nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒01‒17
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior and Universidade de Lisboa

  1. "Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya" By ADRIENNE M. LUCAS; ISAAC M. MBITI
  2. Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349 By Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury
  3. The Effects of Teacher Strike Activity on Student Learning in South African Primary Schools By Gabrielle Wills
  4. Human Capital Formation and International Trade By Gregory Upton Jr.
  5. Does malaria control impact education? A study of the Global Fund in Africa By Maria Kuecken; Josselin Thuilliez; Marie-Anne Valfort
  6. What is the Impact of the Economic Crisis on Public Education Spending? By OECD
  7. Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India By Karthik Muralidharan; Nishith Prakash
  8. Affirmation Action, Education and Gender: Evidence from India By Guilhem Cassan
  11. The Efficiency Implications of Using Proportional Evaluations to Shape the Teaching Workforce By Cory Koedel; Jiaxi Li
  12. Do university rankings matter for growth? By Tan Kuan Lu, Clifford
  13. The Impact of Temporary Work Guarantee Programs on Children's Education: Evidence from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act from India By Shreyasee Das; Abhilasha Singh
  14. Democracy and Education: Evidence from the Southern African Development Community By Manoel Bittencourt

  1. By: ADRIENNE M. LUCAS (Department of Economics,University of Delaware); ISAAC M. MBITI (Department of Economics,Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: The most desirable Kenyan secondary schools are elite government schools that admit the best students from across the country. We exploit the random variation generated by the centralized school admissions process in a regression discontinuity design to obtain causal estimates of the effects of attending one of these elite public schools on student progression and test scores in secondary school. Despite their reputations, we find little evidence of positive impacts on learning outcomes for students who attended these schools, suggesting that their sterling reputations reflect the selection of students rather than their ability to generate value-added test-score gains.
    Keywords: Education, Kenya, returns to secondary school
    JEL: H52 I21
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury
    Abstract: Using a primary school curricular standard basic mathematics competence test, this paper documents the low level of student achievement amongst 10-18 year old rural children in Bangladesh and tests the extent to which years spent in school increases learning. Our sample includes children currently enrolled in school as well as those out of school. About half of the children failed to pass the written competence test, a finding that also holds for those completing primary schooling. Even after holding constant a wide range of factors such as household income, parental characteristics, current enrollment status, and a direct measure of child ability, there remains a statistically significant correlation between schooling attained and basic mathematics competence above and beyond primary school completion. This pattern is more pronounced for girls who have lower competence compared to boys despite higher grade completion. We further show that the schooling-learning gradient and the gender gap therein are not explained by common differences in family background. Aggregate institutional indicators of school quality matters for overall learning outcomes, however, does not mitigate against the gender gap. These findings have wide implications for anti-poverty policies that emphasize on quantitative expansion of education in developing countries, without concurrent improvements in learning.
    Keywords: Cognitive ability; gender inequality; school quality
    JEL: I21 Z12 O12 O15
    Date: 2013–12
  3. By: Gabrielle Wills (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether teacher strikes affect student achievement at the primary school level in South Africa. A cross-subject analysis with student fixed effects is used to eliminate sources of endogeneity bias at the school and student level. Results indicate that teacher strike participation negatively affects learning for students in the poorest three quarters of schools in South Africa. A negative effect size as large as ten per cent of a standard deviation is observed. There is also evidence that more marginalised students, both in terms of socio-economic status and academic performance, are affected most negatively by strike action. However, application of a technique by Altonji, Taber and Elder (2005) indicates that it is not possible to rule out that measured strike effects may be driven by omitted variable bias. The student fixed effects strategy fails to adequately control for unobserved teacher characteristics that may influence both a teacher’s decision to strike and student achievement.
    Keywords: teachers, strikes, trade unions, student achievement, South Africa
    JEL: I21 J51 J52 J24
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Gregory Upton Jr.
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of a statewide merit-based scholarship program on educational outcomes in Arizona. It tests whether Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) scholarship has an effect on a comprehensive set of educational outcomes such as the number of applicants, student admissions, first-year first-time enrollment, ACT scores of entering freshman, retention rates, as well as on the level of tuition and fees at the three schools targeted by the program; Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. Both difference-in-differences estimation as well as synthetic control methods shows that AIMS has an economically and statistically significant effect on many of these outcomes, primarily enrollment and tuition. Enrollment effects are greatest among African American and Hispanic students and are significant for both men and women.
