nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2013‒11‒29
24 papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior and Universidade de Lisboa

  1. Why Immigrant Background Matters for University Participation: A Comparison of Switzerland and Canada By Hou, Feng; Picot, Garnett
  2. School inputs and skills: Complementarity and self-productivity By Cheti Nicoletti; Birgitta Rabe
  3. Big five personality traits and academic performance in Russian universities By John Nye; Ekaterina Orel; Ekaterina Kochergina
  4. Declining Higher Education Quality Affects Postsecondary Choices: a Peruvian Case By Juan Francisco(F.) Castro; Gustavo Yamada
  5. Positive Impacts of Playworks on Students' Healthy Behaviors: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial. By Jane Fortson
  6. Retention of and Access to Effective Teachers in DC Public Schools. By Elias Walsh
  7. Basking in the glory of schools: school characteristics and the self-concept of students in mathematics By Ksenia Tenisheva; Daniel Alexandrov
  8. On Standards of Budget Funding and Adjusting the Fees in State Universities By Tatiana Klyachko; Sergey Sinelnikov-Murylev
  9. Spillover effects of studying with immigrant students; a quantile regression approach By Asako Ohinata; Jan C. van Ours
  10. Standardized Testing: Mend It, Don't End It. By Steven Glazerman
  11. Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education By Cinnirella, Francesco; Hornung, Erik
  12. Do Faculty Matter? Effects of Faculty Participation in University Decisions By Kathleen Carroll; Lisa M. Dickson; Jane E. Ruseski
  13. Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time By Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  14. Nuns and the Effects of Catholic Schools: Evidence from Vatican II By Gihleb, Rania; Giuntella, Osea
  15. Treating schools to a new administration. The impact of South Africa’s 2005 provincial boundary changes on school performance By Martin Gustafsson; Stephen Taylor
  16. The Teacher-Student Data Link Project: First-Year Implementation. By Kristin Hallgren; Cassie Pickens Jewell; Celina Kamler
  17. No disabled student left behind? - Evidence from a social field experiment By Deuchert, Eva; Kauer, Lukas; Liebert, Helge; Wuppermann, Carl
  18. "High"-School: The Relationship between Early Marijuana Use and Educational Outcomes By Deborah A. Cobb-Clark; Sonja C. Kassenboehmer; Trinh Le; Duncan McVicar; Rong Zhang
  19. The Risk and Return of Human Capital Investments By Koerselman, Kristian; Uusitalo, Roope
  20. How social ties affect peer-group effects: a case of university students By Oleg Poldin; Dilyara Valeeva; Maria Yudkevich
  21. Escaping from a human capital trap? Italy’s regions and the move to centralized primary schooling, 1861 - 1936 By Gabriele Cappelli
  22. Research and Teaching in Higher Education: Complements or Substitutes? By Epstein, Gil S.; Menis, Joseph
  23. The Long Term Effects of Forcible Assimilation Policy: The Case of Indian Boarding Schools By Donna Feir
  24. Determinants of Student Satisfaction with Campus Residence Life at a South African University By Ferdi Botha, Jen Snowball, Vivian de Klerk & Sarah Radloff

  1. By: Hou, Feng; Picot, Garnett
    Abstract: This paper extends our understanding of the difference in university participation between students with and without immigrant backgrounds by contrasting outcomes in Switzerland and Canada, and by the use of new longitudinal data that are comparable between the countries. The research includes family socio-demographic characteristics, family aspirations regarding university education, and the student’s secondary school performance as explanatory variables of university attendance patterns. In Switzerland, compared to students with Swiss-born parents, those with immigrant backgrounds are disadvantaged regarding university participation, primarily due to poor academic performance in secondary school. In comparison, students with immigrant backgrounds in Canada display a significant advantage regarding university attendance, even among some who performed poorly in secondary school. The included explanatory variables can only partly account for this advantage, but family aspirations regarding university attendance play a significant role, while traditional variables such as parental educational attainment are less important. In both countries source region background is important. Possible reasons for the cross-country differences are discussed.
