nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2013‒06‒16
twelve papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Social background's effect on educational attainment: does method matter? By Wolbers M.H.J.; Velden R.K.W. van der; Büchner C.I.R.
  2. Education and civil conflict in Nepal By Valente, Christine
  3. The Changing Roles of Education and Ability in Wage Determination. By Gonzalo Castex; Evgenia Dechter
  4. Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra By Cortes, Kalena; Goodman, Joshua; Nomi, Takako
  5. Information and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Cellular Phone Experiment By Roland G. Fryer, Jr
  6. Matching Aspirations : Skills for Implementing Cambodia's Growth Strategy By World Bank
  7. Merit Aid, College Quality and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy By Cohodes, Sarah; Goodman, Joshua
  8. Does Promoting School Attendance Reduce Child Labour? Evidence from Burkina Faso’s Bright Project By Furio Camillo Rosati; Jacobus de Hoop
  9. Education, Birth Order, and Family Size By Jesper Bagger; Javier A. Birchenall; Hani Mansour; Sergio Urzúa
  10. Financing human capital development via government debt: a small country case using overlapping generations framework By Stauvermann, Peter Josef; Kumar , Ronald
  11. Life satisfaction and education in South Africa: Investigating the role of attainment and the likelihood of education as a positional good By Ferdi Botha
  12. Do First Impressions Matter? Improvement in Early Career Teacher Effectiveness By Allison Atteberry; Susanna Loeb; James Wyckoff

  1. By: Wolbers M.H.J.; Velden R.K.W. van der; Büchner C.I.R. (GSBE)
    Abstract: Social background directly impacts educational choice and attainment, but also influences choice and attainment indirectly by affecting school performance. Boudon (1974) described this relationship as primary (indirect) and secondary (direct) effects of social stratification. Based on this approach and Mare¿s sequential transition model, we decompose this impact to analyze these effects¿ relative importance at various stages over the school career. Using Dutch panel data of three school cohorts, we can assess whether primary and secondary effects¿ relative importance has been stable over time. We use different statistical methods to assess the results¿ robustness. Our findings show secondary effects have a decreasing impact at the first transition over time but a rather stable and in some cases increasing impact at the educational career¿s later stages. As a result, the cumulative share of secondary effects on educational attainment is stable over time, at least if one examines the last two cohorts. When using ordinary least squares (OLS) or counterfactual models, secondary effects amount to some 55% of social background¿s total effect. However, using structural equation modeling that allows for taking into account measurement error in performance tests and social background, secondary effects¿ relative importance amounts to some 45%. This result suggests method does matter for numerical closeness. Nevertheless, the findings of all models used in this study point in the same direction and suggest that preferences and expectations of aspiring higher educational levels remain strongly associated with social background.
    Keywords: Hypothesis Testing: General; Analysis of Education; Education and Inequality;
    JEL: C12 I21 I24
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Valente, Christine
    Abstract: Between 1996 and 2006, Nepal experienced violent civil conflict as a consequence of a Maoist insurgency, which many argue also brought about an increase in female empowerment. This paper exploits variations in exposure to conflict by birth cohort, survey date, and district to estimate the impact of the insurgency on education outcomes. Overall conflict intensity, measured by conflict casualties, is associated with an increase in female educational attainment, whereas abductions by Maoists, which often targeted school children, have the reverse effect. Male schooling tended to increase more rapidly in areas where the fighting was more intense, but the estimates are smaller in magnitude and more sensitive to specification than estimates for females. Similar results are obtained across different specifications, and robustness checks indicate that these findings are not due to selective migration.
    Keywords: Primary Education,Population Policies,Education For All,Education and Society,Post Conflict Reconstruction
    Date: 2013–05–01
  3. By: Gonzalo Castex (Central Bank of Chile); Evgenia Dechter (University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: This study examines changes in returns to formal education and cognitive skills over the last 20 years using the 1979 and 1997 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We show that cognitive skills had a 30%-50% larger effect on wages in the 1980s than in the 2000s. Returns to education were higher in the 2000s. These developments are not explained by changing distributions of workers’ observable characteristics or by changing labor market structure. We show that the decline in returns to ability can be attributed to differences in the growth rate of technology between the 1980s and 2000s.
    Keywords: n/a
    Date: 2012–10
  4. By: Cortes, Kalena (TX A&M University); Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University); Nomi, Takako (St Louis University)
    Abstract: Success or failure in freshman math has long been thought to have a strong impact on subsequent high school outcomes. We study an intensive math instruction policy in which students scoring below average on an 8th grade exam were assigned in 9th grade to an algebra course that doubled instructional time, altered peer composition and emphasized problem solving skills. Using a regression discontinuity design, we show positive and substantial long-run impacts of double-dose algebra on standardized test scores, high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates. The attainment effects were larger than the test score effects would predict, highlighting the importance of evaluating educational interventions on longer-run outcomes. Perhaps because the intervention focused on verbal exposition of mathematical concepts, the intervention's impact was generated largely by students with below average reading skills, highlighting the importance of targeting interventions towards appropriately skilled students. This is the first evidence we know of demonstrating the long-run impacts of such intensive math instruction.
