nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2013‒02‒16
seventeen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Performance in Post-compulsory Education: Evidence from Vocational and Academic Tracks By Cristina Lopez-Mayan
  2. Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Exam Scores? An Experiment in a Coeducational University By Alison L. Booth; Lina Cardona-Sosa; Patrick Nolen
  3. Do Students See the Big Picture: General Versus Discipline Specific Education By Roberts, Jason; Mehlhorn, Sandy; Mehlhorn, Joey
  4. Income and Access to Higher Education: Are High Quality Universities Becoming More or Less Elite? A Longitudinal Analysis of Admissions at UW-Madison By John F. Witte; Barbara Wolfe; Sara E. Dahill-Brown
  5. Attracting Talent: Location Choices of Foreign-Born PhDs in the US By Jeffrey Grogger; Gordon H. Hanson
  6. University merging process By Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo; Guadalupe Valera Blanes
  7. Access All Areas? The Impact of Fees and Background on Student Demand for Postgraduate Higher Education in the UK By Philip Wales
  8. Returns to education in India By Scott Fulford
  9. Do the Maths: An Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics in Africa By Dickerson, Andy; McIntosh, Steven; Valente, Christine
  10. Estimating Benefits from University Level Diversity By Barbara Wolfe; Jason Fletcher
  11. University spinoffs and the 'performance premium' By Czarnitzki, Dirk; Rammer, Christian; Toole, Andrew A.
  12. Math and Gender: Is Math a Route to a High-Powered Career? By Joensen, Juanna Schrøter; Nielsen, Helena Skyt
  13. Universities, Public Research and Regional Innovation Output: An Empirical Study of 19 Technologies in Germany By Thomas Brenner; Charlotte Schlump
  14. Teaching the Importance of the Global Economy through Travel Study Courses By Mehlhorn, Joey; Mehlhorn, Sandy; Parrott, Scott D.; D'Antoni, Jeremy M.
  15. University Funding Policies: Buildings or Citizens? By Pier-André Bouchard St-Amant
  16. What Influences a Student to Attend a Regionally Isolated University? By Monroe, A. Dean, Jr.; Howry, Sierra S.
  17. Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium By Brant Abbott; Giovanni Gallipoli; Costas Meghir; Giovanni L. Violante

  1. By: Cristina Lopez-Mayan (Departament d'Economia Aplicada, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the factors in_uencing grade performance in two different high school tracks (academic and vocational), including the effect of the amount of work achieved while studying. The empirical strategy analyzes grade progression through the outcomes, passing, repeating and dropping out, conditioning on previous outcomes, and dealing with the endogeneity introduced by the working variable. The analysis is based on a unique Spanish data with information on schooling and labor histories. Findings show that working reduces performance in both tracks, mainly during the first year, although the ffects are less detri- mental in the vocational path. Additionally, good performance in compulsory education, at- tending a private high school, or having high-educated parents improve outcomes, particularly in academic high school.
    Keywords: Dropout, high school performance, grade progression, youth employment, control function.
    JEL: I20 I21 J24
    Date: 2013–02
  2. By: Alison L. Booth; Lina Cardona-Sosa; Patrick Nolen
    Abstract: We examine the effect of single-sex classes on the pass rates, grades, and course choices of students in a coeducational university. We randomly assign students to all-female, all-male, and coed classes and, therefore, get around the selection issues present in other studies on single-sex education. We find that one hour a week of single-sex education benefits females: females are 7% more likely to pass their first year courses and score 10% higher in their required second year classes than their peers attending coeducational classes. We find no effect of single-sex education on the probability that a female will take technical classes and there is no effect of single-sex education for males. Furthermore we are able to examine potential mechanisms driving the single-sex effect for females. We find that the results are consistent with a reduction in stereotype threat for females and are not due to a potential tracking effect.
