nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒01‒18
twenty papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Education policy and early fertility: Lessons from an expansion of upper secondary schooling By Grönqvist, Hans; Hall, Caroline
  2. Affirmative Action in Higher Education in India: Targeting, Catch Up, and Mismatch at IIT-Delhi By Verónica C. Frisancho Robles; Kala Krishna
  3. Regulation in the Market for Education and Optimal Choice of Curriculum By Gerald Eisenkopf; Ansgar Wohlschlegel
  4. Students’ Perceptions of Teacher Biases: Experimental Economics in Schools By Amine Ouazad; Lionel Page
  5. The Implication of Peer and Parental Influences on University Attendance: A Gender Comparison By Louis N. Christofides; Michael Hoy; Joniada Milla; Thanasis Stengos
  6. The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood By Raj Chetty; John N. Friedman; Jonah E. Rockoff
  7. Le risorse finanziarie e cognitive del sistema universitario italiano. Uno sguardo d'insieme. By Verde, Melania; Fia, Magali'
  8. Valuing School Quality Using Boundary Discontinuities By Stephen Gibbons; Stephen Machin; Olmo Silva
  9. Going to university? Family background and tertiary education enrolment in France and Italy By Elisabetta Croci Angelini; Francesco Farina
  10. Trends in Grades, UP School of Economics By Gwendolyn R. Tecson
  11. Do High-School Teachers Really Matter? By C. Kirabo Jackson
  12. Why are Boys Falling Behind Girls in Schooling? By Edita E. Tan; Kristine S. Canales; Kevin G. Cruz; Jan Carlo B. Punongbayan
  13. The Effect of Providing Breakfast on Student Performance: Evidence from an In-Class Breakfast Program By Scott A. Imberman; Adriana D. Kugler
  14. Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons By David M. Cutler; Adriana Lleras-Muney
  15. Timing of College Enrollment and Family Formation Decisions By Maria K. Humlum; Jannie H.G. Kristoffersen; Rune Vejlin
  16. Chasing Graduate Jobs? By Irene Mosca; Robert Wright
  17. Developing cross disciplinary skills through an undergraduate research project By Mehlhorn, Joey; Roberts, Jason; Cain, Amanda; Parrott, Scott
  18. Academic quality measurement: A multivariate approach By Andres Redchuk; Javier M. Moguerza; Clara Laura Cardone Riportella
  19. Evidence on the Efficacy of School-Based Incentives for Healthy Living By Harold E. Cuffe; William T. Harbaugh; Jason M. Lindo; Giancarlo Musto; Glen R. Waddell
  20. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Education and Health Interventions in Developing Countries By Patrick J. McEwan

  1. By: Grönqvist, Hans (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Hall, Caroline (Institute for Labor Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU) and Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS))
    Abstract: This paper studies effects of education policy on early fertility. We study a major educational reform in Sweden in which vocational tracks in upper secondary school were prolonged from two to three years and the curricula were made more academic. Our identification strategy takes advantage of cross-regional and cross-time variation in the implementation of a pilot scheme preceding the reform in which several municipalities evaluated the new policy. The empirical analysis draws on rich population micro data. We find that women who enrolled in the new program were significantly less likely to give birth early in life and that this effect is driven by women with higher opportunity costs of child rearing. There is however no statistically significant effect on mens fertility decisions. Our results suggest that the social benefits of changes in education policy may extend beyond those usually claimed.
    Keywords: Schooling reform; teenage childbearing; fertility
    JEL: I20 J13
    Date: 2011–12–22
  2. By: Verónica C. Frisancho Robles; Kala Krishna
    Abstract: Affirmative action policies in higher education are used in many countries to try to socially advance historically disadvantaged minorities. Although the underlying social objectives of these policies are rarely criticized, there is intense debate over the actual impact of such preferences in higher education on educational performance and labor outcomes. Most of the work uses U.S. data where clean performance indicators are hard to find. Using a remarkably detailed dataset on the 2008 graduating class from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi we evaluate the impact of affirmative action policies in higher education on minority students focusing on three central issues in the current debate: targeting, catch up, and mismatch. In addition, we present preliminary evidence on labor market discrimination. We find that admission preferences effectively target minority students who are poorer than the average displaced non-minority student. Moreover, by analyzing the college performance of minority and non-minority students as they progress through college, we find that scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students, especially those in more selective majors, fall behind their same-major peers which is the opposite of catching up. We also identify evidence in favor of the mismatch hypothesis: once we control for selection into majors, minority students who enroll in more selective majors as a consequence of admission preferences end up earning less than their same-caste counterparts in less selective majors. Finally, although there is no evidence of discrimination against minority students in terms of wages, we find that scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students are more likely to get worse jobs, even after controlling for selection.
