nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2013‒06‒09
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Does School Choice Improve Student Performance? By Kaja Høiseth Brugård
  2. The effects of school entry laws on educational attainment and starting wages in an early tracking system By Martina Zweimüller
  3. School Fees, Parental Participation and Accountability: Evidence from Madagascar By Frédéric LESNE
  4. Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment By Claire Crawford; Lorraine Dearden; Ellen Greaves
  5. Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life? By Kalb, Guyonne; van Ours, Jan C.
  6. Financial Aid Policy: Lessons from Research By Susan Dynarski; Judith Scott-Clayton
  7. Female labour supply, human capital and welfare reform By Richard Blundell; Monica Costa Dias; Costas Meghir; Jonathan Shaw
  8. The actual financing costs of English higher education student loans By Neil Shephard
  9. When do textbooks matter for achievement? Evidence from African primary schools By Maria Kuecken; Marie-Anne Valfort
  10. Gender Differences in Cooperation: Experimental Evidence on High School Students By Molina, José Alberto; Gimenez-Nadal, Jose Ignacio; Cuesta, José A.; Garcia-Lazaro, Carlos; Moreno, Yamir; Sanchez, Angel
  11. Scaling-up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education By Tessa Bold; Mwangi Kimenyi; Germano Mwabu; Alice Ng'ang'a; Justin Sandefur
  12. Intergenerational Long Term Effects of Preschool: Structural Estimates from a Discrete Dynamic Programming Model By Heckman, James J.; Raut, Lakshmi K.
  13. School Accountability: Can We Reward Schools and Avoid Pupil Selection? By Ooghe, Erwin; Schokkaert, Erik
  14. Over-education among A8 migrants in the UK By Stuart Campbell

  1. By: Kaja Høiseth Brugård (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Center for Economic Research at NTNU)
    Abstract: This paper studies effects of the proportion of girls in compulsory education on further education. I use detailed Norwegian register data to estimate the influence of the proportion of girls in the last grade of compulsory education on high school education and university attainment. A higher proportion of girls is found to increase the probability of graduating from high school. The result is robust to several model specifications. The analysis also indicates a positive effect on enrollment in higher education. Heterogeneity and non-linearity analyses indicate that gender peer effects are most important for students most likely to be on the margin of graduating from high school and enrolling in higher education, and when the share of female students is low.
    Keywords: school choice, high school education, student achievement
    JEL: I2 I21
    Date: 2013–05–31
  2. By: Martina Zweimüller
    Abstract: Empirical evidence suggests that relative age, which is determined by date of birth and the school entry cutoff date, has a causal effect on track choice. Using a sample of male labor market entrants drawn from Austrian register data, I analyze whether the initial assignment to different school tracks has persistent effects on educational attainment and earnings in the first years of the career. I estimate the reduced-form effect of the school entry law on starting wages and find a wage penalty of 1.1–2.0 percent for students born in August (the youngest) compared to students born in September (the oldest). The analysis of educational attainment suggests that significant differences in the type of education exist. Younger students are more likely to pursue an apprenticeship and less likely to have higher education. After five years of labor market experience, the wage penalty amounts to 0.8–1.1 percent, suggesting a persistent (albeit decreasing) negative effect of the school entry rule on labor market outcomes in an early tracking system.
    Keywords: School entry law, early tracking, educational attainment, earnings, labor market entrants
    JEL: I21 J24 J31
    Date: 2013–05
  3. By: Frédéric LESNE (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS : UMR6587 - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)
    Abstract: The role of school fees in achieving both allocative and productive efficiency in the delivery of primary education has been a subject of intense debate. Building on a simple model that makes explicit the role of school fees in determining the optimal level of parental participation to school governance, this paper contributes to the debate by evaluating empirically the relationship between fees, participation and the accountability framework in public primary schools in Madagascar. The results show evidence that schools requiring parents to pay more fees experience a higher degree of parental participation. While results are consistent with the theoretical model, the empirical analysis provides evidence that school fees increase participation beyond their effect on the power relationship between the community and the school authorities. The model hypothesis that school fees modify the accountability framework, which leads to more productive participation efforts, is challenged by alternative explanations. One of them is that participation aims not to increase education quality but rather to decrease the amount of fees requested by the school.
