nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2012‒11‒11
nine papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Independent schools and long-run educational outcomes – evidence from Sweden´s large scale voucher reform By Böhlmark, Anders; Lindahl, Mikael
  2. Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Functioning at Older Ages? By Schneeweis, Nicole; Skirbekk, Vegard; Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf
  3. The Effects of Decentralization on Schooling: Evidence from the Sao Paulo State's Education Reform By Ricardo A. Madeira
  4. Standard needs of the italian primary schools By Agnese Sacchi; Giuseppe Di Giacomo; Aline Pennisi
  5. Skill-Biased Technical Change and the Cost of Higher Education By John Bailey Jones; Fang Yang
  6. Self-Evaluations and Performance: Evidence from Adolescence By Himmler, Oliver; Koenig, Tobias
  7. College Expansion and Curriculum Choice By Su, Xuejuan; Kaganovich, Michael; Schiopu, Iona
  8. Implications of Philippine Trends in Education Financing and Projected Change in School-age Population on Education Expenditures by Income Group: Using National Transfer Accounts Results By Salas, J.M. Ian S.; Abrigo, Michael Ralph M.; Racelis, Rachel H.
  9. Gender and Risk Taking in the Classroom By Justine Burns; Simon Halliday; Malcolm Keswell

  1. By: Böhlmark, Anders (SOFI, Stockholm University); Lindahl, Mikael (Department of Economics, Uppsala University)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates average educational performance effects of an expanding independent- school sector at the compulsory level by assessing a radical voucher reform that was implemented in Sweden in 1992. Starting from a situation where all public schools were essentially local monopolists, the degree of independent schools has developed very differently across municipalities over time as a result of this reform. We regress the change in educational performance outcomes on the increase in the share of independent-school students between Swedish municipalities. We find that an increase in the share of independent-school students improves average performance at the end of compulsory school as well as long-run educational outcomes. We show that these effects are very robust with respect to a number of potential issues, such as grade inflation and pre-reform trends. However, for most outcomes, we do not detect positive and statistically significant effects until approximately a decade after the reform. This is notable, but not surprising given that it took time for independent schools to become more than a marginal phenomenon in Sweden. We do not find positive effects on school expenditures. Hence, the educational performance effects are interpretable as positive effects on school productivity. We further find that the average effects primarily are due to external effects (e.g., school competition), and not that independent-school students gain significantly more than public-school students.
    Keywords: School choice; independent schools; educational performance; external effects
    JEL: H40 I21
    Date: 2012–10–22
  2. By: Schneeweis, Nicole (University of Linz); Skirbekk, Vegard (University of Rostock); Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf (University of Linz)
    Abstract: We study the relationship between education and cognitive functioning at older ages by exploiting compulsory schooling reforms, implemented in six European countries during the 1950s and 1960s. Using data of individuals aged 50+ from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we assess the causal effect of education on old-age memory, fluency, numeracy, orientation and dementia. We find a positive impact of schooling on memory. One year of education increases the delayed memory score by about 0.3, which amounts to 16% of the standard deviation. Furthermore, for women, we find that more education reduces the risk of dementia.
    Keywords: compulsory schooling, instrumental variables, education, cognitive functioning, memory, aging, dementia
    JEL: I21 J14
    Date: 2012–10
  3. By: Ricardo A. Madeira
    Abstract: Decentralization of the delivery of public services provision is an important governance reform recently witnessed in many developing countries. Public education has been one of the key public services devolved to lower level governments. This paper uses an exclusive and rich longitudinal data on primary schools to evaluate the effects of the decentralization reform implemented on the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on several indicators of school performance and school resources. Specific aspects of the Sao Paulo’s State education reform combined with the data available allow me to deal with some common identification issues encountered by previous empirical studies on the subject. I find conflicting results for different school quality measures; decentralization increased dropout rates and failure rates across all primary school grades but improved several school resources. Further empirical investigation suggests that the worsening of these school performance indicators for the two first grades was partially driven by the democratization of the school access promoted by the education reform. Evaluation of the distributive outcome of the reform suggests that its effects were more perverse for schools located on rural and poor areas. I also find evidence that decentralization widened the gap between the “good” and “bad” schools. Moreover, I find no evidence that the municipalities’ administrative experience affected the program’s outcome.
    Keywords: Decentralization of Public Services, Education Economics, School Quality and
    JEL: I2 I28 H43 H7 C21
    Date: 2012–10–31
  4. By: Agnese Sacchi; Giuseppe Di Giacomo; Aline Pennisi
    Abstract: The education sector in Italy is mainly public and highly centralized concerning both financial and regulatory aspects. However, there are significant disparities in school spending and students’ performance across regions. This heterogeneity is also relevant in relation to the ongoing fiscal decentralization process, which could imply the assignment of responsibility for education to sub-central governments or, even more directly, to schools. The aim of the paper is to estimate the standard financial requirement for a sample of about 1,000 primary schools for the year 2009/2010, based on the demand of service (e.g., the number of students, the type of school), and compare it with the current endowment in order to evaluate whether a better allocation of available resources can be obtained. Results suggest that the actual spending is quite far from the standard for all schools; most of them should get a positive correction, receiving more resources to accomplish their tasks.