    JEL: I20 J15 J31 J7
    Date: 2012–01
  3. By: Gerald Eisenkopf; Ansgar Wohlschlegel
    Abstract: We analyze educational institutions incentives to set up demanding or lax curricula in duopolistic markets for education with endogenous enrolment of students. We assume that there is a positive externality of student achievement on the local economy. Comparing the case of regulated tuition fees with an unregulated market, we identify the following inefficiencies: Under regulated tuition fees schools will set up inefficiently lax curricula in an attempt to please low-quality students even if schools internalize some of the externality. On the other hand, unregulated schools set up excessively differentiated curricula in order to relax competition in tuition fees. Deregulation gets more attractive if a larger fraction of the externality is internalized.
    Keywords: Education, Local Externalities, Produkt Differentiation, Price Competition, Vouchers
    Date: 2011
  4. By: Amine Ouazad; Lionel Page
    Abstract: We put forward a new experimental economics design with monetary incentives to estimate students' perceptions of grading discrimination. We use this design in a large field experiment which involved 1,200 British students in grade 8 classrooms across 29 schools. In this design, students are given an endowment they can invest on a task where payoff depends on performance. The task is a written verbal test which is graded non anonymously by their teacher, in a random half of the classrooms, and graded anonymously by an external examiner in the other random half of the classrooms. We find significant evidence that students' choices reflect perceptions of biases in teachers' grading practices. Our results show systematic gender interaction effects: male students invest less with female teachers than with male teachers while female students invest more with male teachers than with female teachers. Interestingly, female students' perceptions are not in line with actual discrimination: Teachers tend to give better grades to students of their own gender. Results do not suggest that ethnicity and socioeconomic status play a role.
    Keywords: Teacher biases, educational achievement
    Date: 2012–01
  5. By: Louis N. Christofides (Universities of Cyprus and Guelph.); Michael Hoy (University of Guelph.); Joniada Milla (University of Guelph.); Thanasis Stengos (University of Guelph.)
    Abstract: In this study, we explore the effect of peers and family on University attendance and graduation. We find that parental expectations and peer effects have a significant impact on the educational outcomes which operates through the interconnectedness between grades and aspirations during high school. Apart from this indirect path, parents and peers directly influence educational outcomes. Policy measures that exploit especially the parental influence on the child may be useful to balance the gender gap of University graduates in Canada.
    Keywords: University Attendance and Graduation, Peer and Parental Influences.
    JEL: I20 J00
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Raj Chetty; John N. Friedman; Jonah E. Rockoff
    Abstract: Are teachers’ impacts on students’ test scores (“value-added”) a good measure of their quality? This question has sparked debate largely because of disagreement about (1) whether value-added (VA) provides unbiased estimates of teachers’ impacts on student achievement and (2) whether high-VA teachers improve students’ long-term outcomes. We address these two issues by analyzing school district data from grades 3-8 for 2.5 million children linked to tax records on parent characteristics and adult outcomes. We find no evidence of bias in VA estimates using previously unobserved parent characteristics and a quasi-experimental research design based on changes in teaching staff. Students assigned to high-VA teachers are more likely to attend college, attend higher- ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers. Teachers have large impacts in all grades from 4 to 8. On average, a one standard deviation improvment in teacher VA in a single grade raises earnings by about 1% at age 28. Replacing a teacher whose VA is in the bottom 5% with an average teacher would increase students’ lifetime income by more than $250,000 for the average classroom in our sample. We conclude that good teachers create substantial economic value and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers.