    Keywords: education;school governance;accountability;school fees
    Date: 2013–05–23
  4. By: Claire Crawford (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Lorraine Dearden (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Bedford Group, Institute of Education, University of London); Ellen Greaves (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: Children born at the end of the academic year have lower educational attainment, on average, than those born at the start of the academic year. Previous research shows that the difference is most pronounced early in pupils’ school lives, but remains evident and statistically significant in high-stakes exams taken at the end of compulsory schooling. To determine the most appropriate policy response, it is vital to understand which of the four possible factors (age at test, age of starting school, length of schooling and relative age without cohort) lead to these differences in attainment between those born at different points in the academic year. However, research to date has been unable to adequately address this problem, as the four potential drivers are all highly correlated with one another, and three of the four form an exact linear relationship (age at test = age of starting school + length of schooling). This paper is the first to apply the principle of maximum entropy to this problem. Using two complementary sources of data we find that a child’s age at the time they take the test is the most important driver of the differences observed, which suggests that age-adjusting national achievement test scores is likely to be the most appropriate policy response to ensure that children born towards the end of the year are not at a disadvantage simply because they are younger when they take their exams. This working paper is supplemented by an online appendix which can be viewed here
    Keywords: Age-period-cohort problem, maximum entropy, month of birth, relative age, educational attainment
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2013–05
  5. By: Kalb, Guyonne (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); van Ours, Jan C. (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the importance of parents reading to their young children. Using Australian data we find that parental reading to children at age 4 to 5 has positive and significant effects on reading skills and cognitive skills of these children at least up to age 10 or 11. Our findings are robust to a wide range of sensitivity analyses.
    Keywords: reading to children, reading skills, other cognitive skills
    JEL: C26 I21 J24
    Date: 2013–05
  6. By: Susan Dynarski; Judith Scott-Clayton
    Abstract: In the nearly fifty years since the adoption of the Higher Education Act of 1965, financial aid programs have grown in scale, expanded in scope, and multiplied in form. As a result, financial aid has become the norm among college enrollees. The increasing size and complexity of the nation’s student aid system has generated questions about effectiveness, heightened confusion among students and parents, and raised concerns about how program rules may interact. In this article, we review what is known and what is not known about how well various student aid programs work. We find evidence that lowering costs can improve college access and completion, but this general rule is not without exception. For example, the complexity of program eligibility and delivery appears to moderate the impact of aid, and for students who have already decided to enroll, grants that link financial aid to academic achievement appear to boost college outcomes more than do grants with no strings attached. Future research is likely to focus on several issues: the importance of program design and delivery, whether there are unanticipated interactions between programs, and to what extent program effects vary across different types of students.
    JEL: I22 I23 I28
    Date: 2013–01
  7. By: Richard Blundell (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London); Monica Costa Dias (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Costas Meghir (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University); Jonathan Shaw (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: We consider the impact of tax credits and income support programs on female education choice, employment, hours and human capital accumulation over the life-cycle. We analyse both the short run incentive effects and the longer run implications of such programs. By allowing for risk aversion and savings, we quantify the insurance value of alternative programs. We find important incentive effects on education choice and labour supply, with single mothers having the most elastic labour supply. Returns to labour market experience are found to be substantial but only for full-time employment, and especially for women with more than basic formal education. For those with lower education the welfare programs are shown to have substantial insurance value. Based on the model, marginal increases to tax credits are preferred to equally costly increases in income support and to tax cuts, except by those in the highest education group.
    Date: 2013–05
  8. By: Neil Shephard
    Abstract: There has been extensive discussion of the workings of the English system of higher education income contingent student loans.  Major focuses have been on what former students are likely to pay and when, distributional characteristics and how much the Government guarantees made to students about having their loans forgiven after 30 years are llikely to cost the budget of the Department of Business, Innovations and Skills (BIS) in the longer term.  Leading contributions to this work includes Barr (2004), Goodman et al (2008), BIS Ready Reckoner (2012) and Chowdry et al (2012).
    Date: 2013–05–05
  9. By: Maria Kuecken (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne); Marie-Anne Valfort (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Using a within-student analysis, we find no average impact of textbook access (ownership or sharing) on primary school achievement. Instead, it is only for students with high socioeconomic status that one form of textbook access - sharing - has a positive impact.