    Keywords: immigration, second generation, higher education, university participation
    JEL: J15 I24
    Date: 2013–11–22
  2. By: Cheti Nicoletti; Birgitta Rabe
    Abstract: Using administrative data on schools in England, we estimate an education production model of cognitive skills at the end of secondary school. We provide empirical evidence of self-productivity of skills and of complementarity between secondary school inputs and skills at the end of primary school. Our inference relies on idiosyncratic variation in school expenditure and child fixed effect estimation that controls for the endogeneity of past skills. The persistence in cognitive ability is 0.22 and the return to school expenditure is three times higher for students at the top of the past attainment distribution than for those at the bottom.
    Keywords: Education production function, test scores, school quality, complementarity
    JEL: I22 I24
    Date: 2013–11
  3. By: John Nye (George Mason University and National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, academic advisor of International Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms.); Ekaterina Orel (National Research University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow, research fellow in International Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms.); Ekaterina Kochergina (National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, research assistant in International Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms.)
    Abstract: We study which Big Five personality traits are associated with academic performance among a sample of Russian university students using results from the Unified State Examination (for university admissions) and their current grade point averages as measures of academic performance. We find that Introversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Openness to experience have observable ties to academic performance. Those results partially confirm existing international studies, but our findings are notable for the relative unimportance of conscientiousness for success in our Russian sample. We suggest that cross-cultural differences in educational environment may explain why this trait seems less obviously important in the analysis
    Keywords: personality traits, academic success, psychology of education, Big Five, academic performance measurement.
    JEL: Z I23
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Juan Francisco(F.) Castro (Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico); Gustavo Yamada (Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico)
    Abstract: Few adolescents in the developing world receive sufficient guidance to make crucial life decisions during the transition from secondary to postsecondary education and into the labor market. Consequently, a significant number of graduates regret the decisions they make. The excessive rigidity of most higher education systems prevents lateral shifts between programs or from technical to university education. In addition, in Peru limited information about the range of programs and their labor market outcomes, combined with an increasing number of low-quality providers, contribute to the problem. A recent survey of Peru’s urban working-age population revealed that only 35 percent of young professionals (ages 22 to 30) were satisfied with the postsecondary choices they had made. This implies that, if given the opportunity, nearly two-thirds of young professionals would choose another career or institution, a different degree (university or technical), or would have entered the labor market directly after completing their secondary education.
    Keywords: Academic Quality Assessment Accreditacion Peru Latin America Higher Education
    JEL: I0 I20 I21 I23 I24 I25 I29 J0 J20 J21 J22 J23 J24 J28 J82
    Date: 2013–01
  5. By: Jane Fortson
    Keywords: Playworks, Student Healthy Behaviors, Randomized Controlled Trial, Education
    JEL: I
    Date: 2013–11–08
  6. By: Elias Walsh
    Keywords: Teacher Retention, DC Public Schools, Education
    JEL: I
    Date: 2013–11–09
  7. By: Ksenia Tenisheva (National Research University Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Sociology Edu-cation and Science Laboratory, Researcher); Daniel Alexandrov (National Research University Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Sociology Edu-cation and Science Laboratory, Director)
    Abstract: Our study contributes to the debate on the interaction between academic context, individual achievement, and mathematics self-concept in schools. It is known that high-achieving peers positively influence the individual achievements of all group members. At the same time, it has been shown that the self-concept of students tends to decrease in the presence of high-achieving peers, as individuals make relative judgments of their abilities vis-a-vis their peer group. Stu-dents with mediocre performance feel more confident about their abilities in a group of poor achievers (the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect – BFLPE – introduced by H.Marsh). On the other hand, perceived prestige of a school enhances the self-confidence of students as people tend to “bask in the glory” of others (the “reflected glory” effect). We test the two effects mentioned above – BFLPE and the “reflected glory” effect. We hypothesize that both effects are stronger in highly stratified education systems where there is a stronger explicit difference between high- and poor-achieving students, and schools are ranked by their prestige. We compare the interac-tion of academic context, achievement, and mathematics self-concept in stratified (Russia and Czech Republic) and non-stratified (Norway and Sweden) educational systems on the TIMSS’07 database using HLM7. Our study shows: 1) an absence of BFLPE for all four countries, i.e. the achievement of others is positively related to an individual’s math self-concept; 2) strong support for the “reflected glory” effect is found only in stratified educational systems; and 3) greater pos-itive effect on self-concept for students with poor achievement who study in the best schools.
