nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒04‒03
ten papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. "The Determinants and Consequence of School Choice Errors in Kenya" By Adrienne Lucas; Isaac M. Mbiti
  2. The Long-term Effects of School Quality on Labor Market Outcomes and Educational Attainment By Christian Dustmann; Patrick A. Puhani; Uta Schönberg
  3. How should we treat under-performing schools? A regression discontinuity analysis of school inspections in England By Rebecca Allen; Simon Burgess
  4. All students left behind: an ambitious provincial school reform in Canada, but poor math achievements from grade 2 to 10 By Catherine HAECK; Pierre LEFEBVRE; Philip MERRIGAN
  5. How Are Girls Doing in School – and Women Doing in Employment – Around the World? By OECD
  6. How Are Countries Around the World Supporting Students in Higher Education? By OECD
  7. Developing new roles for higher education institutions in structurally-fragmented regional innovation systems By Kroll, Henning; Schricke, Esther; Stahlecker, Thomas
  8. What's the link between household income and going to university? By Jake Anders
  9. Ageing and Literacy Skills: Evidence from Canada, Norway and the United States By Green, David A.; Riddell, W. Craig
  10. The Gender Wage Gap by Education in Italy By Mussida, Chiara; Picchio, Matteo

  1. By: Adrienne Lucas (Department of Economics, Unversity of Delaware); Isaac M. Mbiti (Department of Economics, Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: The benefits of school choice systems designed to help disadvantaged groups might be hindered by information asymmetries. Kenyan elite secondary schools admit students from the entire country based on a national test score, district quotas, and stated school choices. We find even the highest ability students make school choice errors. Girls, students with lower test scores, and students from public and low quality primary schools are more likely to make such errors. Net of observable demographic characteristics, these errors are associated with a decrease in the probability that students are admitted to elite secondary schools, relegating them to schools of lower quality.
    Keywords: school choice, education, secondary schooling, kenya
    JEL: I21 I25 O15
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Christian Dustmann (University College London); Patrick A. Puhani (Leibniz Universität Hannover); Uta Schönberg (University College London, Institute for Employment Research (IAB))
    Abstract: We study the long-term causal effects of attending a "better" school - defined as one with more advanced peers, more highly paid teachers, and a more academic curriculum - on the highest degree completed, wages, occupational choice, and unemployment. We base our analysis on a regression discontinuity design, generated by a school entry age rule, that assigns students to different types of schools based on their date of birth. We find that, even though our case involves larger inter-school differences in peer quality and teaching curricula than in most previous studies, the long-term effect of school quality is very small and not significantly different from zero. This surprising finding is partly explainable by the substantial amount of student up- and downgrading between schools of varying quality at the end of middle school (age 15/16) and at the end of high school (age 18/19). This suggests that giving people a "second chance" during their education can make up for several years of schooling with a less challenging peer group and a less challenging teaching curriculum.
    Keywords: School quality, peer effects, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: I21 J10
    Date: 2012–03
  3. By: Rebecca Allen (Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK.); Simon Burgess (Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol.)
    Abstract: School inspections are an important part of the accountability framework for education in England. In this paper we use a panel of schools to evaluate the effect of a school failing its inspection. We collect a decade’s worth of data on how schools are judged across a very large range of sub-criteria, alongside an overall judgement of effectiveness. We use this data within a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to model the impact of ‘just’ failing the inspection, relative to the impact of ‘just’ passing. This analysis is implemented using a time-series of school performance and pupil background data. Our results suggest that schools only just failing do see an improvement in scores over the following two to three years. The effect size is moderate to large at around 10% of a pupil-level standard deviation in test scores. We also show that this improvement occurs in core compulsory subjects, suggesting that this is not all the result of course entry gaming on the part of schools. There is little positive impact on lower ability pupils, with equally large effects for those in the middle and top end of the ability distribution.
    Keywords: school inspection, school accountability, school attainment, regression discontinuity
    JEL: I20 I28
    Date: 2012–03–26
  4. By: Catherine HAECK; Pierre LEFEBVRE; Philip MERRIGAN
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of an ambitious provincial school reform in Canada on students. mathematical achievements. This reform provides advantages for the purpose of evaluation and cuts across some of the methodological difficulties of previous research. First, the reform was implemented in every school across the province in both primary and secondary schools. Second, we can differentiate impacts according to the number of years students are affected by the reform. Third, our data set provides a longer observation period than typically encountered in the literature. We find negative effects on students’ mathematical achievements at all points of the skills distribution.
    Date: 2011–10
  5. By: OECD
    Abstract: As the world celebrates the achievements of women this month, what can be said about the progress of girls and young women in education, and of women in employment, throughout the world? As the third issue of the OECD's new brief series Education Indicators in Focus describes, girls and women are making solid gains on both fronts - though still more can be done to promote gender equality.<p>On the 2009 PISA assessment, for example, 15-year-old girls outperformed boys in every country, and on average by 39 score points - the equivalent of one year of schooling. Meanwhile, boys outperformed girls on the PISA mathematics assessment in most countries. In higher education, women are now in the majority among entrants to higher education across the world, with an estimated 66% expected to enter university-level programmes at some point during their lives. However, men are more likely than women to earn advanced research qualifications in most countries. Moreover, some fields of study - like engineering, manufacturing, and construction - are still branded as masculine, with comparatively few women graduates.<p>At the same time, women's strides in education have led to improved labour market outcomes for women overall. Across the world, gender gaps in employment between men and women have narrowed at every level of education, and are narrowest among those with a higher education qualification - shrinking from 11 percentage points in 2000 to 9 percentage points in 2009.<p>Be sure to check your inbox for future issues of Education Indicators in Focus, which each month will provide analysis and policy insights into the most pressing issues in education today, using evidence from Education at a Glance, the flagship publication of the OECD's Indicators of Education Systems (INES) programme.<p>Find out more at:,3746,e n_2649_39263238_49401006_1_1_1_1,00.html
    Date: 2012–03
  6. By: OECD
    Abstract: Few would dispute that having a higher education is more important than ever to help people build positive economic futures and strengthen the knowledge economies of countries. Yet as the second issue of the OECD’s new brief series Education Indicators in Focus explains, OECD countries have adopted dramatically different strategies for increasing higher education access – both in terms of how higher education is financed, and in the level of financial support they provide to individuals seeking a degree.
