nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒09‒30
twenty-one papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Estimating Heterogeneous Returns to Education in Germany via Conditional Heteroskedasticity By Saniter, Nils
  2. Parental education and offspring outcomes: evidence from the Swedish compulsory schooling reform. By Petter Lundborg;; Anton Nilsson;; Dan-Olof Rooth
  3. Test score disclosure and school performance By Camargo, Braz; Firpo, Sergio; Ponczek, Vladimir P.
  4. State Merit-based Financial Aid Programs and College Attainment By Sjoquist, David L.; Winters, John V.
  5. The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools By Abdulkadiroğlu, Atila; Angrist, Joshua; Pathak, Parag A.
  6. Anti-Lemons: School Reputation, Relative Diversity, and Educational Quality By MacLeod, W. Bentley; Urquiola, Miguel
  7. The Returns to Education for Opportunity Entrepreneurs, Necessity Entrepreneurs, and Paid Employees By Fossen, Frank M.; Büttner, Tobias J. M.
  8. Education, Personality and Separation: The Distribution of Relationship Skills across Society By Diederik Boertien; Christian von Scheve; Mona Park
  9. Education Policies and Practices: What Have We Learnt and the Road Ahead for Bihar By Priya Ranjan; Nishith Prakash
  10. Changes in test scores distribution for students of the fourth grade in Brazil: A relative distribution analysis for the years 1997 to 2005 By Rodrigues, Clarissa G.; Rios-Neto, Eduardo L G; Pinto, Cristine Campos de Xavier
  11. Rational Students and Resit Exams By Kooreman, Peter
  12. What Do Teachers Do? Teacher Quality Vis-a-vis Teacher Quantity in a Model of Public Education and Growth By MAUSUMI DAS; SUBRATA GUHA
  13. First Degree Earns: The Impact of College Quality on College Completion Rates By Cohodes, Sarah; Goodman, Joshua
  14. The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children By Cawley, John; Frisvold, David; Meyerhoefer, Chad D.
  15. 'Value Education' in Higher Education Institute By Roy, Chandan Roy
  16. Young Immigrant Children and their Educational Attainment By Ohinata, Asako; van Ours, Jan C.
  17. Spillovers of health education at school on parents' physical activity. By Lucila Berniell;; Dolores de la Mata;; M. Nieves Valdes
  18. Estimating and Testing a Quantile Regression Model with Interactive Effects By Harding, Matthew; Lamarche, Carlos
  19. Modeling the Optimization Problem of a Public University By Philippe Cyrenne; Hugh Grant
  20. Returns to Schooling in Urban China: New Evidence Using Heteroskedasticity Restrictions to Obtain Identification Without Exclusion Restrictions By Vinod Mishra; Russell Smyth
  21. The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital. The Role of Skills and Health By Lundborg, Petter; Nordin, Martin; Rooth, Dan Olof

  1. By: Saniter, Nils (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: In this paper I investigate the causal returns to education for different educational groups in Germany by employing a new method by Klein and Vella (2010) that bases identification on the presence of conditional heteroskedasticity. Compared to IV methods, key advantages of this approach are unbiased estimates in the absence of instruments and parameter interpretation that is not bounded to local average treatment effects. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) I find that the causal return to education is 8.5% for the entire sample, 2.3% for graduates from the basic school track and 11% for graduates from a higher school track. Across these groups the endogeneity bias in simple OLS regressions varies significantly. This confirms recent evidence in the literature on Germany. Various robustness checks support the findings.
    Keywords: return to education, wage equation, control function approach, second moment exclusion restriction
    JEL: C3 I21 J31
    Date: 2012–08
  2. By: Petter Lundborg;; Anton Nilsson;; Dan-Olof Rooth
    Abstract: In this paper, we use the Swedish compulsory school reform to estimate the causal effect of parental education on sons’ outcomes. We use data from the Swedish military enlistment register of the entire population of males and focus on outcomes such as cognitive skills, noncognitive skills, and various dimensions of health at the age of 18. We find significant and positive effects of maternal education on sons' skills and health status. Although the reform had equally strong effects on fathers’ and mothers’ education, we find little evidence that paternal education improves sons’ outcomes.
