nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒04‒23
sixteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. The Effect of Teacher Gender on Student Achievement in Primary School: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment By Antecol, Heather; Eren, Ozkan; Ozbeklik, Serkan
  2. Heterogeneity in Human Capital Investments: High School Curriculum, College Major, and Careers By Joseph G. Altonji; Erica Blom; Costas Meghir
  3. Peer Effects: Evidence from Secondary School Transition in England By Gibbons, Steve; Telhaj, Shqiponja
  4. No Pass No Drive: Education and Allocation of Time By Barua, Rashmi; Vidal-Fernández, Marian
  5. How does aid matter? The effect of financial aid on university enrolment decisions By Loris Vergolini; Nadir Zanini
  6. Compulsory Schooling Reforms, Education and Mortality in Twentieth Century Europe By Gathmann, Christina; Jürges, Hendrik; Reinhold, Steffen
  7. Non-Native Speakers of English in the Classroom: What Are the Effects on Pupil Performance? By Geay, Charlotte; McNally, Sandra; Telhaj, Shqiponja
  8. Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment By Meghir, Costas; Palme, Mårten; Simeonova, Emilia
  9. Cross-Border Collaborative Degree Programs in East Asia:Expectations and Challenges By Yuki, Takako; Hong, Yeeyoung; Kang, Kyuwon; Kuroda, Kazuo
  10. On The Political Economy Of Educational Vouchers By Dennis N. Epple; Richard Romano
  11. Left behind by birth month By Solli, Ingeborg
  12. Multiple futures for higher education in a multi-level structure By Havas, Attila
  13. Mental Health and Education Decisions By Cornaglia, Francesca; Crivellaro, Elena; McNally, Sandra
  14. Repeated Selection with Heterogenous Individuals and Relative Age Effects By Dawid, Herbert; Muehlheusser, Gerd
  15. The Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations By Lindahl, Mikael; Palme, Mårten; Sandgren Massih, Sofia; Sjögren, Anna
  16. Educational Signaling, Credit Constraints and Inequality Dynamics By Marcello D'Amato; Dilip Mookherjee

  1. By: Antecol, Heather (Claremont McKenna College); Eren, Ozkan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas); Ozbeklik, Serkan (Claremont McKenna College)
    Abstract: This paper attempts to reconcile the contradictory results found in the economics literature and the educational psychology literature with respect to the academic impact of gender dynamics in the classroom. Specifically, using data from a randomized experiment, we look at the effects of having a female teacher on the math test scores of students in primary school. We find that female students who were assigned to a female teacher without a strong math background suffered from lower math test scores at the end of the academic year. This negative effect however not only seems to disappear but it becomes (marginally) positive for female students who were assigned to a female teacher with a strong math background. Finally, we do not find any effect of having a female teacher on male students' test scores (math or reading) or female students' reading test scores. Taken together, our results tentatively suggest that the findings in these two streams of the literature are in fact consistent if one takes into account a teacher's academic background in math.
    Keywords: teacher gender, student achievement, random assignment
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2012–03
  2. By: Joseph G. Altonji; Erica Blom; Costas Meghir
    Abstract: Motivated by the large differences in labor market outcomes across college majors, we survey the literature on the demand for and return to high school and post-secondary education by field of study. We combine elements from several papers to provide a dynamic model of education and occupation choice that stresses the roles of specificity of human capital and uncertainty about preferences, ability, education outcomes, and labor market returns. The model implies an important distinction between the ex ante and ex post returns to education decisions. We also discuss some of the econometric difficulties in estimating the causal effects of field of study on wages in the context of a sequential choice model with learning. Finally, we review the empirical literature on choice of curriculum and the effects of high school courses and college major on labor market outcomes.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2012–04
  3. By: Gibbons, Steve (London School of Economics); Telhaj, Shqiponja (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study the effects of peers on school achievement, with detailed data on children making the same primary to secondary school transition in consecutive years in England. Our estimates show that secondary school composition, on entry at age 12, affects achievement at age 14, although the effect sizes are small. These secondary school peer effects originate in peer characteristics encapsulated in family background and early achievements (age 7), rather than subsequent test score gains in primary school. Our specifications control for individual unobservables and school fixed effects and trends, rendering peer group composition conditionally uncorrelated with student's characteristics.