    Keywords: single-sex, education, gender, experiment
    JEL: C91 C92 J16 J33
    Date: 2013–02
  3. By: Roberts, Jason; Mehlhorn, Sandy; Mehlhorn, Joey
    Abstract: Many students have difficulty connecting the concepts taught in general education courses to their career. Most see value in the discipline specific courses taken for the major. Students in the survey consistently rated discipline specific courses as more important than general courses, even if they were in the same area.
    Keywords: undergraduate education, student perceptions, discipline specific courses, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2013–02–02
  4. By: John F. Witte; Barbara Wolfe; Sara E. Dahill-Brown
    Abstract: Has access to selective post-secondary schools expanded or contracted? Evaluating this question has proven a difficult task due to limited data and biased measures of family income. We complement previous work and provide a replicable model of institutional analysis. This paper presents a detailed assessment of admissions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a major public university – the kind that is supposed to offer excellent opportunities to students from all backgrounds. We employ an innovative measure of family income to compare applicant and admissions trends for low-income students against those for minority students from 1972-2007. We conclude with a discussion of policy alternatives for closing enrollment gaps, and offer a cautionary note about the potential efficacy of affirmative action.
    Keywords: higher education, admission, affirmative action, income, college application
    Date: 2013–02
  5. By: Jeffrey Grogger; Gordon H. Hanson
    Abstract: We use data from the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates to examine the post-degree location choices of foreign-born students receiving PhDs from US universities in science and engineering. Over the period 1960 to 2008, 77% of foreign-born S&E PhDs state that they plan to stay in the United States. The foreign students more likely to stay in the US are those with stronger academic ability, measured in terms of parental educational attainment and the student’s success in obtaining graduate fellowships. Foreign students staying in the United States thus appear to be positively selected in terms of academic ability. We also find that foreign students are more likely to stay in the United States if in recent years the US economy has had strong GDP growth or the birth country of the foreign student has had weak GDP growth. Foreign students are less likely to remain in the US if they are from countries with higher average income levels or that have recently democratized. Education and innovation may therefore be part of a virtuous cycle in which education enhances prospects for innovation in low-income countries and innovation makes residing in these countries more attractive for scientists and engineers.
    JEL: J24 J61
    Date: 2013–02
  6. By: Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo (Universidad de Alicante); Guadalupe Valera Blanes (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: There is a recent tendency toward encouraging universities to merge. This policy is based on the idea that mergers create synergy gains that enhance universities’ prestige by increasing their international visibility. However, this process may reduce competition for both research funds and professors. This paper analyzes whether or not mergers among universities are optimal from an aggregate excellence point of view. We find that the relationship between cost differentials of competing universities, the amount of research funds and universities’ recruitment standard plays a key role when comparing aggregate excellence in a merging and a competition settings. In particular, we show that the higher the heterogeneity between potential merger institutions in terms of their reputation the greater the amount of funds needed to make mergers profitable.
    Keywords: Higher Education, University Competition, Mergers, University Funding System.
    JEL: H52 I22 D78 I23
    Date: 2013–01
  7. By: Philip Wales
    Abstract: This paper analyses participation in postgraduate higher education in the UK at the micro-level makes several contributions to the literature. Firstly, it describes trends in postgraduate participation in the UK. Secondly, it introduces a hitherto unavailable dataset of postgraduate tuition fees by institution and subject: the first of its kind. Thirdly, it attempts to control for several potential forms of endogeneity to assess the extent to which tuition fees affect demand. It adopts an instrumental variables approach to partially control for the potential endogeneity of tuition fees and includes a broad array of fixed effects to mitigate the impact of sorting into universities and endogenous residential selection. The results suggest that (1) there is substantial variation in tuition fees across and within institutions and that (2) tuition fees reduce demand for postgraduate places. In our preferred specification a 10% increase in tuition fees reduces the probability of progression by 1.7%.