    Keywords: Education, cognitive skills, noncognitive skills, health, causality, school reforms.
    JEL: I12 I28 J13
    Date: 2012–07
  3. By: Camargo, Braz; Firpo, Sergio; Ponczek, Vladimir P.
    Abstract: In this paper we test whether the disclosure of test scores has direct impacts on student performance, school composition and school inputs. We take advantage of the discontinuity on the disclosure rules of The National Secondary Education Examination (ENEM) run in Brazil by the Ministry of Education: In 2006 it was established that the 2005 mean score results would be disclosed for schools with ten or more students who took the exam inthe previous year. We use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the e ects of test disclosure. Our results indicate that private schools that had their average scores released in 2005 outperformed those that did not by 0.2-0.6 in 2007. We did not nd same results for public schools. Moreover, we did not nd evidence that treated schools adjusted their inputs or that there was major changes in the students composition of treated schools.These ndings allow us to interpret that the main mechanism driving the di erences in performance was the increased levels of students', teachers' and principals' e ort exerted by those in schools that had scores publicized.
    Date: 2012–09–12
  4. By: Sjoquist, David L. (Georgia State University); Winters, John V. (University of Cincinnati)
    Abstract: We examine the effects of recently adopted state merit-based financial aid programs on college attendance and degree completion. Our primary analysis uses microdata from the 2000 Census and 2001-2010 American Community Survey to estimate the effects of merit programs on educational outcomes for 25 merit aid adopting states. We also utilize administrative data for the University System of Georgia to look more in depth at the effects of the HOPE Scholarship on degree completion in Georgia. We find strong consistent evidence that state merit aid programs have no meaningfully positive effect on college completion. Coefficient estimates for our preferred specifications are small and statistically insignificant. State merit aid programs do not appear to increase the percentage of young people with a college education.
    Keywords: merit aid, HOPE, college attainment, degree completion, higher education
    JEL: H75 I23 J24
    Date: 2012–08
  5. By: Abdulkadiroğlu, Atila (Duke University); Angrist, Joshua (MIT); Pathak, Parag A. (MIT)
    Abstract: Parents gauge school quality in part by the level of student achievement and a school's racial mix. The importance of school characteristics in the housing market can be seen in the jump in house prices at school district boundaries where peer characteristics change. The question of whether schools with more attractive peers are really better in a value-added sense remains open, however. This paper uses a fuzzy regression-discontinuity design to evaluate the causal effects of peer characteristics. Our design exploits admissions cutoffs for Boston and New York City's heavily over-subscribed exam schools. Successful applicants near admissions cutoffs for the least selective of these schools move from schools with scores near the bottom of the state SAT score distribution to a school with scores near the median. Successful applicants near admissions cutoffs for the most selective of these schools move from above-average schools to schools with students drawn from the extreme upper tail. Exam school students can also expect to study with fewer nonwhite classmates than unsuccessful applicants. Our estimates suggest that the marked changes in peer characteristics at exam school admissions cutoffs have little causal effect on test scores or college quality.
    Keywords: human capital, peer effects, school quality
    JEL: I21 I28 C21
    Date: 2012–08
  6. By: MacLeod, W. Bentley (Columbia University); Urquiola, Miguel (Columbia University)
    Abstract: Friedman (1962) observed that the ability of firms to acquire and maintain reputations for quality is a key ingredient for the efficient provision of goods and services in a market economy. This paper explores the implications of school reputation for skill acquisition and labor market outcomes in an otherwise competitive market. We find that reputation effects can explain several puzzling findings in the economics of education, including the fact that competition can, but does not always, improve skill acquisition. This result follows from an anti-lemons effect (in contrast to Akerlof's lemons effect) that arises when schools can enhance their reputation by positively selecting their students. This leads to excess demand for "high quality" selective schools that drive out non-selective schools. This in turn reduces "relative diversity", a measure of ability dispersion in a school, leading to lower skill acquisition.
