nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒03‒08
eleven papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior and Universidade de Lisboa

  1. Determinants of Educational Attainment in Mena By Menshawy Badr; Oliver Morrissey; Simon Appleton
  2. The dynamics of returns to education in Uganda: National and subnational trends By Jesus Crespo Cuaresma; Anna Raggl
  3. Overeducation at a glance. Determinants and wage effects of the educational mismatch, looking at the AlmaLaurea data By Floro Ernesto Caroleo; Francesco Pastore
  4. Conditional Gender Peer Effects? By Jon Marius Vaag Iversen; Hans Bonesrønning
  5. Regional Clustering of Human Capital - School Grades and Migration of University Graduates By Tano, Sofia
  6. Alphabetical Order Effects in School Admissions By Stepan Jurajda; Daniel Munich
  7. Regional Sorting of Human Capital – the Choice of Location among Young Adults in Sweden By Berck, Peter; Tano, Sofia; Westerlund, Olle
  8. Are University Admissions Academically Fair? By Debopam Bhattacharya; Shin Kanaya; Margaret Stevens
  9. Stated and Revealed Heterogeneous Risk Preferences in Educational Choice By Frank M. Fossen; Daniela Glocker
  10. School cheating and social capital By Marco Paccagnella; Paolo Sestito
  11. Does current demographic policy in Russia impact on fertility of different educational groups? By Irina Kalabikhina; Alla Tyndik

  1. By: Menshawy Badr; Oliver Morrissey; Simon Appleton
    Abstract: This study examines the determinants of educational outcome in eight selected MENA countries. The complicated structure of the TIMSS data has been considered carefully during all the stages of the analysis employing plausible values and jackknife standard error technique to accommodate the measurement error of the dependant variable and the clustering of students in classes and schools. The education production functions provide broad evidence from mean and quantile analysis of very low returns to schooling; few school variables are significant and none have effects across countries and quantiles. In general, student characteristics were far more important than school factors in explaining test scores, but there was considerable variability across countries in which specific factors were significant. Strikingly, computer usage was found to influence students’ performance negatively in six MENA countries. Only Turkey and Iran had a significant positive effect of computer usage on maths achievements.
  2. By: Jesus Crespo Cuaresma (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business); Anna Raggl (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: We assess empirically the changes in returns to education at the subnational level in Uganda using the Uganda National Household Surveys for 2002/2003 and 2005/2006. Our results indicate that average returns to schooling tended to converge across regions in the last decade. The overall trend in convergence of returns to schooling took place at all levels of educational attainment and this behaviour in returns to education is mostly driven by the dynamics of returns to schooling in urban areas. We analyse subnational convergence in returns to education and unveil deviant dynamics in Northern Uganda. We discuss the potential challenges to inclusive economic growth in Uganda which are implied by our results.
    Keywords: Human capital, returns to education, regions, Uganda
    JEL: J24 R23 O55
    Date: 2014–02
  3. By: Floro Ernesto Caroleo (University of Naples "Parthenope”, IZA); Francesco Pastore (Seconda Università di Napoli, IZA)
    Abstract: This paper provides the first available evidence on overeducation/overskilling based on AlmaLaurea data. We focus on jobs held 5 years after graduation by pre-reform graduates in 2005. Overeducation/overskilling are relatively high – at 11.4 and 8% – when compared to EU economies. Ceteris paribus they tend to be more frequent among children of parents with lower educational levels, through school tracking. Most arts degrees and social sciences, but also Geology and Biology are associated to both types of the educational mismatch. The quality of education is also a factor, suggesting that in addition to the low demand for skills, one should also reckon the inability of the educational system to provide work-related skills. Moreover, we find a non-conditional wage penalty of 20% and 16% and a conditional one of about 12% and of 7%, respectively. Heckit returns a sample selection corrected penalty slightly higher, supporting not only the job competition and job assignment models, but also the human capital model.