    Keywords: Education, human capital, skills, consumer economics: empirical analysis
    JEL: C25 I2 J24 D12
    Date: 2013–02
  8. By: Scott Fulford (Boston College)
    Abstract: Despite the evidence for high returns to education at an individual level, large increases in education across the developing world have brought disappointing returns in aggregate. This paper shows that the same pattern holds in India by building aggregates from micro-data so that the comparability and quality issues that plague cross-country analyses are not a problem. In India both men and women with more education live in households with greater consumption per capita. Yet in aggregate, comparing across age cohorts and states, better educated male cohorts consume only about 4% more than less well educated ones. Better educated female cohorts do not live in households with higher consumption. This result is robust to: (1) using econometric models that account for survey measurement error, (2) different measures of household consumption and composition, (3) allowing returns to differ by state, and (4) age mismeasurement. Comparing state returns to a measure of school quality, it does not seem that poor quality is responsible for the low returns.
    Keywords: education, India, household consumption, school quality
    JEL: O15 I2
    Date: 2012–12–31
  9. By: Dickerson, Andy (University of Sheffield); McIntosh, Steven (University of Sheffield); Valente, Christine (University of Bristol)
    Abstract: This paper uses microdata for 19 African countries to examine the gender difference in maths test scores amongst primary school children. There is a significant difference in maths test scores in favour of boys, similar to that previously observed in developed countries. This difference cannot be explained by gender differences in school quality, home environment, or within-school gender discrimination in access to schooling inputs. However, the gender gap varies widely with characteristics of the regions in which the pupils live, and these regional characteristics are more predictive of the gender gap than parental education and school characteristics, including teacher gender. At the cross-country level, differences in fertility rates account for nearly half the variation in the gender gap, and this relationship is not due to the correlation between fertility and GDP nor to gender inequality as measured by the Gender Gap Index.
    Keywords: cognitive maths skills, gender, Africa
    JEL: O15 I20
    Date: 2013–01
  10. By: Barbara Wolfe; Jason Fletcher
    Abstract: One of the continuing areas of controversy surrounding higher education is affirmative action. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. Texas, and their ruling may well influence universities' diversity initiatives, especially if they overturn Grutter and rule that diversity is no longer a “compelling state interest”. But what lies behind a compelling state’s interest? One issue that continues to require more information is estimating and understanding the gains for those attending colleges and universities with greater diversity. Most existing studies are either based on evidence from one institution, which has issues of both selectivity and limited “treatments,” or focus on selective Institutions, which also face issues of selection bias from college choice behaviors. In this research we use Wave 3 off Add Health, collected in 2001-02 of those then attending college. Add Health collected the IPEDS number of each college and matched these to the race/ethnic composition of the student body. We convert these data into an index of diversity and then ask whether attending a college/university with a more diverse student body influences a variety of outcomes at Wave 4 (2008), including years of schooling completed, earnings, family income, composition of friends, and probability of voting. Our results provide evidence of a positive link between attending a college with greater diversity and higher earnings and family income but not with more schooling or the probability of voting.
    Date: 2013–02
  11. By: Czarnitzki, Dirk; Rammer, Christian; Toole, Andrew A.
    Abstract: The creation of spinoff companies is often promoted as a desirable mechanism for transferring knowledge and technologies from research organizations to the private sector for commercialization. In the promotion process, policymakers typically treat these 'university' spinoffs like industry startups. However, when university spinoffs involve an employment transition by a researcher out of the not-for-profit sector, the creation of a university spinoff is likely to impose a higher social cost than the creation of an industry startup. To offset this higher social cost, university spinoffs must produce a larger stream of social benefits than industry startups, a performance premium. This paper outlines the arguments why the social costs of entrepreneurship are likely to be higher for academic entrepreneurs and empirically investigates the existence of a performance premium using a sample of German startup companies. We find that university spinoffs exhibit a performance premium of 3.4 percentage points higher employment growth over industry startups. The analysis also shows that the performance premium varies across types of academic entrepreneurs and founders' academic disciplines. --
    Keywords: Academic Entrepreneurship,Startups,Firm performance,Technology Transfer,Open Science,University Spinoff Policy,Human Capital,Social Capital
    JEL: L25 L26 J24
    Date: 2013
  12. By: Joensen, Juanna Schrøter (Stockholm School of Economics); Nielsen, Helena Skyt (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: There is a large gender gap in advanced math coursework in high school that many believe exists because girls are discouraged from taking math courses. In this paper, we exploit an institutional change that reduced the costs of acquiring advanced high school math to determine if access is, in fact, the mechanism – in particular for girls at the top of the math ability distribution. By estimating marginal treatment effects of acquiring advanced math qualifications, we document substantial beneficial wage effects from encouraging even more females to opt for these qualifications. Our analysis suggests that the beneficial effect comes from accelerating graduation and attracting females to high-paid or traditionally male-dominated career tracks and to CEO positions. Our results may be reconciled with experimental and empirical evidence suggesting there is a pool of unexploited math talent among high ability girls that may be retrieved by changing the institutional set-up of math teaching.
