nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒10‒20
sixteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Selection and Tracking in Secondary Education; A cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities By Korthals Roxanne
  2. Do Single-Sex Schools Enhance Students’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Outcomes? By Hyunjoon Park; Jere R. Behrman; Jaesung Choi
  3. Selection and tracking in secondary education: A cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities By Korthals Roxanne
  4. The Headmaster Ritual: The Importance of Management for School Outcomes By Böhlmark, Anders; Grönqvist, Erik; Vlachos, Jonas
  5. The Friends Factor: How Students’ Social Networks Affect Their Academic Achievement and Well-Being? By Victor Lavy; Edith Sand
  6. Are School Vouchers Associated with Equity in Education? By OECD
  7. Overeducation at the start of the career - stepping stone or trap? By S. BAERT; B. COCKX; D. VERHAEST
  8. Intergenerational Mobility, Middle Sectors and Entrepreneurship in Uruguay By Nestor Gandelman; Virginia Robano
  9. The Evolution of Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis By Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  10. GINI DP 43: Educational Selectivity and Preferences about Education Spending By Daniel Horn
  11. Tertiary Education: Developing Skills for Innovation and Long-Term Growth in Canada By Calista Cheung; Yvan Guillemette; Shahrzad Mobasher-Fard
  12. The Impact of Immigration on the Educational Attainment of Natives By Hunt, Jennifer
  13. Child Education and the Family Income Gradient in China By Paul Frijters; Luo Chuliang; Xin Meng
  14. Education and Migration Choices in Hierarchical Societies: The Case of Matam, Senegal. By Auriol, Emmanuelle; Demonsant, Jean-Luc
  15. The challenges of higher education institutions in developing countries: Why capacity development matters By Rita van Deuren
  16. Is there really such a Thing as a “Second Chance” in Education? By OECD

  1. By: Korthals Roxanne (METEOR)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of tracking in secondary school on student performance and educational opportunities, taking into account whether prior performance is considered when students are selected in the different tracks. The sample consists of data from the Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 for around 185,000 students in 31 comparable countries. The results are controlled for student- and school-level confounders. The results indicate that when tracking is implemented, it does not have a direct relation with performance. However, system and school interactions reveal that a highly differentiated system is best for student performance when schools always take into account prior performance to decide on student acceptance. In systems with a fewtracks, admission rules have less of an impact and tracking is only mildly associated with performance. Equality of opportunity is best provided for in a system with many tracks, especially when schools always consider entrance requirements. However, caution is warranted in interpreting these results since selection issues could play a role.
    Keywords: education, training and the labour market;
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Hyunjoon Park (Department of Sociology and Education, University of Pennsylvania); Jere R. Behrman (Department of Economics and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania); Jaesung Choi (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Despite women’s significant improvement in educational attainment, underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) college majors persists in most countries. We address whether one particular institution – single-sex schools – may enhance female – or male – students’ STEM careers. Exploiting the unique setting in Korea where assignment to all-girls, all-boys or coeducational high schools is random, we move beyond associations to assess causal effects of single-sex schools. We use administrative data on national college entrance mathematics examination scores and a longitudinal survey of high school seniors that provide various STEM outcomes (mathematics and science interest and self-efficacy, expectations of a four-year college attendance and a STEM college major during the high school senior year, and actual attendance at a four-year college and choice of a STEM major two years after high school). We find significantly positive effects of all-boys schools consistently across different STEM outcomes, whereas the positive effect of all-girls schools is only found for mathematics scores.
    Keywords: Africa, Economic Shocks, Child Schooling
    JEL: N37 E30 I21
    Date: 2012–09–18
  3. By: Korthals Roxanne (ROA rm)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of tracking in secondary school on student performanceand educational opportunities, taking into account whether prior performance isconsidered when students are selected in the different tracks. The sample consistsof data from the Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 for around185,000 students in 31 comparable countries. The results are controlled for student- andschool-level confounders. The results indicate that when tracking is implemented, it doesnot have a direct relation with performance. However, system and school interactionsreveal that a highly differentiated system is best for student performance when schoolsalways take into account prior performance to decide on student acceptance. In systemswith a few tracks, admission rules have less of an impact and tracking is only mildlyassociated with performance. Equality of opportunity is best provided for in a systemwith many tracks, especially when schools always consider entrance requirements.However, caution is warranted in interpreting these results since selection issues couldplay a role.