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2011–12
  7. By: Verde, Melania; Fia, Magali'
    Abstract: This paper aims to analyze the Italian University’s physical and human cognitive assets. First we focus on the continuous reductions in public funding (CNVSU, 2011; OECD, 2010) that constrained the Italian university to develop “entrepreneurial skillsâ€, in other words due to the lack of financial resources in the public sector significant contractual arrangements between universities and private corporations are now requested (contractual market-model). Secondly we study the humans resources, or rather, the human cognitive assets using the modern definition proposed by Aoki (2010), that represents both the demand and supply of education. This paper ends by offering a consideration on the positive externalities (individuals and social outcomes) due to the investment in human capital (Berger e Leigh, 1989; Grossman, Kaestner, 1997; Buonanno e Leonida, 2009). By pointing out that the results of academic teaching and research activities influence the individual and the society, we expect to have more investment from both the public sector and the private enterprise.
    Keywords: higher education; government expenditures in education; human capital; positive externalities of education; Italian university.
    JEL: I21 H52 J24
    Date: 2011–10
  8. By: Stephen Gibbons; Stephen Machin; Olmo Silva
    Abstract: Existing research shows that house prices respond to local school quality as measured by average test scores. However, higher test scores could signal better quality teaching and academic value-added, or higher ability, sought-after intakes. In our research, we show decisively that value-added drives households' demand for good schooling. However, prior achievement - linked to the background of children in school - also matters. In order to identify these effects, we improve the boundary discontinuity regression methodology by matching identical properties across admissions authority boundaries; by allowing for boundary effects and spatial trends; by re-weighting our data towards transactions that are closest to district boundaries; by eliminating boundaries that coincide with major geographical features; and by submitting our estimates to a number of novel falsification tests. Our results survive this battery of experiments and show that a one-standard deviation change in either school average value-added or prior achievement raises prices by around 3%.
    Keywords: House prices, school quality, boundary discontinuities
    JEL: C21 I20 H75 R21
    Date: 2012–01
  9. By: Elisabetta Croci Angelini; Francesco Farina
    Abstract: Differently from the presumption of standard economic theory, empirical evidence suggests that returns to education do not play the most relevant role in tertiary education enrolment. On the whole, the results of our investigation conducted on a probit regression model indicates that the cultural family background has a great influence on the young’s decision to go to university. The offspring’s own income is also very significant in all models, as the p-values are very good in both countries. The main difference between the two countries is that the influence of the father is much lower in France than in Italy, where the coefficient for the father’s education is relevant on average to the same extent than the mother’s education one.
    Keywords: human capital formation, intergenerational mobility, income and educational inequality.
    JEL: I21 J24 D63
    Date: 2011–01
  10. By: Gwendolyn R. Tecson (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)
    Abstract: Grades are used to evaluate students as well as to compare their scholastic achievements. They are used by graduate schools as well as business firms to discriminate between students. But when grades are inflated, they cease to be an objective measure. We therefore wish to examine the trend in grades in the UP School of Economics. In particular, we would like to find out if the explosion in Latin honors (cum laudes and magna cum laudes) in recent years is due to the Revitalized General Education Program (RGEP). Through regression analysis, we found that GWA is determined by the RGEP (as well as the EWA). Except for a few subjects, there is no grade inflation in RGEP courses.
    Date: 2011–04
  11. By: C. Kirabo Jackson
    Abstract: Unlike in elementary schools, high school teacher effects may be confounded with unobserved track-level treatments (such as the AVID program) that are correlated with individual teachers. I present a strategy that exploits detailed course-taking information to credibly estimate the effects of 9th grade Algebra and English teachers on test scores. I document substantial bias due to track-specific treatments and I show that traditional tests for the existence of teacher effects are flawed. After accounting for bias, I find sizable algebra teacher effects and little evidence of English teacher effects. I find little evidence of teacher spillovers across subjects.