    Keywords: math, gender, career choice, high school curriculum, instrumental variable
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2013–01
  13. By: Thomas Brenner (Philipps-Universität Marburg); Charlotte Schlump (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
    Abstract: It has been repeatedly shown that universities and public research institutes contribute to local innovation generation and facilitation. The mechanisms behind this contribution are well discussed in the literature. However, detailed empirical examinations are missing. We analyse the impact of universities and public research on regional innovation output. Thereby we analyse separately 19 technologies and distinguish whether university education and public research are rather innovation generators or innovation facilitators. All analyses are conducted on German data.
    Keywords: regional innovation systems, innovation output, university, public research
    JEL: C13 I25 O31 R12
    Date: 2013–02–08
  14. By: Mehlhorn, Joey; Mehlhorn, Sandy; Parrott, Scott D.; D'Antoni, Jeremy M.
    Abstract: Travel study courses can be used to enhance student understanding of international and cultural differences in agribusiness. The use of language immersion, industry tours, and service learning methods are affective ways to connect classroom teaching to real world application. Students become more culturally aware and prepared for industry.
    Keywords: travel study, undergraduate teaching, cultural awareness, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2013
  15. By: Pier-André Bouchard St-Amant (Queen s University)
    Abstract: Governments tend to fund universities based on the number of registered students and lump sum transfers. Such policy induces universities to compete for recruiting students, diverting money away from funds devoted to teaching. I show that this degradation of quality increases with the degree to which universities compete for the same students. I suggest a policy that achieves the social optimum for any given level of funding. This policy shows that a university's funding rules should not be solely based on its enrollment, but also on the enrollment in competing universities.
    Keywords: University, Funding Rule, Funding Policies, Decentralized Decisions, Spending Efficiency
    JEL: H52 I23 I28
    Date: 2013–01
  16. By: Monroe, A. Dean, Jr.; Howry, Sierra S.
    Abstract: Prospective college students use a small set of socioeconomic factors in deciding on an institution to attend. These factors are further narrowed when their regional context is sparsely populated and substitution choice is low. This study found that proximity and scholarships influence student choice of university in geographically isolated areas.
    Keywords: Service Areas, College Influence Factors, GIS, Cluster Analysis, Geographically Isolated University, Marketing,
    Date: 2013
  17. By: Brant Abbott; Giovanni Gallipoli; Costas Meghir; Giovanni L. Violante
    Abstract: This paper compares partial and general equilibrium effects of alternative financial aid policies intended to promote college participation. We build an overlapping generations life-cycle, heterogeneous-agent, incomplete-markets model with education, labor supply, and consumption/saving decisions. Altruistic parents make inter vivos transfers to their children. Labor supply during college, government grants and loans, as well as private loans, complement parental transfers as sources of funding for college education. We find that the current financial aid system in the U.S. improves welfare, and removing it would reduce GDP by two percentage points in the long-run. Any further relaxation of government-sponsored loan limits would have no salient effects. The short-run partial equilibrium effects of expanding tuition grants (especially their need-based component) are sizeable. However, long-run general equilibrium effects are 3-4 times smaller. Every additional dollar of government grants crowds out 20-30 cents of parental transfers.
    JEL: E24 I22 J23 J24
    Date: 2013–02

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