    Keywords: BFLPE, “reflected glory” effect, stratification, multilevel modeling, environmental effects.
    JEL: I21 C12
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Tatiana Klyachko (Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy); Sergey Sinelnikov-Murylev (Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy)
    Abstract: The paper analyzes the implications of the financial regulations implementing a state order (standards of budget financing based on one student) in the higher education system and the use of them to regulate fees in the universities. It is demonstrated that the establishment of standards in the field of budgetary financing (field of study) does not allow to pay attention to differences in historical property complexes, schools, differences in socio-economic position of the Russian Federation where universities are located affecting the wages of faculty in relation to the average for the economy of the region, raises the question of the adequacy of the state accreditation of higher education institutions. Purely economic approach in the allocation of budget funds obscures difficult political decisions on restructuring the higher education network: the elimination of schools that do not meet the requirements for licensing and accreditation of universities, uniting weak with strong ones, opening of new schools on the basis of material liquidation, the implementation of programs to support the weak, but necessary institutions, replacing weak management in universities, etc. Accordingly, the regulation of fees would have a negative economic and social consequences.
    Keywords: higher education, standard budget funding, faculty, restructuring universities network
    JEL: I21 I22 I23 I24 I25 I28
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Asako Ohinata (University of Leicester); Jan C. van Ours (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: We analyze how the share of immigrant children in the classroom affects the educational attainment of native Dutch children in terms of their language and math performance at the end of primary school. Our paper studies the spill-over effects at different parts of the test score distribution of native Dutch students using a quantile regression approach. We find no evidence of negative spillover effects of the classroom presence of immigrant children at the median of the test score distribution. In addition, there is no indication that these spill-over effects are present at other parts of the distribution.
    Keywords: Immigrant children, Peer effects, Educational attainment
    JEL: I21 J15
    Date: 2013–11
  10. By: Steven Glazerman
    Keywords: Standardized Testing, Quality Assessments, Educational Excellence, Education
    JEL: I
    Date: 2013–11–13
  11. By: Cinnirella, Francesco (Ifo Institute, CESifo and CEPR); Hornung, Erik (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Financez)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of landownership concentration on school enrollment for nineteenth century Prussia. Prussia is an interesting laboratory given its decentralized educational system and the presence of heterogeneous agricultural institutions. We find that landownership concentration, a proxy for the institution of serfdom, has a negative effect on schooling. This effect diminishes substantially towards the end of the century. Causality of this relationship is confirmed by introducing soil texture to identify exogenous farm-size variation. Panel estimates further rule out unobserved heterogeneity. We present several robustness checks which shed some light on possible mechanisms.
    Keywords: Land concentration, Institutions, Serfdom, Peasants' emancipation, Education, Prussian economic history
    Date: 2013
  12. By: Kathleen Carroll (UMBC); Lisa M. Dickson (UMBC); Jane E. Ruseski (West Virginia University)
    Abstract: This paper models faculty participation in university decision-making and the effects on enrollment, academic quality and non-academic quality. The model predicts that faculty participation positively academic quality and non-academic quality. The model predicts that faculty participation positively affects student enrollment and investments in academic quality. Without faculty involvment in decision making, universities may choose to overinvest in non-academic quality (e.g. athletics, recreational activities) relative to academic quality. If academic quality provides positive externalities as the economic literature indicates, then faculty involvment in decision-making is socially preferred to having decisions made only by university administrators.
    Keywords: higher education; faculty governance; university decision making; incentives; nonprofit organization; public organization; organizational behavior.