    JEL: H0 I20 J00
    Date: 2012–01
  12. By: Edita E. Tan (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman); Kristine S. Canales (PCED-Institute to Study Inequality, Poverty, and Social Protection (ISIP)); Kevin G. Cruz (PCED-Institute to Study Inequality, Poverty, and Social Protection (ISIP)); Jan Carlo B. Punongbayan
    Abstract: The paper tries to explain why women in the Philippines, as yet a low middle income country, obtain higher levels of education than boys. Four empirically based reasons are posited – the substantial expansion of the education system, the growth of job opportunities, the culture that encourages girls to develop better study habits and the high returns to their education. Empirical evidence is provided to support these contentions especially on the returns to women’s schooling. The study concentrates in estimating by various methods returns to schooling using individual observations from the labor force survey. The more conventional OLS regressions are first applied to allow comparison with many studies and the semi-parametric estimates. But the semi-parametric additive method had to be used in order to check for specification robustness of the model due to the observed violation of the OLS assumption of normal distribution of error terms. The quantile regression was also applied to reflect the income distribution implications of the returns pattern. An additional insight into the returns estimation is given by the inclusion of the effect of being married and marrying well, i.e., whether the spouses are equally or upward matched in education, or not. We find that returns to education are higher the higher the level of education is and that returns to women's education are higher than returns to men’s education. Moreover, being married and married well increase earnings. Additionally, there is a fairly high good matching between education classes, i.e., there is substantial intermarriage among college graduates and other college educated and among lower educated individuals. This implies poor social mobility considering that access to education especially at the higher levels is very much constrained by family resources. Intermarriage between college graduates preserves their high social position since access to education is restricted by income. The paper concludes with a list of social issues that emerge from the findings.
    Date: 2011–11
  13. By: Scott A. Imberman; Adriana D. Kugler
    Abstract: In response to low take-up, many public schools have experimented with moving breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom. We examine whether such a program increases performance as measured by standardized test scores, grades and attendance rates. We exploit quasi-random timing of program implementation that allows for a difference-in-differences identification strategy. Our main identification assumption is that schools where the program was introduced earlier would have evolved similarly to those where the program was introduced later. We find that in-class breakfast increases both math and reading achievement by about one-tenth of a standard deviation relative to providing breakfast in the cafeteria. Moreover, we find that these effects are most pronounced for low performing, free-lunch eligible, Hispanic, and low BMI students. We also find some improvements in attendance for high achieving students but no impact on grades.
    JEL: I10 I21
    Date: 2012–01
  14. By: David M. Cutler; Adriana Lleras-Muney
    Abstract: In this review we synthesize what is known about the relationship between education and health. A large number of studies from both rich and poor countries show that education is associated with better health. While previous work has thought of the effect of education separately for rich and poor countries, we argue that there are insights to be gained by integrating the two. For example, education is associated with lower malnutrition in most countries, but in richer countries the educated have lower BMIs whereas in poor countries the educated have higher BMIs. This suggests that the behaviors associated with better health differ depending on the level of development. We illustrate this approach by comparing the effects of education on various health and health behaviors around the world, to generate hypotheses about why education is so often (but not always) predictive of health. Finally, we review the empirical evidence on the relationship between education and health, paying particular attention to causal evidence and evidence on mechanisms linking education to better health.
    JEL: I1 I12 I15
    Date: 2012–01
  15. By: Maria K. Humlum (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark); Jannie H.G. Kristoffersen (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark); Rune Vejlin (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)
    Abstract: It is likely that the extent of progression in the educational system a ects whether or not one decides to start a family at a given point in time. We estimate the e ect of enrolling in college in the year of application on later family formation decisions such as the probability of being a parent at a certain age. Using college admission data, we nd that individuals who are above the grade requirement for their preferred college program are more likely to enroll in college in a given year. Employing an IV strategy based on this idea, we nd that delays in college enrollment postpone family formation decisions. For example, we nd that the effect of enrolling in college on the probability of being a parent at age 27 is about 9 percentage points, corresponding to an increase of about 70 percent.
