nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒03‒14
eight papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. The Intergenerational Transmission of Education: Evidence from Taiwanese Adoptions By Hammitt, James; Liu, Jin-Tan; Tsou, Meng-Wen
  2. Equality of Opportunity in Education in the Middle East and North Africa By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Nadia Belhaj Hassine
  3. The Evolution of Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis By Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  4. GINI DP 22: Institutional Reforms and Educational Attainment in Europe By Michela Braga; Daniele Checchi; Elena Meschi
  5. Education, cognitive skills and earnings of males and females By Buchner Charlotte; Smits Wendy; Velden Rolf van der
  6. Gains from child-centred Early Childhood Education: Evidence from a Dutch pilot programme By Bauchmüller, Robert
  7. Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America. Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010 By Leonardo Gasparini; Sebastián Galiani; Guillermo Cruces; Pablo Acosta
  8. School-to-work transitions in Europe: Paths towards a permanent contract By Garrouste, Christelle; Loi, Massimo

  1. By: Hammitt, James; Liu, Jin-Tan; Tsou, Meng-Wen
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal effect of parental schooling on children’s schooling using a large sample of adoptees from Taiwan. Using birth-parents’ education to help control for selective placement of children with adoptive parents, we find that adoptees raised with more highly educated parents have higher educational attainment, measured by years of schooling and probability of university graduation. We also find evidence that adoptive father’s schooling is more important for sons’ and adoptive mother’s schooling is more important for daughters’ educational attainment. These results support the notion that family environment (nurture) is important in determining children’s educational outcomes, independent of genetic endowment.
    Keywords: intergenerational transmission, education, schooling, adoption
    Date: 2011–12
  2. By: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Nadia Belhaj Hassine
    Abstract: This paper is an empirical investigation of inequality of education opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We use student scores from tests administered by the international consortium Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for a number of MENA countries and over time since 1999 to estimate the effect of circumstances children are born into on their academic achievement in science and mathematics. From the variation in inequality of education opportunities across countries and over time we draw lessons on the influence of different education systems or changes in policy on equality of opportunity. We ï¬nd that inequality of opportunities explains a signiï¬cant part of the inequality in educational achievements in most MENA countries, but in a few cases, notably Algeria, its role is small. Family background variables are the most important determinants of inequality in achievement, followed by community characteristics. Inequality of education opportunities are high in several MENA countries, and have either stayed the same or worsened in recent years. The results show that, despite great efforts in past decades to invest in free public education, in most MENA countries are less opportunity equal in educational achievement that European countries, and several are less equal than Latin America countries and the United States. There is plenty of room for policy to further level the playing ï¬eld in education. We discuss how our results shed light on policy choices in education that can contribute to greater equality of education and income in the region.
    Keywords: Equality of opportunity; Education; Middle East and North Africa
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
    Abstract: Between 1940 and 2000 there has been a substantial increase of educational attainment in the United States. What caused this trend? We develop a model of human capital accumulation that features a non-degenerate distribution of educational attainment in the population. We use this framework to assess the quantitative contribution of technological progress and changes in life expectancy in explaining the evolution of educational attainment. The model implies an increase in average years of schooling of 24 percent which is the increase observed in the data. We find that technological variables and in particular skill-biased technical change represent the most important factors in accounting for the increase in educational attainment. The strong response of schooling to changes in income is informative about the potential role of educational policy and the impact of other trends affecting lifetime income.
    Keywords: educational attainment, schooling, skill-biased technical progress, human capital
    JEL: E1 O3 O4
    Date: 2012–03–01
  4. By: Michela Braga (Facolta' di Scienze Politiche (DEAS), Universita' degli Studi di Milano); Daniele Checchi (Universita'degli Studi di Milano, Facolta'di Scienze); Elena Meschi (Institute of Education ,Room 405, University of London)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the effects of changes in the institutional design of the educational system on school attainment. In particular, we test whether alternative reforms have increased the average educational attainment of the population and whether various deciles of the education distribution have been differentially affected. We constructed a dataset of relevant reforms occurred at the national level over the last century, and match individual information to the most likely set-up faced when individual educational choices were undertaken. Thus our identification strategy relies on temporal and geographical variations in the institutional arrangements, controlling for time/country fixed effects, as well as for confounding factors. We also explore who are the individual most likely affected by the reforms. We also group different reforms in order to ascertain the prevailing attitudes of policy makers, showing that reforms can belong to either “inclusive” or “selective” in their nature. Finally we correlate these attitudes to political coalitions prevailing in parliament, finding support to the idea that left wing parties support reforms that are inclusive in nature, while right wing parties prefer selective ones.
