrollments without actually getting a degree. Also, having a mother with a higher education degree reduces significantly the risk of dropping out and at the same time increases the chance of graduation. Finally, the impact of a variable can evolve throughout the academic path. For example, “having chosen a strong mathematical profile during high school ” reduces significantly the risk of dropping out only in the early years of study.
    Date: 2011–09
  8. By: Mike Brewer; Claire Crawford
    Abstract: Childcare costs are often viewed as one of the biggest barriers to work, particularly among lone parents on low incomes. Children in England are eligible to attend free part-time nursery classes (equivalent to pre-kindergarten) from the academic term after they turn 3, and are typically eligible to start free full-time public education on 1 September after they turn four. These rules mean that children born one day apart may start nursery classes up to four months apart, and may start school up to one year apart. We exploit these discontinuities to investigate the impact of a youngest child being eligible for part-time nursery education and full-time primary education on welfare receipt and employment patterns amongst lone parents receiving welfare. In contrast to previous studies, we are able to estimate the precise timing (relative to the date on which part-time or full-time education begins) of any impact on labour supply, by using rich administrative data. Amongst those receiving welfare when their youngest child is aged approximately three and a half, we find a small but significant effect of free full-time public education on both employment and welfare receipt (of around 2 percentage points, or 10-15 per cent), which peaks eight to nine months after the child becomes eligible (aged approximately 4 years and 9 months). We find weaker evidence of an even smaller effect of eligibility for part-time nursery education. This suggests that the expansion of public education programmes to younger disadvantaged children may only encourage a small number of low income lone parents to return to work (although, of course, this is not the primary aim of such programmes).
    Keywords: labour supply, school entry, regression discontinuity, lone parents, welfare receipt
    JEL: I21 J22
    Date: 2010–10
  9. By: Leonardo Becchetti (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Stefano Caiazza (Faculty of Economics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"); Decio Coviello (HEC Montreal and University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: We experimentally study the effect of financial education on investment attitudes in a large sample of high school students in Italy. Students in the treated classes were taught a course in finance and interviewed before and after the study, while controls were only interviewed. Our principal result is that the difference-in-difference estimates of the effect of the course are not statistically significant. However, the course in finance reduced the virtual demand for cash, and increased the level of financial literacy and the propensity to read (and the capacity to understand) economic articles in both treated and control classes compared with pre-treatment baseline levels. A breakdown of the cognitive process, which is statistically significant for the classes treated, suggests that error and ignorance reduction was sizable, and that the progress in financial literacy was stronger in subgroups which exhibited lower ex-ante knowledge levels.
    Keywords: financial education, financial literacy, demand for money balances, randomized experiment.
    Date: 2011–09–07
  10. By: Juan D. Barón; Leonardo Bonilla Mejía
    Abstract: Existe una estrecha relación entre la calidad de los maestros y la calidad de la educación que reciben los estudiantes. En Colombia, poco se sabe acerca de las competencias académicas de los maestros. Este documento investiga sobre el estándar académico de las personas que se gradúan de programas superiores en educación. Los resultados indican que existe una relación inversa entre el desempeño en la prueba de Estado del ICFES y la probabilidad de graduarse de un programa en el ´área de educación. Estimamos que esta probabilidad es cinco veces más alta cuando se obtuvo un puntaje del ICFES entre los más bajos que cuando se obtuvo un resultado entre los más altos. Esta diferencia es a ´un mayor para las mujeres. Las oportunidades más rentables en otras ocupaciones para las mujeres, particularmente para las de mayor competencia, y una distribución de salarios comprimida en el mercado de maestros explicarían el estándar académico bajo que se observa en esta profesión. ABSTRACT: There is a close relationship between teacher quality and the quality of education. Yet little is known in Colombia about the quality of teachers. In this paper we ask about the academic standard of people who obtain a tertiary degree in education. Results show a negative relationship between results in the standarized test to enter higher education (ICFES) and the probability of obtaining a tertiary degree in education (relative to other areas of study). We estimate that this probability is five-times higher for people with results among the lowest scores than for people with results among the highest. This difference broadens when we consider only women. Higher returns in alternative ocupations for high-ability women, and a compressed wage distribution for teachers would explain the lower academic standard of people entering teaching that we observe.
    Date: 2011–09–01
  11. By: Alexander Murray; Andrew Sharpe
    Abstract: This report provides an assessment of human capital development in British Columbia. The province's performance is above average according to the majority of the indicators we analyze, relative to both the rest of Canada and other OECD countries. However, this does not mean that there is no room for improvement. We identify four areas in which improvements would be likely to contribute to productivity growth in British Columbia: the underutilization of the skills of recent immigrants; the poor educational outcomes of Aboriginal people; the below-average production of advanced human capital through graduate training; and the problem of high school non-completion. We provide policy recommendations pertaining to each of these four challenges.