    Date: 2013–04
  5. By: Roland G. Fryer, Jr
    Abstract: This paper describes a field experiment in Oklahoma City Public Schools in which students were provided with free cellular phones and daily information about the link between human capital and future outcomes via text message. Students’ reported beliefs about the relationship between education and outcomes were influenced by treatment, and treatment students also report being more focused and working harder in school. However, there were no measureable changes in attendance, behavioral incidents, or test scores. The patterns in the data appear most consistent with a model in which students cannot translate effort into measureable output, though other explanations are possible.
    JEL: I20 J01
    Date: 2013–06
  6. By: World Bank
    Keywords: Education - Access & Equity in Basic Education Education - Education For All Education - Effective Schools and Teachers Education - Lifelong Learning Education - Primary Education
    Date: 2012–03
  7. By: Cohodes, Sarah (Harvard University); Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We analyze a Massachusetts merit aid program in which high-scoring students received tuition waivers at in-state public colleges with lower graduation rates than available alternative colleges. A regression discontinuity design comparing students just above and below the eligibility threshold finds that students are remarkably willing to forgo college quality for relatively little money and that marginal students lowered their college completion rates by using the scholarship. These results imply that college quality has a substantial impact on college completion rates and that students likely do not understand this fact well. The theoretical prediction that in-kind subsidies of public institutions can reduce consumption of the subsidized good is shown to be empirically important.
    Date: 2013–03
  8. By: Furio Camillo Rosati (University of Rome "Tor Vergata" and UCW); Jacobus de Hoop (University of Rome "Tor Vergata" and UCW)
    Abstract: Using data from BRIGHT, an integrated program that aims to improve school participation in rural communities in Burkina Faso, we investigate the impact of school subsidies and increased access to education on child work. Regression discontinuity estimates demonstrate that, while BRIGHT substantially improved school participation, it did not reduce – in fact may have increased - children’s participation in economic activities and household chores. This combination of increased school participation and work can be explained by the introduction of a simple non convexity in the standard model of altruistic utility maximizing households. If education programmes are implemented to achieve a combination of increased school participation and a reduction in child work they may either have to be combined with different interventions that effectively reduce child work or they may have to be tuned more carefully to the incentives and constraints the child labourer faces.
    Keywords: Burkina Faso, child labour, regression discontinuity, school participation.
    JEL: I25 J22 J24 O12 O55
    Date: 2013–05–30
  9. By: Jesper Bagger; Javier A. Birchenall; Hani Mansour; Sergio Urzúa
    Abstract: We introduce a general framework to analyze the trade-off between education and family size. Our framework incorporates parental preferences for birth order and delivers theoretically consistent birth order and family size effects on children's educational attainment. We develop an empirical strategy to identify these effects. We show that the coefficient on family size in a regression of educational attainment on birth order and family size does not identify the family size effect as defined within our framework, even when the endogeneity of both birth order and family size are properly accounted for. Using Danish administrative data we test the theoretical implications of the model. The data does not reject our theory. We find significant birth order and family size effects in individuals' years of education thereby confirming the presence of a quantity-quality trade off.
    JEL: C23 C26 D50 E20 E24 J12 J13
    Date: 2013–06
  10. By: Stauvermann, Peter Josef; Kumar , Ronald
    Abstract: Using an over-lapping generations (OLG) model, we show how small open economies can enhance their growth through educational subsidies financed via government debt. In our model, we endogenize human capital and fertility without the strong assumptions of altruism or positive spill over effects from human capital accumulation. We show that subsidizing education through government debt leads to a Pareto improvement of all generations. Even if a country is a net borrower in the international capital market, we show that this subsidy-policy can help, under certain conditions, to improve its net borrowing position. Especially, our analysis can be applied to less developed countries, which are locked in a low development trap. A further desirable outcome of our analysis is that fertility rates decline for the small and less developed countries.
    Keywords: fertility; human capital; education subsidy; government debt.
    JEL: E60 H63 O41
    Date: 2013–04
  11. By: Ferdi Botha
    Abstract: This paper explores various dynamics in the relationship between life satisfaction and education in South Africa using the 2008 National Income Dynamics Survey. The results indicate a strong positive association between educational attainment and individual satisfaction with life, which is true in the overall sample and for men and women. This positive relationship also holds for Black and Coloured individuals, but is insignificant in the Asian and White samples. Evidence indicates that education is a positional good, in that people who have attained more than the mean level of education in their relevant cluster are significantly more satisfied with life compared to those possessing less than the mean education.
    Keywords: subjective wellbeing, positional concerns, Education, South Africa
    JEL: I2 Z13
    Date: 2013
  12. By: Allison Atteberry; Susanna Loeb; James Wyckoff
    Abstract: Educational policymakers struggle to find ways to improve the quality of the teacher workforce. The early career period represents a unique opportunity to identify struggling teachers, examine the likelihood of future improvement, and make strategic pre-tenure investments in improvement as well as dismissals to increase teaching quality. To date, only a little is known about the dynamics of teacher performance in the first five years. This paper asks how much teachers vary in performance improvement during their first five years of teaching and to what extent initial job performance predicts later performance. We find that, on average, initial performance is quite predictive of future performance, far more so than typically measured teacher characteristics. Predictions are particularly powerful at the extremes. We employ these predictions to explore the likelihood of personnel actions that inappropriately distinguish performance when such predictions are mistaken as well as the much less discussed costs of failure to distinguish performance when meaningful differences exist. The results have important consequences for improving the quality of the teacher workforce.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2013–06

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