    Keywords: education, reputation, competition, labor markets
    JEL: H2 H4 I21 J31
    Date: 2012–08
  7. By: Fossen, Frank M. (Free University of Berlin); Büttner, Tobias J. M. (Technical University of Berlin)
    Abstract: We assess the relevance of formal education for the productivity of the self-employed and distinguish between opportunity entrepreneurs, who voluntarily pursue a business opportunity, and necessity entrepreneurs, who lack alternative employment options. We expect differences in the returns to education between these groups because of different levels of control. We use the German Socio-economic Panel and account for the endogeneity of education and non-random selection. The results indicate that the returns to a year of education for opportunity entrepreneurs are 3.5 percentage points higher than the paid employees’ rate of 8.1%, but 6.5 percentage points lower for necessity entrepreneurs.
    Keywords: returns to education, opportunity, necessity, entrepreneurship
    JEL: J23 J24 J31 I20 L26
    Date: 2012–08
  8. By: Diederik Boertien; Christian von Scheve; Mona Park
    Abstract: The reasons why the lower educated divorce more than the higher educated in many societies today are poorly understood. Distinct divorce risks by education could be caused by variation in pressures to the couple, commitment, or relationship skills. We concentrate on the latter explanation by looking at the distribution of personality traits across society and its impact on the educational gradient in divorce in Germany. Using data on married couples from the German Socio Economic Panel (N = 9 417) we first estimate the effect of several personality traits on divorce: the tendency to forgive, negative reciprocity, positive reciprocity, and the Big Five. We also account for and find non-linear effects of several personality traits on divorce risk, which is relevant for future research on the effects of personality. In addition, effects differ by level of education. We find personality traits that affect divorce risk to be unevenly distributed over educational groups, but contrary to expectation to favor the lower educated. Once taking into account personality the educational gradient in divorce becomes more negative. This is due to especially high scores on openness to experience for the higher educated, which is a very significant predictor of divorce risk. Overall, we find no support for the hypothesis that the lower educated have less relationship skills in Germany.
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Priya Ranjan (University of California, Irvine); Nishith Prakash (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the status of education, both quantity and quality, in Bihar in both absolute terms and relative to other states in India. It then performs a regression exercise using a panel data of Indian states to identify the correlates of educational outcomes. It also surveys the broader literature on education policies which provides a perspective on the current policies in the field of education in Bihar. Finally, it makes a case for several policy initiatives that should be accorded priority by the policymakers in Bihar. JEL Classification: I2, J31, O15, O22 Key words: Education, Enrollment, Out-of-School, Bihar, India
    Date: 2012–05
  10. By: Rodrigues, Clarissa G.; Rios-Neto, Eduardo L G; Pinto, Cristine Campos de Xavier
    Abstract: To assess the quality of school education, much of educational research is concerned with comparisons of test scores means or medians. In this paper, we shift this focus and explore test scores data by addressing some often neglected questions. In the case ofBrazil, the mean of test scores in Math for students of the fourth grade has declined approximately 0,2 standard deviation in the late 1990s. But what about changes in the distribution of scores? It is unclear whether the decline was caused by deterioration instudent performance in upper and/or lower tails of the distribution. To answer this question, we propose the use of the relative distribution method developed by Handcock and Morris (1999). The advantage of this methodology is that it compares twodistributions of test scores data through a single distribution and synthesizes all the differences between them. Moreover, it is possible to decompose the total difference between two distributions in a level effect (changes in median) and shape effect(changes in shape of the distribution). We find that the decline of average-test scores is mainly caused by a worsening in the position of all students throughout the distribution of scores and is not only specific to any quantile of distribution.
    Date: 2012–09–12
  11. By: Kooreman, Peter (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: Resit exams – extra opportunities to do an exam in the same academic year – are widely prevalent in European higher education, but uncommon in the US. I present a simple theoretical model to compare rational student behavior in the case of only one exam opportunity versus the case of two exam opportunities. Numerical examples for a wide range of plausible parameter values show that a second exam opportunity increases the ultimate passing probability only slightly, but strongly reduces average total student effort.