  5. By: Maria Kuecken (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris); Josselin Thuilliez (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, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: We examine the middle-run eff ects of the Global Fund's malaria control programs on the educational attainment of primary schoolchildren in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using a quasi-experimental approach, we exploit geographic variation in pre-campaign malaria prevalence (malaria ecology) and variation in exogenous exposure to the timing and expenditure of malaria control campaigns, based on individuals' years of birth and year surveyed. In a large majority of countries (14 of 22), we find that the program led to substantial increases in years of schooling and grade level as well as reductions in schooling delay. These countries are those for which pre-campaign educational resources are the highest. Moreover, although by and large positive, we nd that the marginal returns of the Global Fund disbursements in terms of educational outcomes are decreasing. Our findings, which are robust to both the instrumentation of ecology and use of alternative ecology measures, have important policy implications on the value for money of malaria control eff orts.
    Keywords: Malaria, Sub-Saharan Africa, Education, Quasi-experimental
    Date: 2014–01–06
  6. By: OECD
    Abstract: The aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has meant a significant number of countries have cut public spending on education. Despite GDP rising in most OECD countries between 2009 and 2010, public expenditure on educational institutions fell in one-third of them. Teachers’ salaries were either frozen or cut between 2009 and 2011 in 12 out of the 25 OECD countries with data available. This may discourage the highest-performing students from joining the teaching profession. Demand for education and training is increasing even as austerity continues to put pressure on the resources allocated to education. Educational institutions will have to do more with less in the coming years.
    Date: 2013–12
  7. By: Karthik Muralidharan (University of California San Diego); Nishith Prakash (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: We study the impact of an innovative program in the Indian state of Bihar that aimed to reduce the gender gap in secondary school enrollment by providing girls who continued to secondary school with a bicycle that would improve access to school. Using data from a large representative household survey, we employ a triple difference approach (using boys and the neighboring state of Jharkhand as comparison groups) and find that being in a cohort that was exposed to the Cycle program increased girls' age-appropriate enrollment in secondary school by 30% and also reduced the gender gap in age-appropriate secondary school enrollment by 40%. Parametric and non-parametric decompositions of the triple-difference estimate as a function of distance to the nearest secondary school show that the increases in enrollment mostly took place in villages where the nearest secondary school was further away, suggesting that the mechanism for program impact was the reduction in the time and safety cost of school attendance made possible by the bicycle. We find that the Cycle program was much more cost effective at increasing girls' enrolment than comparable conditional cash transfer programs in South Asia, suggesting that the coordinated provision of bicycles to girls may have generated externalities beyond the cash value of the program, including improved safety from girls cycling to school in groups, and changes in patriarchal social norms that proscribed female mobility outside the village, which inhibited female secondary school participation.
    Keywords: Conditional transfers, school access, gender gaps, bicycle, girls' education, female empowerment, India, Bihar, MDG
    JEL: H42 I2 O15
    Date: 2013–08
  8. By: Guilhem Cassan (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)
    Abstract: We use a unique natural experiment in order to assess the impact of positive discrimination in India on targeted groups' educational attainment. We take advantage of the harmonization of the Scheduled Castes lists within the Indian states taking place in 1976 to measure the increase of the educational attainment of the new beneciaries. We show that this policy had heterogenous eects across genders, with males beneting from the SC status and females remaining essentially unaected. We show that this translated into a dierential increase in literacy and numeracy, and propose a novel method to measure the latter.
    Keywords: scheduled caste, quota, positive discrimination, gender
    JEL: I24 O15 H41
    Date: 2014–01
  9. By: Glenn P. Jenkins (Department of Economics, Queen's University, Canada, Eastern Mediterranean University, Mersin 10, Turkey); Armin Zeinali (Queen’s University, Canada)
    Abstract: The purpose of this study is to develop a model to arrive at a joint optimizing strategy for capital budgeting for the construction of new school buildings and for the renovation of existing schools. This model provides a practical tool for ranking construction projects so as to yield the maximum positive impact on the education system. A key aspect of the model is that it provides the optimal mix of renovation and new construction that should be undertaken under a fixed budget constraint. The model is applied to a sample dataset from the education sector of Limpopo Province, South Africa, in order to quantify the benefits of using the model.