    Date: 2011–12
  5. By: Buchner Charlotte; Smits Wendy; Velden Rolf van der (METEOR)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between cognitive skills, measured at age 12, and earnings ofmales and females at the age of 35, conditional on their attained educational level. Employing alarge data set that combines a longitudinal school cohort survey with income data from Dutchnational tax files, our findings show that cognitive skills and specifically math skills arerewarded on the labor market, but more for females than for males. The main factor driving thisresult is that cognitive skills appear to be better predictors of schooling outcomes for malesthan for females. Once males have achieved the higher levels of education, they more often chooseprograms with high earning perspectives like economics and engineering, even if their level ofmath skills is relatively low.
    Keywords: labour economics ;
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Bauchmüller, Robert (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht)
    Abstract: Early Childhood Education (ECE) programmes are presumed to have positive effects in particular for children who are at risk of failing during their school careers. However, there is disagreement on whether such programmes should be more teacher and curriculum based or rather centred on the individual child. In this paper I study child-centred ECE programmes that are used at preschools in the Dutch province of Limburg, which is in fact mainly a study of 'Speelplezier', a new child-centred programme which has recently been certified as being 'in theory' effective in raising children's school readiness, but which has not yet been evaluated. I use a rich dataset covering the first three grades at elementary schools in the Southern part of Limburg for the year 2008/09 to evaluate the impact of child-centred ECE versus alternative preschool options. I estimate ordinary least squares effects of attending a preschool applying child-centred ECE onto test scores from the beginning of elementary schooling, under the control of alternative childcare experiences and various child and family related characteristics and re-weighing observations of the studied sample to represent population averages. I argue that access to a preschool kindergarten applying child-centred ECE is to some degree exogenously determined. In a further effort to identify causal effects, I also use propensity score matching and instrumental variable estimation techniques. I find no evidence of the expected short-term effects on language or on cognitive development who attended a child-centred ECE preschool as compared to preschools applying other or no early education programmes. In order to reach measurable benefits, the child-centred methods and their applications need to be intensified and extended to all disadvantaged groups of children. Yet I find some evidence that children of low educated parents who have been placed in a child-centred ECE preschool tend to have higher language and cognitive outcomes.
    Keywords: early childhood education (ECE), child-centred programme, cognitive and language development, school readiness, distance to preschool
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Leonardo Gasparini (CEDLAS - UNLP); Sebastián Galiani (Washington University in St. Louis); Guillermo Cruces (CEDLAS-UNLP and CONICET); Pablo Acosta (World Bank, Human Development, Latin America and Caribbean Region)
    Abstract: It has been argued that a factor behind the decline in income inequality in Latin America in the 2000s was the educational upgrading of its labor force. Between 1990 and 2010, the proportion of the labor force in the region with at least secondary education increased from 40 to 60 percent. Concurrently, returns to secondary education completion fell throughout the past two decades, while the 2000s saw a reversal in the increase in the returns to tertiary education experienced in the 1990s. This paper studies the evolution of wage differentials and the trends in the supply of workers by educational level for 16 Latin American countries between 1990 and 2000. The analysis estimates the relative contribution of supply and demand factors behind recent trends in skill premia for tertiary and secondary educated workers. Supplyside factors seem to have limited explanatory power relative to demandside factors, and are only relevant to explain part of the fall in wage premia for highschool graduates. Although there is significant heterogeneity in individual country experiences, on average the trend reversal in labor demand in the 2000s can be partially attributed to the recent boom in commodity prices that could favor the unskilled (nontertiary educated) workforce, although employment patterns by sector suggest that other withinsector forces are also at play, such as technological diffusion or skill mismatches that may reduce the labor productivity of highlyeducated workers.
    Date: 2012–03
  8. By: Garrouste, Christelle; Loi, Massimo
    Abstract: In a context of intensive and global economic competition, European countries are growingly concerned with the consequences of increasing numbers of young people temporarily or permanently prevented from entering the job market and the difficulties faced by college and university graduates to find adequate employment. This study is concerned with analyzing the speed of transition of students to permanent employment as a proxy of professional stability, and by identifying possible discriminatory effects in selected countries. The research questions are addressed with a Cox survival model and a continuous-time Markov chain model where each individual can transit non-sequentially between the following Markov states: (1) education; (2) inactivity; (3)unemployment; (4) fixed-term/temporary employment; and (5) permanent employment (the 5th state being a non-absorbing steady state). The model is tested using the longitudinal ECHP data in thirteen EU member countries, over the period 1994-2001, controlling for individual and household characteristics and labour market characteristics (e.g., youth employment rate and share of temporary contracts). Overall, we find that the Mediterranean countries are the ones where the transition is the most hazardous both in terms of length and number of steps, but that in other countries, the speed of convergence is not necessarily correlated to the number of spells at intermediate states. Moreover, we find that the gender discrimination that affected most of the countries at the beginning of the 1990s, faded away by the end of the decade, replaced by a positive discrimination in favour of the graduates from vocationally oriented programmes.
    Keywords: School-to-work transitions; Permanent occupation; Continuous-time Markov Chains
    JEL: J60 J21 J71 J24
    Date: 2011

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