    Keywords: University-to-Work Transition; Overeducation; Overskilling; Sample Selection Bias; AlmaLaurea; Italy.
    JEL: C25 C26 C33 I2 J13 J24
    Date: 2014–02
  4. By: Jon Marius Vaag Iversen; Hans Bonesrønning
    Abstract: While the current empirical literature on peer group effects in schools highlights that credible causal peer effects cannot be estimated unless parental sorting is taken into account, the present paper highlights that causal peer effects might be conditional on the learning environment in which they occur. This approach is motivated by the existing theoretical literature which indicates that peer effects cannot be estimated without taking into account the role of school decision makers. We present indicative empirical evidence that gender peer effects in the Norwegian elementary school are conditional upon the level of special education provided.
    Keywords: peer effects, conditional causal effects, special education
    JEL: I20 I28
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Tano, Sofia (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: The spatial distribution of human capital plays a fundamental role for regional differences in economic growth and welfare. This paper examines how individual ability indicated by the grade point average (GPA), from comprehensive school, affects the probability of migration among young university graduates in Sweden. Using detailed micro data available from the Swedish population registers, the study examines two cohorts of individuals who enrol in tertiary education. The results indicate that individual abilities reflected by the GPA are strongly influential when it comes to completing a university degree and for the migration decision after graduation. Moreover, there is a positive relationship between the GPA and the choice of migrating from regions with a relatively low tax base and a relatively small share of highly educated people in the population. Analogously, individuals with a high GPA tend to stay at a higher rate in more flourishing regions.
    Keywords: Bivariate probit; individual ability; migration; regional clustering; university graduates
    JEL: I23 J24 R23
    Date: 2014–02–26
  6. By: Stepan Jurajda; Daniel Munich
    Abstract: If school admission committees use alphabetically sorted lists of applicants in their evaluations, one's position in the alphabet according to last name initial may be important in determining access to selective schools. In Jurajda and Münich (2010) we provided evidence consistent with this hypothesis based on graduation exams taken in grade 13 in the Czech Republic: 'Z' students in selective schools had higher exam scores than 'A'.students. In this paper, we use the TIMSS&PIRLS test scores of 4th graders and the PISA test scores of 8th and 9th graders in the Czech Republic to provide evidence on how the alphabetical sorting outcome we uncovered earlier arises during early tracking into selective schools. Using the PISA data, we also provide similar evidence for Denmark.
    Keywords: admissions; alphabetical order; order effects; early tracking;
    JEL: H49 J78 I29
    Date: 2014–02
  7. By: Berck, Peter (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy); Tano, Sofia (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics); Westerlund, Olle (Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: Migration rates are highest among young adults, especially students, and their location choices affect the regional distribution of human capital, growth and local public sector budgets. Using Swedish register data on young adults, the choice of whether to enroll in education and the choice of location are estimated jointly. The results indicate a systematic selection into investment in further education based on school grades and associated preferences for locations with higher per capita tax bases. For students, the estimates indicate lower preferences for locations with higher shares of older people. The importance of family networks for the choice of location is confirmed.
    Keywords: Agglomeration; human capital; local public sector; location choice
    JEL: J24 J61 R23
    Date: 2014–02–26
  8. By: Debopam Bhattacharya (Department of Economics, University of Oxford); Shin Kanaya (Aarhus University and CREATES); Margaret Stevens (Department of Economics, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: High-profile universities often face public criticism for undermining academic merit and promoting social elitism through their admissions-process. In this paper, we develop an empirical test for whether access to selective universities is meritocratic. If so, then the academic potential of marginal candidates -- the admission-threshold -- would be equated across demographic groups. But these thresholds are difficult to identify when admission-decisions are based on more characteristics than observed by the analyst. We assume that applicants who are better-qualified on standard observable indicators should on average, but not necessarily with certainty, appear academically stronger to admission-tutors based on characteristics observable to them but not us. This assumption can be used to reveal information about the sign and magnitude of differences in admission thresholds across demographic groups which are robust to omitted characteristics, thus enabling one to test whether different demographic groups face different academic standards for admission. An application to admissions-data at a highly selective British university shows that males and private school applicants face significantly higher admission-thresholds, although application success-rates are equal across gender and school-type. Our methods are potentially useful for testing outcomebased fairness of other binary treatment decisions, where eventual outcomes are observed for those who were treated.