    Keywords: education, cost-effectiveness, school location, school construction, school repair, South Africa
    JEL: D61 I28 H52 H75
    Date: 2014–01
  10. By: Jelić, Sreten; Jovanović, Tatjana
    Abstract: The key to success and competitive agriculture are the ability of adaptation, dissemination and application of new technologies for faster modernization which requires general education. The application of knowledge must be accompanied by improvement of the educational structure of the population that also has an impact on the modernization of agriculture and intensive rural development (Marinkovic, 2009., Mojic, 2011.). In the process of transition, education has a significant role in the modernization, of agriculture and rural development (Miladinovic, 2011.). The process of rural development and modernization of agriculture in Serbia requires the introduction of modern technologies and skilled labor force. Thus, we need human resources to acquire new knowledge and skills and use them for faster modernization. Based on the Census data and relevant literature we are looking into the education and educational structure of the population of Serbia (by regions, areas and settlements). The results indicate that in the period of transition education structure have been improved. However, there continue to be differences in the educational structure of the population (by gender, age, regions, areas and settlements). The educational structure of the rural population is less favorable compared to urban. The share of the population in rural areas, without any education, through incomplete primary education to primary education, by gender ranges for males from 17.66 to 50.24% and for females from 82.34 to 49.76%.
    Keywords: education, education structure, agriculture, rural development, transition, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Public Economics,
    Date: 2013–09
  11. By: Cory Koedel (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia); Jiaxi Li
    Abstract: We examine the efficiency implications of imposing proportionality in teacher evaluation systems. Proportional evaluations force comparisons to be between equally-circumstanced teachers. We contrast proportional evaluations with global evaluations, which compare teachers to each other regardless of teaching circumstance. We consider a policy where administrators use the ratings from the evaluation system to help shape the teaching workforce, and define efficiency in terms of student achievement. Our analysis indicates that proportionality can be imposed in teacher evaluation systems without efficiency costs under a wide range of evaluation and estimation conditions. Proportionality is efficiency-enhancing in some cases. These findings are notable given that proportional teacher evaluations offer a number of other policy benefits.
    Keywords: teacher evaluation, evaluation systems, proportional evaluations, value-added
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2014–01–09
  12. By: Tan Kuan Lu, Clifford
    Abstract: I investigate the relationship between university rankings and economic growth and found that the relationship is statistically significant. The more the number of universities that a country has in international university rankings, the higher its GDP per capita. What is more surprising is that, as I expand the lists of rankings from top 100 to top 500, the relationship becomes more significant. This suggests that as far as economic growth is concerned, it is more important to have a good number of decent universities(eg in the top 500), rather than only a few elite universities(eg in the top 100).
    Keywords: university rankings, GDP per capita
    JEL: I25
    Date: 2013–12–19
  13. By: Shreyasee Das (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater); Abhilasha Singh (Department of Economics, University of Houston)
    Abstract: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of 2005 guarantees adult members of rural households to a minimum of 100 days of employment with certain provisions geared specically towards women. The phase wise rollout of the program allows us to employ a difference-in-differences strategy to examine the effects on children's education. Using two phases of the District Level of Household and Facility Survey, we find no significant impact of the program on children's education. Although our results are not significant, we find consistent negative coefficients on girls' schooling. These results suggest the interplay of two opposing channels. On the one hand, the increase in income due the program could increase children's schooling. On the other hand, the rise in mothers' work and hence, absence from home may have adversely affected children's education, especially for the older children.
    Keywords: NREGA, Employment Guarantee, Children's Education
    JEL: O12 I21 I38
    Date: 2013–12
  14. By: Manoel Bittencourt (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate whether democracy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has had any impact on education during the 1980-2009 period. The results, based on panel time-series analysis (we use the Pooled OLS, Fixed Effects and Fixed Effects with Instrumental Variables estimators), strongly suggest that democracy has played an important role in widening access to education in the region. These results are significant not only because democracy is in its infancy in the region and to make it work is an aim in itself in Africa, but also because education (a noble aim in itself) is an important determinant of growth and development. All in all, democracy, and the better governance that tends to be associated with it, is playing not only its expected redistributive role, but also an indirect, nevertheless significant and important, role on prosperity in the community.
    Keywords: Democracy, education, SADC
    JEL: H52 I25 O11 O55
    Date: 2013–12

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