    Keywords: frequency of examinations, education production function, rationality
    JEL: D01 I21
    Date: 2012–09
  12. By: MAUSUMI DAS (Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi, India); SUBRATA GUHA (Centre for Economic Studies & Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi 110067)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the contribution of teachers in a public education system and its implication for growth. We focus exclusively on two teacher-specific inputs (teacher quality and teacher quantity), and two student-specific inputs (ability and effort). We argue that all these factors enter separately in the education technology and therefore have differential impact of the process of human capital formation. In a public educa- tion system where teachers remunerations are paid by the government and financed by taxation, for any given amount of government revenue, there exists a trade-o¤ between teacher quality and teacher quantity. At the same time, the imposed tax rate has an impact on the export choice of an agent. Thus human capital formation and growth in the model depends on a complex interaction between teacher quality, teacher quantity, student ability and student effort. In this context we discuss the optimal education policy as well the optimal taxation policy of the government.
    Keywords: Public Education, Quality of Education, Growth
    JEL: I28 O40
    Date: 2012–09
  13. By: Cohodes, Sarah (Harvard University); Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We use a Massachusetts merit aid program to provide the first clear causal evidence on the impact of college quality on students' postsecondary enrollment decisions and rates of degree completion, where college quality is defined by a variety of measures including on-time graduation rates. High school students with test scores above multiple thresholds were granted tuition waivers at in-state public colleges of lower quality than the average alternative available to such students. A binding score regression discontinuity design comparing students just above and below these thresholds yields two main findings. First, students are remarkably willing to forego college quality for relatively small amounts of money. Second, choosing a lower quality college significantly lowers on-time completion rates, a result driven by highskilled students who would otherwise have attended higher quality colleges. For the marginal student, enrolling at an in-state public college lowered the probability of graduating on time by more than 40%. The low completion rates of scholarship users imply the program had little impact on the in-state production of college degrees. More broadly, these results suggest that the critically important task of improving college quality requires steps beyond merely changing the composition of the student body.
    Date: 2012–08
  14. By: Cawley, John (Cornell University); Frisvold, David (Emory University); Meyerhoefer, Chad D. (Lehigh University)
    Abstract: In response to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have advocated increasing the time that elementary school children spend in physical education (PE) classes. However, little is known about the effect of PE on child weight. This paper measures that effect by instrumenting for child PE time with state policies, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) for 1998-2004. Results from IV models indicate that PE lowers BMI z-score and reduces the probability of obesity among 5th graders (in particular, boys), while the instrument is insufficiently powerful to reliably estimate effects for younger children. This represents some of the first evidence of a causal effect of PE on youth obesity, and thus offers at least some support to the assumptions behind the CDC recommendations. We find no evidence that increased PE time crowds out time in academic courses or has spillovers to achievement test scores.
    Keywords: obesity, physical activity, physical education, children, health
    JEL: I12 I18 I21 H75 K32
    Date: 2012–08
  15. By: Roy, Chandan Roy
    Abstract: This paper focuses interlinkage between ‘Value Education’ and ‘Sustainable Development’ in special reference to Higher Education Institutes of India. Sustainable Development, which accepts the responsibility of future generations, cannot be possible without morality being imbibed in human nature and that should be done in adolescence when he passes through several confusions and queries. This paper suggests few curricular and co-curricular modifications of Higher Education Institutes and explains within an era of consumerism, an urgent need of altruist approach is a dire necessity to save this earth from its forthcoming danger.
    Keywords: Value Education; Higher Education Institute; Sustainable Development
    JEL: I23 I21 Q01
    Date: 2011–12–03
  16. By: Ohinata, Asako (Tilburg University); van Ours, Jan C. (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: We analyze the determinants of reading literacy, mathematical skills and science skills of young immigrant children in the Netherlands. We find that these are affected by age at immigration and whether or not one of the parents is native Dutch.