    Date: 2012–02
  7. By: Kroll, Henning; Schricke, Esther; Stahlecker, Thomas
    Abstract: Over the course of the last decade, increasing political emphasis has been placed on the 'third role' of universities and universities of applied sciences in German higher education policy, i.e. to these institutions socio-economic contribution their regional environment. Against this background it is the first central aim of this study to take account of the existing regional activities of higher education institutions in Germany and to establish whether any effects of regional policymakers' and university management efforts to support such activities are already felt at the level of the individual researcher. Based on survey data, we find that a large array of decentralised projects is being performed by individual academics for multiple reasons, but also that evidence of effective centralised incentive-setting for such activities remains limited. Nonetheless, universities have undoubtedly become integrated into strategic considerations of regional co-operation to a stronger degree, as evidenced by a number of publicly supported programmes and the long time implicit 'third role' of universities of applied sciences. Consequently, the second main aim of the paper is to illustrate how such strategic approaches could be designed against the background of the concrete regional demand of the industrial sector in a case study region. With a view to the example of Upper Palatinate in Bavaria, our paper demonstrates how the formerly strict separation of missions and tasks between universities and universities of applied sciences has resulted in a certain structural fragmentation of competences that hinders the development of a substantial third role in the region. Additionally, it suggests some tentative approaches how this situation could be overcome by an increased co-operation between formerly quite separate institutions. --
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Jake Anders (Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK.)
    Abstract: The association between household income and university entry is a matter of clear academic and policy interest. This paper sheds new light on the matter using the LSYPE, a recent longitudinal survey from England. While those in the top income quintile group are more likely than those in the bottom quintile group to attend university (66% vs. 24%), much of this gap is explained by earlier educational outcomes. The paper also examines admissions decisions in more detail, separating applying from attending. This analysis yields results suggesting most of the difference in participation rates is driven by the application decision. The attendance gap conditional on having applied is much smaller (85% vs. 68%) and closes completely when earlier educational outcomes are taken into account. Finally, the paper considers attendance at high quality Russell Group universities. By contrast with the main analysis, the Russell Group attendance gap persists even among those who attend university. The findings suggest policies aimed at reducing the university participation gap at point of entry face small rewards. More likely successful are policies aimed at closing the application gap, for example encouraging a wider cross-section of the population to apply and ensuring they have the necessary qualifications.
    Keywords: Higher Education, Household Income, Socioeconomic Gradient, Intergenerational Mobility
    JEL: I24 J62
    Date: 2012–03–27
  9. By: Green, David A. (University of British Columbia, Vancouver); Riddell, W. Craig (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
    Abstract: We study the relationship between age and literacy skills in Canada, Norway and the U.S. – countries that represent a wide range of literacy outcomes – using data from the 1994 and 2003 International Adult Literacy Surveys. In cross-sectional data there is a weak negative partial relationship between literacy skills and age. However, this relationship could reflect some combination of age and cohort effects. In order to identify age effects, we use the 1994 and 2003 surveys to create synthetic cohorts. Our analysis shows that the modest negative slope of the literacy-age profile in cross-sectional data arises from offsetting ageing and cohort effects. Individuals from a given birth cohort lose literacy skills after they leave school at a rate greater than indicated by cross-sectional estimates. At the same time, more recent birth cohorts have lower levels of literacy. These results suggest a pervasive tendency for literacy skills to decline over time and that these countries are doing a poorer job of educating successive generations. All three countries show similar patterns of skill loss with age, as well as declining literacy across successive cohorts. The countries differ, however, in the part of the skill distribution where falling skills are most evident. In Canada the cross-cohort declines are especially large at the top of the skill distribution. In Norway declining skills across cohorts are more prevalent at the bottom of the distribution. In the U.S. the decline in literacy skills over time is most pronounced in the middle of the distribution.
    Keywords: human capital, cognitive skills, literacy, ageing
    JEL: I20 J14 J24
    Date: 2012–03
  10. By: Mussida, Chiara (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Picchio, Matteo (Ghent University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the gender wage gap by educational attainment in Italy using the 1994–2001 ECHP data. We estimate wage distributions in the presence of covariates and sample selection separately for highly and low educated men and women. Then, we decompose the gender wage gap across all the wage distribution and isolate the part due to gender differences in the remunerations of the similar characteristics. We find that women are penalized especially if low educated. When we control for sample selection induced by unobservables, the penalties for low educated women become even larger, above all at the bottom of the wage distribution.
    Keywords: gender wage gap, education, counterfactual distributions, decompositions, hazard function
    JEL: C21 C41 J16 J31 J71
    Date: 2012–03

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