    JEL: D23 D73 I23 L31 L38
    Date: 2013–10
  13. By: Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
    Abstract: Consider the following facts. In 1950 the richest ten-percent of countries attained an average of 8 years of schooling whereas the poorest ten-percent of countries attained 1.3 years, a 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold. The fact is that schooling has increased faster in poor than in rich countries. What explains educational attainment differences across countries and their evolution over time? We develop an otherwise standard model of human capital accumulation with two important features: non-homothetic preferences and an operating labor supply margin. We use the model to assess the quantitative contribution of productivity and life expectancy differences across countries in explaining educational attainment. Calibrating the parameters of the model to reproduce the historical time-series data for the United States, we find that the model accounts for 90 percent of the difference in schooling levels between rich and poor countries in 1950 and 64 percent of the increase in schooling over time in poor countries. The model generates a faster increase in schooling in poor than in rich countries consistent with the data. These results highlight the importance of productivity and development in education, emphasizing the crucial role of productivity improvements in poor countries relative to often-discussed educational policies.
    Keywords: Schooling, productivity, life expectancy, education policy, labor supply.
    JEL: O1 O4 E24 J22 J24
    Date: 2013–11–21
  14. By: Gihleb, Rania (Boston University); Giuntella, Osea (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal effects of Catholic schooling on educational attainment. Using a novel instrumental-variable approach that exploits an exogenous shock to the Catholic school system, we show that the positive correlation between Catholic schooling and student outcomes is explained by selection bias. Spearheaded by the universal call to holiness and the opening to lay leadership, the reforms that occurred at the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) in the early 1960s produced a dramatic exogenous change in the cost/benefit ratio of religious life in the Catholic Church. The decline in vocations that followed contributed to a significant increase in costs and, in many cases, to the closure of Catholic schools. We document that this decline was heterogeneous across US dioceses, and that it was more marked in those dioceses governed by a liberal bishop. Merging diocesan data drawn from the Official Catholic Directory (1960-1980) and the US Census, we show that that the variation in the supply of female religious teachers across US dioceses is strongly related to Catholic schooling. Using the abrupt decline in female vocations as an instrument for Catholic schooling, we find no evidence of positive effects on student outcomes.
    Keywords: Catholic schools, instrumental variable, selection
    JEL: I20 J24 N3
    Date: 2013–11
  15. By: Martin Gustafsson (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Stephen Taylor (Department of Basic Education)
    Abstract: The impact that the systems and practices of the education authorities, as opposed to the management at the school, have on school performance is usually difficult to quantify. Provincial boundary changes occurring in South Africa after 2005 appear to create a quasi-experiment that lends itself to impact evaluation techniques. A total of 158 secondary schools experienced a switch in provincial administration and at least two types of switches, one from Limpopo to Mpumalanga and another from North West to Gauteng, were sufficiently common to make statistically significant trends a possibility. Various indicators of Grade 12 mathematics performance are explored which take into account passes at a low threshold, achievement at an excellent level and selection into mathematics. Models used and critically discussed include a simple value-added school production function, a difference-in-difference model and a fixed effects panel data analysis. The data include annual Grade 12 examination results for the period 2005 to 2012, which allow for lags in the impact to be explored. Spatial analysis is used to identify schools located close to switching schools to establish whether student commuting effects could have confounded the results. A key finding is that schools moving from North West to Gauteng appear to enjoy benefits associated with the treatment especially as far as the production of students excelling in mathematics is concerned. However, a strong caveat is that the finding depends heavily on just 2012 values and that 2013 examination data will have to be included in the analysis before the study can inform policy recommendations. A brief comparison of institutional aspects of the education authorities in the two provinces North West and Gauteng, drawing from publicly available plans and reports, is provided to help interpret the differences seen in the data. The paper ends with some tentative conclusions in relation to how governance responsibilities in education can be optimally spread across the national, provincial and local levels in South Africa.