    Keywords: peer effects, schools, education
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2012–03
  4. By: Barua, Rashmi (Singapore Management University); Vidal-Fernández, Marian (University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: Do negative incentives or sticks in education improve student outcomes? Since the late 1980s, several U.S. states have introduced No Pass No Drive (NPND) laws that set minimum academic requirements for teenagers to obtain driving licenses. Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) and Monitoring the Future (MTF), we exploit variation across state, time, and cohort to show that NPND laws led to a 6.4 percentage point increase in the probability of graduating from high school among black males. Further, we show that NPND laws were effective in reducing truancy and increased time allocated to school-work at the expense of leisure and work.
    Keywords: negative incentives, education, allocation of time, dropout, No Pass No Drive laws
    JEL: J08 J22 I2
    Date: 2012–04
  5. By: Loris Vergolini (IRVAPP, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies); Nadir Zanini (IRVAPP, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies)
    Abstract: Using a counterfactual approach, this paper empirically investigates the impact of an educational programme recently introduced in the Province of Trento (North-East of Italy). The aim of the policy is to foster university enrolment of students from low-income families and to reduce inequalities in access to higher education. The programme, known as Grant 5B, consists in generous incentives: it targets the university students from low-income families and is awarded upon both merit and demonstrated financial need. We exploit data from an ad hoc survey conducted on a sample of upper secondary graduates and employ a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of the intervention on the university enrolment decisions. We find that the programme has no significant effect on enrolment rates, but it exerts a positive effect on redirecting students already bound for university to enrol outside the place of residence. Relying on the relative risk aversion theory, we explain why a relaxation of the eligibility rules based on merit might be more effective in reducing social inequalities in access to university.
    Keywords: Financial aid, university enrolment, regression discontinuity, programme evaluation
    JEL: C31 I23 I24 I28 I38
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Gathmann, Christina; Jürges, Hendrik; Reinhold, Steffen
    Abstract: Education yields substantial non-monetary benefits, but the size of these gains is still debated. Previous studies, for example, report contradictory effects of education and compulsory schooling on mortality – ranging from zero to large mortality reductions. Using data from 19 compulsory schooling reforms implemented in Europe during the twentieth century, we quantify the mean mortality effect and explore its dispersion across gender, time and countries. We find that men benefit from compulsory education both in the shorter and longer run. In contrast, compulsory schooling reforms have little or no effect on mortality for women.
    Keywords: Compulsory schooling , education , mortality , Europe
    JEL: I12 I21 I28
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Geay, Charlotte (Paris Graduate School of Economics, ENSAE); McNally, Sandra (London School of Economics); Telhaj, Shqiponja (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: In recent years there has been an increase in the number of children going to school in England who do not speak English as a first language. We investigate whether this has an impact on the educational outcomes of native English speakers at the end of primary school. We show that the negative correlation observed in the raw data is mainly an artefact of selection: non-native speakers are more likely to attend school with disadvantaged native speakers. We attempt to identify a causal impact of changes in the percentage of non-native speakers within the year group. In general, our results suggest zero effect and rule out negative effects.
    Keywords: non-native English speakers, educational attainment
    JEL: I2 J15
    Date: 2012–03
  8. By: Meghir, Costas (Yale University); Palme, Mårten (Stockholm University); Simeonova, Emilia (Tufts University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of a compulsory education reform in Sweden on adult health and mortality. The reform was implemented by municipalities between 1949 and 1962 as a social experiment and implied an extension of compulsory schooling from 7 or 8 years depending on municipality to 9 years nationally. We use detailed individual data on education, hospitalizations, labor force participation and mortality for Swedes born between 1946 and 1957. Individual level data allow us to study the effect of the education reform on three main groups of outcomes: (i) mortality until age 60 for different causes of death; (ii) hospitalization by cause and (iii) exit from the labor force primarily through the disability insurance program. The results show reduced male mortality up to age fifty for those assigned to the reform, but these gains were erased by increased mortality later on. We find similar patterns in the probability of being hospitalized and the average costs of inpatient care. Men who acquired more education due to the reform are less likely to retire early.