    Keywords: labour market entry and occupational careers;
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Böhlmark, Anders (Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)); Grönqvist, Erik (Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU)); Vlachos, Jonas (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: The role of school principals largely resembles that of corporate managers and the leadership they provide are often viewed as a crucial component for educational success. We estimate the impact of individual principals on various schooling outcomes, by constructing a principal-school panel data set that allows us to track individual principals as they move between schools. We find that individual principals have a substantive impact on school policies, working conditions and student outcomes. Particularly, students who attend a school with a one standard deviation better principal receive on average 0.12 standard deviations higher test scores. Despite having very rich background information on principals, it is difficult to determine which principal characteristics that form the basis for successful school management. We also find a somewhat mixed picture on what management style characterizes a successful principal. We further show that the scope for principal discretion – for better or for worse – is larger in small schools, in voucher schools and in areas with more school competition.
    Keywords: Principals; School Management
    JEL: D10 I10 J10
    Date: 2012–10–10
  5. By: Victor Lavy; Edith Sand
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the influence of social relationships on educational attainment and social outcomes of students in school. More specifically, we investigate how losing different types of social relationships during the transition from elementary to middle school affect students' academic progress and general well-being. We use social relationships identified by the students themselves in elementary school, as part of a unique aspect of the Tel Aviv school application process which allows sixth-grade students to designate their middle schools of choice and to list up to eight friends with whom they wish to attend that school. The lists create natural “friendship hierarchies” that we exploit in our analysis. We designate the three categories of requited and unrequited friendships that stem from these lists as follows: (1) reciprocal friends (students who list one another); and for those whose friendship requests did not match: (2) followers (those who listed fellow students as friends but were not listed as friends by these same fellow students) and (3) non-reciprocal friends (parallel to followers). Following students from elementary to middle school enables us to overcome potential selection bias by using pupil fixed-effect methodology. Our results suggest that the presence of reciprocal friends and followers in class has a positive and significant effect on test scores in English, math, and Hebrew. However, the number of friends in the social network beyond the first circle of reciprocal friends has no effect at all on students. In addition, the presence of non-reciprocal friends in class has a negative effect on a student’s learning outcomes. We find that these effects have interesting patterns of heterogeneity by gender, ability, and age of students. In addition, we find that these various types of friendships have positive effects on other measures of well-being, including social and overall happiness in school, time allocated for homework, and whether one exhibits violent behavior.
    JEL: D8 J0
    Date: 2012–10
  6. By: OECD
    Abstract: <UL> <LI>Privately managed schools tend to attract more advantaged student populations; but the difference between the socio-economic profiles of public and private schools is narrowed when privately managed schools receive higher levels of public funding.</LI> <LI>The difference between the socio-economic profiles of publicly and privately managed schools tends to be twice as large in school systems that use universal vouchers as in systems that use targeted vouchers.</LI></UL>
    Date: 2012–09
    Abstract: This study investigates whether young unemployed graduates who accept a job below their level of education accelerate or delay the transition into a job that matches their level of education. We adopt the Timing of Events approach to identify this dynamic treatment effect using monthly calendar data from a representative sample of Flemish (Belgian) youth who started searching for a job right after leaving formal education. We find that overeducation is a trap. This trap is especially important early in the unemployment spell. Our results are robust across various specifications and for two overeducation measures.
    Keywords: overqualification, underemployment, school-to-work transitions, duration analysis, dynamic treatment
    JEL: C21 C41 I21 J24 J64
    Date: 2012–05
  8. By: Nestor Gandelman; Virginia Robano
    Abstract: This paper estimates the relationship between parents’ educational attainment and income and children’s schooling in Uruguay between 1982 and 2010. This relationship is interpreted as a measure of intergenerational social mobility, and the paper reports evidence that it has decreased over time. The paper finds that the probability that the children of the more educated remain among the more educated has grown, with analogous results for the less educated. As a result, the improvements in education of the 1980s and 1990s were unevenly distributed, with a bias against the disadvantaged. The paper also finds that while entrepreneurship status and belonging to the middle class matter in terms of social mobility as measured by compulsory education, i. e. , primary school and the first three years of secondary school, they do not have a notable effect on non- compulsory education, i. e. , the last three years of secondary school and higher.