    Keywords: South Africa, school improvement, mathematics education, impact evaluation
    JEL: C21 H11 I21
    Date: 2013
  16. By: Kristin Hallgren; Cassie Pickens Jewell; Celina Kamler
    Keywords: Teacher Student Data Link, Education, Strategic Data Project
    Date: 2013–02–04
  17. By: Deuchert, Eva; Kauer, Lukas; Liebert, Helge; Wuppermann, Carl
    Abstract: We conduct a field experiment to study if student counseling offices discriminate against disabled students based on their impairment. The offices receive randomized emails from fictitious high-school graduates, requesting information on the admission process and special accommodations to ease studying. Responses are evaluated using content analysis, allowing us to examine different theoretical mechanisms how discriminative behaviour can emerge. Results show that students with depression or dyslexia are discriminated against compared to students with physical impairments. We find no evidence for taste-based or statistical discrimination. Instead, results indicate that general information deficits about health conditions exist, leading to non-purposeful discrimination. Psychological and learning impairments are not recognized as disabilities and counselors are unaware of the limitations they entail. If discrimination translates into lower access to higher education and a lower probability to graduate, disadvantages for disabled individuals on the labor market are reinforced.
    Keywords: Higher education, disability, discrimination, field experiment, content analysis
    JEL: I14 I23
    Date: 2013–11
  18. By: Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)); Sonja C. Kassenboehmer (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)); Trinh Le (Department of Economics, The University of Waikato); Duncan McVicar (Queen's University Management School, Queen's University, Belfast); Rong Zhang (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: We use unique survey data linked to nearly a decade of administrative welfare data to examine the relationship between early marijuana use (at age 14 or younger) and young people’s educational outcomes. We find evidence that early marijuana use is related to educational penalties that are compounded by high-intensity use and are larger for young people living in families with a history of welfare receipt. The relationships between marijuana use and both high school completion and achieving a university entrance score appear to stem from selectivity into the use of marijuana. In contrast, early marijuana use is associated with significantly lower university entrance score for those who obtain one and we provide evidence that this effect is unlikely to be driven by selection. Collectively, these findings point to a more nuanced view of the relationship between adolescent marijuana use and educational outcomes than is suggested by the existing literature.
    Keywords: Marijuana, cannabis, educational achievement, educational attainment, socio-economic disadvantage, welfare receipt
    JEL: I20 I24 I10 I18
    Date: 2013–10
  19. By: Koerselman, Kristian (Abo Akademi University); Uusitalo, Roope (HECER)
    Abstract: Investing in human capital increases lifetime income, but these investments may involve substantial risk. In this paper we use a Finnish panel spanning 22 years to predict the mean, the variance and the skew of the present value of lifetime income, and to calculate certainty equivalent lifetime income at different levels of education. We find that university education is associated with about a half a million euro increase in discounted lifetime disposable income compared to vocational high school. Accounting for risk does little to change this picture. By contrast, vocational high school is associated with only moderately higher lifetime income compared to compulsory education, and the entire difference is due to differential nonemployment.
    Keywords: lifetime income, risk, education, human capital
    JEL: C33 I24 J31
    Date: 2013–11
  20. By: Oleg Poldin (Associate professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), 25/12 Bolshaja Pecherskaja Ulitsa, Nizhny Novgorod 603155, Russia, researcher at Center for Institutional Studies, HSE.); Dilyara Valeeva (Junior researcher, Center for Institutional Studies, HSE.); Maria Yudkevich ((Corresponding Author) Director, Center for Institutional Studies, HSE, Russia, 101000 Moscow, Myasnitskaya street, 20.)
    Abstract: Among the key issues of peer effects estimation is the correct identification of relevant peers. In this study, we explore how the individual performance of university students is influenced by characteristics and achievements of peers from individual’s social network. The analysis uses data from two directed networks: a network of friends and a network of study partners for thirdyear students at a top-tier Russian university. Data on network ties in randomly formed student groups enables us to address the endogeneity problem and disentangle the influence of peers’ performance from the effect that a peer’s background has on students. We show that both the GPA of peers and their ability measures are significant in the estimated regression model. A onepoint increase in the average GPA of peers is associated with an increase in an individual student’s own GPA of approximately one fourth. The regression on the data from the network of study partners has slightly greater explanatory power than the analys is based on data from the network of friends. No effect from a student’s classmates is found in the model that assumes group interactions occur between group mates
    Keywords: peer effects, higher education, student achievement, social networks.