    Keywords: causal effects of education, compulsory schooling laws, comprehensive school reforms, education reform, returns to schooling
    JEL: I12 I18 I21
    Date: 2012–04
  9. By: Yuki, Takako; Hong, Yeeyoung; Kang, Kyuwon; Kuroda, Kazuo
    Abstract: This paper sheds light on the increasingly diverse forms of cross-border higher education in East Asia, ranging from traditional student mobility (e.g., full-time study abroad) to the mobility of the programs themselves. Specifically, this paper examines the expected outcomes and risks or challenges of cross-border collaborative degree programs by focusing on differences in the level of collaboration and by using two survey datasets on leading East Asian universities and their collaborative degree programs. As for the expected outcomes of such programs, this survey of universities indicates that improving the quality of education is perceived as a more important outcome of collaborative degree programs than it is for traditional forms of simple student mobility. However, this survey of programs confirms the variation in the degree of collaboration among collaborative programs in terms of location, curriculum and degree provision; it also shows that bilateral programs, which require greater collaboration between the partner institutions, tend to perceive promoting intercultural awareness, achieving research excellence and promoting regional collaboration and Asian identity as more important than one-side led programs do. Bilateral programs also see economic benefits in collaborative degree programs, such as meeting the demands of the global economy, when the data samples used for the analysis are limited to programs conducted between institutions from high-income and middle-income countries, thus excluding programs with low-income countries. On the other hand, the risks and challenges of cross-border collaborative degree programs tend to be perceived as less significant by bilateral programs than by one-side led programs. These results point to the importance of the greater involvement of each of the partner institutions in meeting the expectations of the other partner and mitigating any risks or challenges in cross-border degree programs. In particular, it is worth considering such increasingly higher levels of collaboration as each country in the partnership develops its economy and higher education institutions.
    Keywords: cross-border higher education , double degree , twinning , ASEAN , Asia
    Date: 2012–03–13
  10. By: Dennis N. Epple; Richard Romano
    Abstract: Two significant challenges hamper analyses of collective choice of educational vouchers. One is the multi-dimensional choice set arising from the interdependence of the voucher, public education spending, and taxation. The other is that household preferences between public and private schooling vary with the policy chosen. Even absent a voucher, preferences over public spending are not single-peaked; a middling level of public school spending may be less attractive to a household than either high public school spending or private education coupled with low public spending. We show that Besley and Coate’s (1997) representative democracy provides a viable approach to overcome these hurdles. We provide a complete characterization of equilibrium with an endogenous voucher. We undertake a parallel quantitative analysis. For income distributions exhibiting substantial heterogeneity, such as the U.S. distribution, we find that no voucher arises in equilibrium. For tighter income distributions, however, a voucher arises. For example, with the income distribution of Douglas County, Colorado, where a voucher was recently adopted, our model predicts a positive voucher. Public support for a not-to-large voucher arises because the cross subsidy to public school expenditure from those switching to private schools outweighs the subsidy to those that attend private school without a voucher.
    JEL: D72 H44 I22
    Date: 2012–04
  11. By: Solli, Ingeborg (University of Stavanger)
    Abstract: Utilizing comprehensive administrative from Norway I investigate birth month effects on school performance at age 16, educational achievement at age 19 and 25 and earnings at age 30. I demonstrate that the oldest children in class have a substantially higher 10th grade GPA than their younger peers. The birth month differences are similar across gender, but stronger for less advantaged children. The birth month effects are robust to controlling for sibling fixed effects. On longer term outcomes, I find that the youngest children in class have a significantly lower probability of having completed high school at age 19, are less likely to enroll into college by age 25, and have substantially lower earnings at age 30. The effects on educational achievement and earnings are more pronounced for boys and for less advantaged children.
    Keywords: Birth date effect; Relative age effect
    JEL: I20 J10 J20 J30
    Date: 2012–04–11
  12. By: Havas, Attila
    Abstract: ‘Futures’ (images of the future) are often devised at the level of a single university or at a national level for the overall higher education system. However, the bulk of trends and driving forces shaping universities’ future are international in their nature and universities operate in broader socio-economic and S&T systems. Hence, futures devised in a multi-level structure would better assist decision-makers and stakeholders. This approach is a demanding one in several respects, but offers significant advantages: (i) the potential changes in the social, economic and S&T systems, in which universities are embedded, as well as their impacts on higher education can be considered systematically; (ii) the substantial diversity of higher education systems and individual universities can be taken into account; and (iii) the likely impacts of various policy options can also be analysed.