    JEL: I24 J62 L26
    Date: 2012–07
  9. 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: 2012–10–06
  10. By: Daniel Horn (Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, TÁRKI Social Research Institute (TÁRKI))
    Abstract: This paper argues that preferences for educational redistribution are not driven by income but by the level of education. While income and preferences for educational redistribution follow the conventional story – rich want less spending –, the level of education associates positively with spending on education, which effect is altered by the selectivity of the education system. Highly educated citizens are relatively more likely to support government spending on education in countries where the system is selective compared to highly educated people’s preferences in countries with comprehensive systems.
    Keywords: spending on education, selectivity, preferences on government spending, ISSP1996, ISSP2006
    Date: 2012–04
  11. By: Calista Cheung; Yvan Guillemette; Shahrzad Mobasher-Fard
    Abstract: The tertiary education system in Canada performs well in fostering a skilled workforce with generally good labour-market outcomes and is internationally recognised for its research contributions. Tertiary educational attainment is high, but participation rates will need to continue expanding to maintain the supply of highly skilled labour as the population ages and the needs of the knowledge-based economy rapidly evolve. This should be achieved by encouraging access to higher education for disadvantaged socio-economic groups, while enhancing the flexibility of the system to allow students with diverse needs to move between institutions more easily to meet their learning objectives. Immigration is another important source of skills that could be better utilised. The development of skills for innovation can be improved by increasing the integration of technical, business and communications skills training with practical industry experience within tertiary education programmes. In an environment of government spending restraint, the quality of tertiary education could be strengthened by increasing the distinction between institutions that target research and those that emphasise teaching and re-evaluating tuition policies in provinces where public finances are stretched. This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Review of Canada (<P>Enseignement supérieur : développer les compétences au service de l'innovation et de la croissance à long terme en Canada<BR>Le système d’enseignement supérieur canadien permet d’avoir une main-d’oeuvre qualifiée, qui obtient globalement de bons résultats sur le plan professionnel. Il est par ailleurs reconnu à l’échelle mondiale pour ses contributions à la recherche. Les taux de réussite dans le supérieur sont élevés, mais le taux de fréquentation va devoir s’améliorer si l’on veut maintenir l’offre de main-d’oeuvre qualifiée, à mesure que la population vieillit et que les besoins de l’économie du savoir évoluent. Il faudrait pour cela favoriser l'accès à l'enseignement supérieur des catégories défavorisées, tout en renforçant la flexibilité du système afin de permettre à des étudiants ayant différents besoins de changer d'établissement plus facilement pour atteindre leurs objectifs d'apprentissage. L'immigration constitue également une source précieuse de compétences, qui pourrait être mieux utilisée. Le développement des compétences au service de l’innovation peut être amélioré en associant davantage les compétences techniques, commerciales et de communication à l’expérience pratique dans le cadre des programmes d’enseignement supérieur. Dans un contexte de rigueur budgétaire, la qualité de l’enseignement supérieur pourrait être renforcée en faisant une plus grande distinction entre les établissements qui privilégient la recherche et ceux qui mettent l’accent sur l’enseignement, et en réévaluant les politiques en matière de droits d’inscription dans les provinces où les finances publiques sont tendues. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE du Canada 2012 (
    Keywords: participation rates, tertiary education, grants, access, tuition fees, student loans, graduation rate, attainment rate, access to tertiary education, foreign tertiary students, scholarships, tuition tax credits, taux de participation, subventions, éducation supérieure, frais de scolarité, taux de graduation, taux de réussite, accès à l’éducation supérieure, étudiants étrangers, bourses, prêts étudiants, crédits d’impôt pour frais de scolarité
    JEL: I22 I25 I28
    Date: 2012–09–20
  12. By: Hunt, Jennifer
    Abstract: Using a state panel based on census data from 1940-2010, I examine the impact of immigration on the high school completion of natives in the United States. Immigrant children could compete for schooling resources with native children, lowering the return to native education and discouraging native high school completion. Conversely, native children might be encouraged to complete high school in order to avoid competing with immigrant high-school dropouts in the labor market. I find evidence that both channels are operative and that the net effect is positive, particularly for native-born blacks, though not for native-born Hispanics. An increase of one percentage point in the share of immigrants in the population aged 11-64 increases the probability that natives aged 11-17 eventually complete 12 years of schooling by 0.3 percentage points, and increases the probability for native-born blacks by 0.4 percentage points. I account for the endogeneity of immigrant flows by using instruments based on 1940 settlement patterns.