    JEL: I23 I24
    Date: 2013
  21. By: Gabriele Cappelli
    Abstract: - The present paper explores the role of public policy in the development of Italy’s human capital in the late 19th century and the Interwar period. It aims at understanding whether a system of decentralized primary education slowed down regional convergence in schooling. This work puts forward the hypothesis that, under such a system, the country was subject to a human capital trap – since poor and backward areas could not afford to invest a suitable amount of resources in schooling. Additionally, it investigates whether a more centralized system, introduced in 1911, loosened up the trap, fostered the accumulation of human capital and reduced the country’s regional disparities. Original qualitative evidence and new data on schooling confirm the existence of such a trap, and underline the positive role of centralization in the Interwar period. The econometric model implemented strengthens these findings: poor regions could not improve the quality of education, which in turn would give rise to a vicious circle. Centralized primary education certainly fostered the development of Italy’s schooling in the Interwar period. However, human capital regional disparities across the country persisted, a result that calls for further research on the topic.
    JEL: I22 I25 I28 N33 N43 O15 O20
    Date: 2013–10
  22. By: Epstein, Gil S. (Bar-Ilan University); Menis, Joseph (Bar-Ilan University)
    Abstract: In this note we use unique data from Bar-Ilan University, over a period of four years (2005-2008), to estimate simultaneous equations with regard to the relationship between publications and teaching loads. The study shows that students studying for a bachelor's degree are a liability while PhD students are an asset in terms of publications. Those studying for a master's degree may be a liability or an asset depending on the department characteristics. Increasing the number of faculty members increases publications however it may not increase the publications per capita and is department specific.
    Keywords: productivity, publications, teaching loads, higher education
    JEL: D2 L11
    Date: 2013–11
  23. By: Donna Feir (Department of Economics, University of Victoria)
    Abstract: For decades in North America and Australia, indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in boarding schools. These schools had the stated goal of cultural assimilation and are perceived to have been an educational failure. I offer the first causal evidence on the long run effects of these schools using the interaction of changes in Canadian national policy and variation in the power of the Catholic Church. I find that the average boarding school had substantial effects on both cultural and economic assimilation. However, I find suggestive evidence that highly abusive schools only affected cultural connection.
    Keywords: Assimilation, Boarding Schools, North American Indians
    JEL: I20 I24 I25 I28 I38 J01 J15 J18 Z00
    Date: 2013–11–19
  24. By: Ferdi Botha, Jen Snowball, Vivian de Klerk & Sarah Radloff
    Abstract: Although there are a number of studies on the determinants of general quality of life among university students, these occur mainly in developed countries and do not focus specifically on campus-based residence life. It has long been accepted that factors outside the classroom (“the other curriculumâ€) can contribute to academic success, as well as the achievement of other important outcomes such as the appreciation of human diversity. Striving towards equality of residence life satisfaction across different racial and gender groups, for example, is thus important for academic outcomes and for the development of well-functioning citizens. This study is based on the 2011 Quality of Residence Life (QoRL) Survey, conducted at a South African university, comprising roughly 2 000 respondents. Based on descriptive analyses and ordered probit regressions, the study investigates the association between satisfaction with QoRL and (i) residence milieu and characteristics, (ii) direct and indirect discrimination, (iii) perceptions of drug and alcohol issues in residence, (iv) safety, and (v) individual student characteristics. One of the main findings is that there are no significant differences in satisfaction with QoRL across racial and gender groups; a finding that suggests significant progress in university transformation and equity goals. The general atmosphere and characteristics of residences are also important predictors of QoRL satisfaction.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, university life, residence
    Date: 2013

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