    Keywords: mission; methods; and models of higher education; multiple futures; multi-level prospective analysis; features and benefits of forward looking techniques; methodological experiment
    JEL: O38 I21 O39 I28
    Date: 2011–10
  13. By: Cornaglia, Francesca (Queen Mary, University of London); Crivellaro, Elena (University of Padova); McNally, Sandra (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Mental health problems – and depression in particular – have been rising internationally. The link between poor mental health and poor educational outcomes is particularly interesting in the case of the UK which has a low international ranking both on measures of child wellbeing and the probability of early drop-out from the labour market and education. We study this issue using a large longitudinal study of a recent cohort of teenagers in England. We use the General Health Questionnaire to derive measures of poor mental health. We find a large negative association between mental health problems and educational outcomes – where we consider examination results before leaving compulsory education and the probability of being "not in education, employment or training" at a young age. The association is large even after including a very rich set of controls. Results are stronger for girls and also vary according to the different components of the mental health measure. We also explore the potential role of intermediary mechanisms (truancy and risky behaviors).
    Keywords: mental health, educational attainment, drop-out
    JEL: I1 I2
    Date: 2012–03
  14. By: Dawid, Herbert (University of Bielefeld); Muehlheusser, Gerd (University of Hamburg)
    Abstract: In contexts such as education and sports, skill-accumulation of individuals over time crucially depends on the amount of training they receive, which is often allocated on the basis of repeated selection. We analyze optimal selection policies in a model of endogenous skill formation where, apart from their ability to transform training into skills, individuals also differ with respect to relative age. The latter has been identified by recent empirical research as a major determinant for performance differentials within cohorts. We find that the optimal policy is pro-competitive at later selection stages in the sense of selecting the individuals with the higher skill signals. All eventual corrections due to relative age occur at early stages, where selection is either counter-competitive (i.e. individuals with low skill signals are selected) or even avoided at all. Thereby, the induced selection quality is non-monotone in the degree of ex-ante asymmetry due to relative age. Finally, the (empirical) observation of persistent relative age effects does in general not hint at suboptimal selection policies.
    Keywords: skill formation, human capital, selection, heterogeneity, age effects, training, education
    JEL: J24 M53 I25 I28
    Date: 2012–04
  15. By: Lindahl, Mikael (Uppsala University); Palme, Mårten (Stockholm University); Sandgren Massih, Sofia (Uppsala University); Sjögren, Anna (IFAU)
    Abstract: Most previous studies of intergenerational transmission of human capital are restricted to two generations – parents and their children. In this study we use a Swedish data set which enables us link individual measures of lifetime earnings for three generations and data on educational attainments of four generations. We investigate to what extent estimates based on income data from two generations accurately predicts earnings persistence beyond two generations. We also do a similar analysis for intergenerational persistence in educational attainments. We find two-generation studies to severely under-predict intergenerational persistence in earnings and educational attainment over three generations. Finally, we use our multigenerational data on educational attainment to estimate the structural parameters in the Becker-Tomes model. Our results suggest a small or no causal effect of parental education on children's educational attainment.
    Keywords: multigenerational income mobility, human capital transmission, intergenerational income mobility
    JEL: D31 J62
    Date: 2012–04
  16. By: Marcello D'Amato (Università di Salerno, and CSEF); Dilip Mookherjee (Boston University)
    Abstract: We present a dynamic OLG model of educational signaling, inequality and mobility with missing credit markets. Agents are characterized by two sources of unobserved heterogeneity: ability and parental income, consistent with empirical evidence on returns to schooling. Both quantity and quality of human capital evolve endogenously. The model generates a Kuznets inverted-U pattern in skill premia similar to historical US and UK experience. In the first (resp. later) phase the skill premium rises (falls), social returns to education exceed (falls below) private returns: under-investment owing to financial imperfections dominate (are dominated by) over-investment owing to signaling distortions. There always exist Pareto-improving policy interventions reallocating education between poor and rich children. JEL Classification:
    Date: 2012–04–11

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