    Keywords: Education; Immigration
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2012–10
  13. By: Paul Frijters (School of Economics, The University of Queensland); Luo Chuliang; Xin Meng
    Abstract: This paper looks at the relation between education and family income using a 2008-2009 survey of nearly 10,000 children in 15 cities and nine provinces throughout China. We use school test scores on mathematics and language, as well as parent-reported educational progress, out-of-pocket expenses, and self-reported quality of schooling. Across all measures, children from wealthier families do better, but the gap is much smaller for older children than younger children in rural areas and is almost entirely gone at the end of secondary school. In Chinese cities and in Western countries like the US the opposite is the case, with the gap between children from poor and rich households staying constant or even widening as the kids get older. Our explanation is that it takes a generation of universal education for ability, education, and parental income to become highly correlated, which will already have happened in Chinese cities and in Western countries, but is only just now happening in rural areas in China. Accordingly, the relation between family income and child ability increases over generations, reducing future education and income mobility.
    Date: 2012–10–01
  14. By: Auriol, Emmanuelle; Demonsant, Jean-Luc
    Abstract: This paper examines determinants of schooling in traditional hierarchical societies with an established history of outmigration. In the village, a ruling caste controls local political and religious institutions. For children who do not belong to the ruling caste, migration is a strategy to increase social mobility, a process that is enhanced by formal schooling. Since formally educated migrants tend not to return to the home community, the ruling caste seeks to develop family loyalty by choosing religious education instead. The theory hence predicts that the social status of the family has a significant impact on the parental educational choices of future migrant children. Children from the ruling caste who are encouraged by their parents to migrate have a lower probability of being sent to formal school than children from the low caste. The theoretical predictions are tested on data from the Matam region in Senegal, a region where roughly one of every two children has ever attended school.
    JEL: I21 O12 O15 O17 Z13
    Date: 2012–05
  15. By: Rita van Deuren (Maastricht School of Management)
    Abstract: Higher education (HE) is increasingly recognized for its contribution to socio-economic development, both in developed and developing countries. Investments in HE are investments in human capital leading to public and private returns. This recognition has contributed to the worldwide trend of massification of HE. Furthermore and related to this trend of massification, the HE sector is confronted with increased student mobility, a diversified student body, inequalities in access, growth of information and communication tools, increased autonomy, growing demands for accountability and debates on financing higher education. The HE context poses many challenges for higher education institutions (HEI), especially in developing countries: challenges that need to be overcome in order to show adequate performance. This paper discusses the main challenges faced by HEI in developing countries. Covered are themes such as managing expansion, maintaining and improving quality standards, funding, improving labour market relatedness, increasing managerial capacity and implementing new forms of teaching and learning. It is argued that enhancement of organizational capacity of HEI is considered a prerequisite for meeting these challenges and for showing increased performance. The concept of capacity development, as a deliberate and goal oriented process aimed at increasing organizational capacity, is introduced. The paper ends by demonstrating that research on capacity development in HEI in developing countries is likely to contribute to performance of HEI and thereby to wider national socio-economic welfare.
    Date: 2012–09
  16. By: OECD
    Abstract: <UL> <LI>While the reading proficiency of Canadian 15-year-olds closely predicts reading proficiency at age 24, young adults can shape their reading skills after the end of compulsory schooling.</LI> <LI>In the transition to young adulthood, reading skills generally improve – but more for some groups than for others. Immigrants, in particular, manage to close performance gaps between the ages of 15 and 24.</LI> <LI>Participation in some forms of formal post-secondary education is consistently and substantially related to improvements in reading skills between the ages of 15 and 24.</LI></UL>
    Date: 2012–08

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