    Keywords: fertility, education
    JEL: I2 J12 J13
    Date: 2012–01–04
  16. By: Irene Mosca (Trinity College Dublin); Robert Wright (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: This paper examines empirically the relationship between under-employment and migration amongst five cohorts of graduates of Scottish higher education institutions with micro-data collected by the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data indicate that there is a strong positive relationship between migration and graduate employment—those graduates who move after graduation from Scotland to the rest of the UK or abroad have a much higher rate of graduate employment. Versions of probit regression are used to estimate migration and graduate employment equations in order to explore the nature of this relationship further. These equations confirm that there is a strong positive relationship between the probability of migrating and the probability of being in graduate employment even after other factors are controlled for. Instrumental variables estimation is used to examine the causal nature of the relationship by attempting to deal with the potential endogeneity of migration decisions. Overall the analysis is consistent with the hypotheses that a sizeable fraction of higher education graduates are leaving Scotland for employment reasons. In turn this finding suggests the over-education/under-employment nexus is a serious problem in Scotland.
    Keywords: Scotland, under-employment, over-education, higher education graduates
    JEL: I23 J24 J61 R23
    Date: 2011–12
  17. By: Mehlhorn, Joey; Roberts, Jason; Cain, Amanda; Parrott, Scott
    Abstract: Undergraduate students can benefit from a research experience with a faculty mentor. Students perceived the research project and faculty mentorship as more beneficial than directed coursework. Mentoring is key to enhancing undergraduate research experiences, but the impact on time should be considered. Linkages between coursework and application should also be considered.
    Keywords: student mentor, undergraduate research, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession, Q1,
    Date: 2012–02–05
  18. By: Andres Redchuk (Department of Statistics and Operations Research, Rey Juan Carlos University); Javier M. Moguerza (Department of Statistics and Operations Research, Rey Juan Carlos University); Clara Laura Cardone Riportella (Department of Business Administration, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: This paper applies a new quality measurement methodology to measure the quality of the postgraduate courses. The methodology we propose is the Academic Quality Measurement (AQM). The model is applied to several simulated data sets where we know the true value of the parameters of the model. A nonparametric model, based in Nearest Neighbours combined with Restricted Least Squared methods, is developed in which students evaluate the overall academic programme quality and a set of dimensions or attributes that determine this quality. The database comes from a Spanish Public University post graduate programme. Among the most important conclusion we say the methodology presented in this work has the following advantages: Knowledge of the attribute weights allow the ordering of the attributes according to their relative importance to the student, showing the key factors for improving quality. Student weights can be related to student characteristics to make market segmentation directly linked to quality objectives. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the service (high educations) can be determined by comparing the mean value of the attributes of the service to the values of other companies (Benchmark process or SWOT analysis).
    Keywords: Quality Measurement, Postgraduate Programme, Nonparametric Model.
    Date: 2011–12
  19. By: Harold E. Cuffe (University of Oregon, 1285 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States); William T. Harbaugh (University of Oregon, 1285 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States); Jason M. Lindo (University of Oregon, 1285 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States); Giancarlo Musto (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne, Ecully, F-69130, France); Glen R. Waddell (University of Oregon, 1285 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, United States)
    Abstract: We analyze the effects of a school-based incentive program on children’s exercise habits. The program offers children an opportunity to win prizes if they walk or bike to school during prize periods. We use daily child-level data and individual fixed effects models to measure the impact of the prizes by comparing behavior during prize periods with behavior during non-prize periods. Variation in the timing of prize periods across different schools allows us to estimate models with calendar date fixed effects to control for day-specific attributes, such as weather and proximity to holidays. On average, we find that being in a prize period increases riding behavior by sixteen percent, a large impact given that the prize value is just six cents per participating student. We also find that winning a prize lottery has a positive impact on ridership over subsequent weeks ; consider heterogeneity across prize type, gender, age, and calendar month ; and explore differential effects on the intensive versus extensive margins.
    Keywords: health, exercise, children, school, incentives, active commuting
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2011
  20. By: Patrick J. McEwan
    Abstract: High-quality impact evaluations, including randomized experiments, are increasingly popular, but cannot always inform resource allocation decisions unless the costs of interventions are considered alongside their effects. Cost-effectiveness analysis is a straightforward but under-utilized tool for determining which, of two or more interventions provides a (non-pecuniary) unit of effect at least cost. This paper reviews the framework and methods of cost-effectiveness analysis,emphasizing education and health interventions, and discusses how the methods are applied in the literature.
    Keywords: Cost-Effectiveness, Cost-Benefit, Impact Evaluation
    JEL: H43 I25
    Date: 2011–12

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