    Keywords: productivity, human capital, immigration, education, aboriginal education gap
    JEL: D24 J24
    Date: 2011–08
  12. By: Christian Dustmann (University College London and CReAM); Tommaso Frattini (University of Milan, CReAM, IZA and Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano); Gianadrea Lanzara (University College London and CReAM)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the educational achievements of second generation immigrants in several OECD countries in a comparative perspective. We first show that the educational achievement (measured as test scores in PISA achievement tests) of children of immigrants is quite heterogeneous across countries, and strongly related to achievements of the parent generation. The disadvantage considerably reduces, and even disappears for some countries, once we condition on parental background characteristics. Second, we provide novel analysis of cross-country comparisons of test scores of children from the same country of origin, and compare (conditional) achievement scores in home and host countries. The focus is on Turkish immigrants, whom we observe in several destination countries. We investigate both mathematics and reading test scores, and show that the results vary according to the type of skills tested. For mathematics, in most countries and even if the test scores achievement of the children of Turkish immigrants is lower than that of their native peers, it is still higher than that of children of their cohort in the home country - conditional and unconditional on parental background characteristics. The analysis suggests that higher school quality relative to that in the home country is important to explain immigrant children’s educational advantage
    Keywords: Education, Second-Generation Immigrants
    JEL: J61 J62 I2
    Date: 2011–09–06
  13. By: Gicheva, Dora (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: I examine the relationship between student debt and the timing of marriage. The life-cycle consumption smoothing model implies that student loans should have a very small effect on consumption at any given point in time and should not affect the timing of family formation. I use the Survey of Consumer Finances to show that the amount of student borrowing is negatively related to the probability of marriage, but the strength of this relationship diminishes with age. I use exogenous variations in the availability of student loans since the 1970s to address the endogeneity of student debt. I supplement my results with data from a panel survey of registrants for the Graduate Management Admission Test. Data on reported marriage expectations suggest that Master of Business Administration students who borrow for their education may not have perfect foresight.
    Keywords: Student Loans; Credit Constraints; Timing of Marriage
    JEL: D91 H52 I23 J12
    Date: 2011–09–07
  14. By: Galina Hale; Tali Regev
    Abstract: Analyzing university faculty and graduate student data for the top-ten U.S. economics departments between 1987 and 2007, we find that there are persistent differences in gender composition for both faculty and graduate students across institutions and that the share of female faculty and the share of women in the entering PhD class are positively correlated. We find, using instrumental variables analysis, robust evidence that this correlation is driven by the causal effect of the female faculty share on the gender composition of the entering PhD class. This result provides an explanation for persistent underrepresentation of women in economics, as well as for persistent segregation of women across academic fields.
    Keywords: Economics - Study and teaching ; Universities and colleges ; Economists
    Date: 2011
  15. By: Peter Nurnberg; Morton Schapiro; David Zimmerman
    Abstract: In this paper we utilize data on the head-to-head loss rate for students accepted at Williams College, but who opt to enroll elsewhere. For example, we employ data that measure the fraction of students admitted to Williams and to Amherst (or Harvard or Yale, etc.) but who opt to attend Amherst (or Harvard or Yale, etc.) instead of Williams. We then model this head-to-head loss rate using data from a variety of sources. A better understanding of the head-to-head loss rate can assist an institution in the competition for high quality students. Importantly, it can also shed light on the degree to which some part of the loss rate might be due to “intangible” differences between the schools being compared. These intangibles (positive or negative) might grant a school greater success (or failure) in the market for students than an objective accounting of its characteristics might suggest. Such an advantage (or disadvantage) is closely aligned with the business concept of “goodwill.” We present preliminary evidence on how a quantitative measure of educational goodwill can be computed.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2011–09
  16. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); Fort, Margherita (University of Bologna); Schneeweis, Nicole (University of Linz); Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf (University of Linz)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the contribution of health related behaviors to the education gradient, using an empirical approach that addresses the endogeneity of both education and behaviors in the health production function. We apply this approach to a multi-country data set, which includes 12 European countries and has information on education, health and health behaviors for a sample of individuals aged 50+. Focusing on self reported poor health as our health outcome, we find that education has a protective role both for males and females. When evaluated at the sample mean of the dependent variable, one additional year of education reduces self-reported poor health by 7.1% for females and by 3.1% for males. Health behaviors – measured by smoking, drinking, exercising and the body mass index – contribute to explaining the gradient. We find that the effects of education on smoking, drinking, exercising and eating a proper diet account for at most 23% to 45% of the entire effect of education on health, depending on gender.
    Keywords: health, education, health behaviors, Europe
    JEL: J1 I12 I21
    Date: 2011–08
  17. By: Marcel Fafchamps; Forhad Shilpi
    Abstract: Using census date from Nepal, we examine how the marginal effects of male and female education on various household welfar indicators vary with education levels. Parental education is associated with better household outcomes, but marginal effects vary with education level. Higher child survival, for instance, is associated higher primary education for mothers and higher secondary education for fathers. We calculate conditional makrginal effects that correct for assortative matching of spouses and compare them to unconditional estimates. The two differ because mother and father education are partial sustitues. We also show that the marginal effects of education have fallen over time while education levels were rising. Using the relative scarcity of women in the marriage market as proxy for the wight of female preferences in household choices, we find thta educated mothers prefer better educated children, but also prefer their children to work, possibly becuase the yare more likely to work themselves.
    Date: 2011
  18. By: Tony Sheppard
    Abstract: The Irish Department of Education and Skills (DoE) is strongly committed to energy efficiency and to reducing CO2 by developing and implementing energy level ceilings in relation to school design that aim to remain below half of the accepted good practice in the field. This approach works within normal departmental budgetary limits to create school buildings that are breaking ground for building designers.
    Keywords: school design, energy efficiency, extendibility, compactness, repeatability
    Date: 2011–09
  19. By: Kathleen Moore
    Abstract: This article provides an overview of the “Schools of the Future” initiative introduced in California in January 2011 by the newly elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. Its objective is to focus on the reform of the state school facility programme and to design highperforming, “greener” schools.
    Keywords: investment, infrastructure, sustainability, energy efficiency, high performance
    Date: 2011–09
  20. By: Adolfo Albo; Juan Luis Ordaz Diaz
    Abstract: In this article, we calculate the number of Mexican immigrants with doctorates living in the United States. We describe some of their characteristics and point to some factors that contribute to the emigration of this group of persons. We also quantify the transfer that Mexico has made to the United States through the education costs of the Mexican migrants prior to their emigration. On average, we find that over recent years Mexico has made a transfer of resources equivalent to just over half a percentage point of GDP each year.
    Date: 2011–08

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