    Keywords: immigrant children, educational attainment
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2012–08
  17. By: Lucila Berniell;; Dolores de la Mata;; M. Nieves Valdes
    Abstract: To prevent modern health conditions like obesity, cancer, cardiovascular illness, and diabetes, which have reached epidemic-like proportions in recent decades, many health experts argue that students should receive Health Education (HED) at school. Although this type of education aims mainly to improve children's health proles, it might affect other family members as well. This paper exploits state HED reforms as quasi-natural experiments to estimate the causal impact of HED received by children on their parents' physical activity. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) for the period 1999-2005 merged with data on state HED reforms from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Health Policy Database, and the 2000 and 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS). To identify the spillover effects of HED requirements on parents' behavior we use a "differences-in-differences in- differences" (DDD) methodology in which we allow for different types of treatments. We find a positive effect of HED reforms at the elementary school on the probability of parents doing light physical activity. Introducing major changes in HED increases the probability of fathers engaging in physical activity by 12.4 percentage points, while this probability for mothers does not seem to be affected. We find evidence of two channels that may drive these spillovers. We conclude that the gender specialization of parents in childcare activities, as well as information sharing between children and parents, may play a role in generating these indirect effects and in turn, in shaping healthy lifestyles within the household.
    Keywords: physical activity; healthy lifestyles; indirect treatment effects; health education; triple differences.
    JEL: I12 I18 I28 C21
    Date: 2012–07
  18. By: Harding, Matthew (Stanford University); Lamarche, Carlos (University of Kentucky)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a quantile regression estimator for a panel data model with interactive effects potentially correlated with the independent variables. We provide conditions under which the slope parameter estimator is asymptotically Gaussian. Monte Carlo studies are carried out to investigate the finite sample performance of the proposed method in comparison with other candidate methods. We discuss an approach to testing the model specification against a competing fixed effects specification. The paper presents an empirical application of the method to study the effect of class size and class composition on educational attainment. The findings show that (i) a change in the gender composition of a class impacts differently low- and high-performing students; (ii) while smaller classes are beneficial for low performers, larger classes are beneficial for high performers; (iii) reductions in class size do not seem to impact mean and median student performance; (iv) the fixed effects specification is rejected in favor of the interactive effects specification.
    Keywords: quantile regression, panel data, interactive effects, instrumental variables, class size, educational attainment
    JEL: C23 C33 I21 I28
    Date: 2012–08
  19. By: Philippe Cyrenne; Hugh Grant
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine the factors that influence the reputation or prestige of a public university. We develop a model of university behavior that indicates how the decisions made by university officials would be chosen in order to maximize their respective reputations. In doing so, we assume that reputation is enhanced by the quality of teaching and research produced as well as the service provided to the community in terms of the provision of publicly funded education services. We argue that the relative weights placed on these intermediate outputs may vary by university type as well as the means of producing them. Given the optimization problem of a university, a number of interesting conditions governing the policy variables chosen by the officials of public universities are obtained.
    Date: 2012–09
  20. By: Vinod Mishra; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: We estimate the returns to schooling using matched employer-employee data from Shanghai. To do so, we use a novel identification strategy, proposed by Lewbel (2012), which utilizes a heteroscedastic covariance restriction to construct an internal instrumental variable (IV). We find that, for the full sample, the Lewbel (2012) IV estimation suggests returns to schooling generally in the range 25-30 per cent, which is higher than extant studies using conventional IVs. The findings in this study underpin the need for the Chinese government to continue to invest in education and help explain why private demand for education remains strong, despite rising cost.
    Keywords: China; Schooling; Income; Lewbel
    JEL: I25 J31
    Date: 2012–09
  21. By: Lundborg, Petter (Department of Economics, Lund University); Nordin, Martin (Department of Economics, Lund University); Rooth, Dan Olof (Linnaeus University)
    Abstract: We provide new evidence on the causal mechanisms reflected in the intergenerational transmission of human capital. Applying both an adoption and a twin design to rich data from the Swedish military enlistment, we show that greater parental education increases son's cognitive and non-cognitive skills, as well as their health. The estimates are in many cases similar across research designs and suggest that a substantial part of the effect of parental education on the children's education works through improving children's skills and health.
    Keywords: Intergenerational Transmission; Human Capital; Education; Health
    JEL: C41 I11 I12 J12 J14
    Date: 2012–09–12

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