    Keywords: standard financial requiremente, school spending, fiscal decentralization reform, resource allocation, Italy
    JEL: H52 H70 I22 I28
    Date: 2012–10
  5. By: John Bailey Jones; Fang Yang
    Abstract: We document the growth in higher education costs and tuition over the past 50 years. To explain these trends, we develop a general equilibrium model with skill- and sector-biased technical change. We assume that higher education suffers from Baumol's (1967) service sector disease, in that the quantity of labor and capital needed to educate a student is constant over time. Finding the model's parameters through a combination of calibration and estimation, we show that it can explain the rise in college costs between 1961 and 2009, along with the increase in college attainment and the increase in the relative earnings of college graduates. We finish by using the model to perform a number of numerical experiments.
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Himmler, Oliver; Koenig, Tobias
    Abstract: A positive view of the self is often portrayed as a valuable asset in the sense that it can have performance enhancing properties. Using data on self-esteem - the most fundamental manifestation of positive self evaluations - and high school grade point averages of American students we produce results in line with this idea and find a positive link between favorable self-evaluations and higher levels of educational performance. However, when we exploit exogenous variation in self-esteem due to adolescent skin problems in order to account for the possible endogeneity of self-esteem, this finding is reversed and we obtain a negative effect on performance. We discuss mechanisms that may generate such an adverse causal effect of positive self-evaluations, and conclude that self-esteem and effort need not always be complements but can actually be substitutes.
    Keywords: Self-evaluations, Self-esteem, Non-cognitive Skills, Human Capital, Performance
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2012–10
  7. By: Su, Xuejuan (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Kaganovich, Michael (Indiana University); Schiopu, Iona (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of college enrollment expansion on student academic achievements and labor market outcomes. When public policies promote “access” to college education, colleges adjust their curricula: Non-elite public colleges adopt a less demanding curriculum to accommodate the influx of low-ability students, benefiting them at the expense of middle-ability students. In response to the reduced competitive pressure for middle-ability students, private colleges adopt a more demanding curriculum to better serve their high-ability students, again at the expense of middle-ability students. The model offers an explanation to the observed U-shaped earnings growth profile among college-educated workers in the U.S.
    Keywords: curriculum; postsecondary education; enrollment expansion; income distribution
    JEL: H44 I21 I23 I24 J24
    Date: 2012–10–01
  8. By: Salas, J.M. Ian S.; Abrigo, Michael Ralph M.; Racelis, Rachel H.
    Abstract: <p>Financing of education in the Philippines is mainly by the government (public) and by households (private), and since the 1990s there has been a shift in the public/private mix in education financing toward higher private share. Between 2007 and 2040 the schooling age population of the Philippines is projected to continue to increase in size and the age structure to shift toward higher proportion in the age group that attend the tertiary school level. This paper presents results of simulations of aggregate education consumption or expenditures by age and by income group for two hypothetical scenarios: simulations using an alternative education financing mix (alternative to the 2007 financing mix); and simulations using the 2040 school-age population (in place of the 2007 population).</p><p>The aggregate age profile simulations for the two scenarios are then compared with the 2007 actual aggregate age profiles to derive implications of the two sets of change on the education expenditures of the different income groups. The comparisons showed that the two changes, shift in education financing mix toward higher private share and change in school-age population age structure from 2007 to 2040, would among others result to reduced share of education resources and higher per capita private education cost for the bottom income tercile group.</p>
    Keywords: Philippines, National Transfer Accounts, education expenditures by age, education financing, education expenditures by income group
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Justine Burns (School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Simon Halliday; Malcolm Keswell
    Abstract: We examine whether differences in risk preferences explain gender differentials in test scores amongst a large class of undergraduate microeconomics students, where students were evaluated using multiple choice questions. In each of five class tests, the negative penalty associated with an incorrect answer was randomly varied across questions. We show that female students exhibit lower risk propensities on average, and that they are more responsive than males to an increase in the penalty for an incorrect answer. Controlling for dierences in risk preferences, we show that the gender differential in relation to answering any given question correctly reduces by a third, and that the gender differential in overall test scores becomes statistically insignicant. This result is robust to a variety of distributional assumptions.
    Keywords: Experimental Economics, Risk Aversion, Economics Education
    JEL: A2 A20 A22 C90 D81
    Date: 2012

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