    Keywords: Textbooks; Educational quality; Sub-Saharan Africa; SACMEQ
    Date: 2013–06–01
  10. By: Molina, José Alberto (University of Zaragoza); Gimenez-Nadal, Jose Ignacio (University of Zaragoza); Cuesta, José A. (University of Zaragoza); Garcia-Lazaro, Carlos (University of Zaragoza); Moreno, Yamir (University of Zaragoza); Sanchez, Angel (University of Zaragoza)
    Abstract: Charles Darwin (1874) stated that "women are less selfish but men are more competitive". Very recent papers (Eckel & Grossman, 1998, 2001 or Andreoni and Vesterlund 2001, among others) have shown the relevance of gender in altruism in both ultimatum and dictator games. In this paper we analyze the role of gender in repeated Prisoners' Dilemma played by Spanish high-school students in both a square lattice and a heterogeneous network. We find that female students have a higher probability of cooperation than male students.
    Keywords: high school students, cooperation, gender differences, prisoners' dilemma
    JEL: C72 C73 C93 D03 J16
    Date: 2013–05
  11. By: Tessa Bold; Mwangi Kimenyi; Germano Mwabu; Alice Ng'ang'a; Justin Sandefur
    Abstract: The recent wave of randomized trials in development economics has provoked criticisms regarding external validity.  We investigate two concerns - heterogeneity across beneficiaries and implementers - in a randomized trial of contract teachers in Kenyan schools.  The intervention, previously shown to raise test scores in NGO-led trials in Western Kenya and parts of India, was replicated across all Kenyan provinces by an NGO and the government.  Strong effects of short-term contracts produced in controlled experimental settings are lost in weak public institutions: NGO implementation produces a positive effect on test scores across diverse contexts, while government implementation yields zero effect.  The data suggests that the stark contrast in success between the government and NGO arm can be traced back to implementation constraints and political economy forces put in motion as the program went to scale.
    Date: 2013–03–12
  12. By: Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Raut, Lakshmi K. (U.S. Social Security Administration)
    Abstract: This paper formulates a structural dynamic programming model of preschool investment choices of altruistic parents and then empirically estimates the structural parameters of the model using the NLSY79 data. The paper finds that preschool investment significantly boosts cognitive and non-cognitive skills, which enhance earnings and school outcomes. It also finds that a standard Mincer earnings function, by omitting measures of non-cognitive skills on the right hand side, overestimates the rate of return to schooling. From the estimated equilibrium Markov process, the paper studies the nature of within generation earnings distribution and intergenerational earnings and schooling mobility. The paper finds that a tax financed free preschool program for the children of poor socioeconomic status generates positive net gains to the society in terms of average earnings and higher intergenerational earnings and schooling mobility.
    Keywords: preschool investment, early childhood development, intergenerational social mobility, structural dynamic programming
    JEL: J24 J62 O15 I21
    Date: 2013–05
  13. By: Ooghe, Erwin (K.U.Leuven); Schokkaert, Erik (K.U.Leuven)
    Abstract: School accountability schemes require measures of school performance, and these measures are in practice often based on pupil test scores. It is well-known that insufficiently correcting these test scores for pupil characteristics may provide incentives for inefficient pupil selection. We show that the trade-off between reward and pupil selection is not only a matter of sufficient information. A school accountability scheme that rewards school performance will create incentives for pupil selection, even under perfect information, unless the educational production function satisfies an (unrealistic) separability assumption. We propose different compromise solutions and discuss the resulting incentives in theory. The empirical relevance of our analysis – i.e., the rejection of the separability assumption and the magnitude of the incentives in the different compromise solutions – is illustrated with Flemish data.
    Keywords: school accountability, cream-skimming, educational production function
    JEL: H52 I22 I24
    Date: 2013–05
  14. By: Stuart Campbell (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)
    Abstract: I present new evidence on the incidence and wage associations of over-education among migrants to the UK from the ‘A8’ EU accession countries of Central and Eastern Europe from 2004-2011. Using the Labour Force Survey, I employ a novel strategy to maximise the number of migrants drawn from the dataset over the period of interest, creating a survey sample of A8 migrants of unprecedented size. I also use a new method of classifying education attained outside the UK, which takes account of different European education systems. I find that A8 migrants face a substantially higher risk of over-education in the UK than other recent EU migrants, and that this additional risk remains after taking account of observed characteristics. I argue that this result is driven by unobserved differences between the groups, arising from distinct self-selection processes associated with the institutional context of the EU accession. I also find that in non-graduate occupations, the wage penalties faced by A8 migrants in the UK are of such strength that even the over-educated are paid less than matched UK nationals. Moreover, A8 migrants are concentrated in a particular sub-group of occupations, where higher wages are not available for the over-educated.
    Keywords: Immigration, educational mismatch, labour market, skill recognition
    JEL: J24 J61 J62 F22
    Date: 2013–05–30

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