    Keywords: University admissions, affirmative action, economic efficiency, marginal admit, unobserved heterogeneity, threshold-crossing model, conditional stochastic dominance, partial identification
    JEL: C13 C14 I20 J15
    Date: 2014–07–02
  9. By: Frank M. Fossen; Daniela Glocker
    Abstract: Stated survey measures of risk preferences are increasingly being used in the literature, and they have been compared to revealed risk aversion primarily by means of experiments such as lottery choice tasks. In this paper, we investigate educational choice, which involves the comparison of risky future income paths and therefore depends on risk and time preferences. In contrast to experimental settings, educational choice is one of the most important economic decisions taken by individuals, and we observe actual choices in representative panel data. We estimate a structural microeconometric model to jointly reveal risk and time preferences based on educational choices, allowing for unobserved heterogeneity in the Arrow-Pratt risk aversion parameter. The probabilities of membership in the latent classes of persons with higher or lower risk aversion are modelled as functions of stated risk preferences elicited in the survey using standard questions. Two types are identified: A small group with high risk aversion and a large group with low risk aversion. The results indicate that persons who state that they are generally less willing to take risks in the survey tend to belong to the latent class with higher revealed risk aversion, which indicates consistency of stated and revealed risk preferences. The relevance of the distinction between the two types for educational choice is demonstrated by their distinct reactions to a simulated tax policy scenario.
    Keywords: Educational choice, stated preferences, revealed preferences, risk aversion, time preference
    JEL: I20 D81
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Marco Paccagnella (Bank of Italy); Paolo Sestito (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: In this paper we propose and validate cheating in standardized tests as a new indirect measure of social capital. Given the low-stakes nature of most of the tests examined here, we interpret the widespread presence of cheating as a signal of limited trustin central education authorities. Cheating is negatively correlated with several social capital proxies in the local environment where a school is located (the municipality or the province), even controlling for area-wide differences in social capital and for a number of features of the local environment. When distinguishing between different kinds of social capital – contrasting universalistic and particularistic social values (along the lines of de Blasio, Scalise and Sestito, forthcoming) – cheating appears to be negatively correlated only with measures of universalistic social values (while the correlation of cheating with particularistic social values, if any, is positive). We also document a number of empirical regularities in cheating behavior: (i) within classes student homogeneity is associated with higher cheating (Lucifora and Tonello, 2012); (ii) the presence of external inspectors greatly reduces cheating (Bertoni, Brunello and Rocco, 2013), and to a greater extent in low social capital environments; (iii) in primary schools, cheating is more pervasive in smaller classes; (iv) and a larger share of “local” teachers, or of teachers with a permanent contract, is generally associated with higher levels of cheating.
    Keywords: cheating, social capital
    JEL: I28 D73 Z10
    Date: 2014–02
  11. By: Irina Kalabikhina (Department of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University); Alla Tyndik (Institute for Social Analysis and Prediction RANEPA)
    Abstract: This article is devoted to investigation current demographic policy in Russia impact on fertility of different educational groups. Authors use qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data for this analysis come from the Gender and Generation Survey in Russia (2004, 2007, 2011 waves). Semi-structured interview method (Moscow, 2010) was used to assess the cognitive and emotional aspects of fertility behaviour (to give birth the next child). One of the important results of this study that Russian population could not be satisfated with current demographic policy. Moreover, higher educated people have stronger demand for family-work measures to reach desired family size. People with higher education estimate influence of existing measures lower as a whole, but influence of potential measures (directed on combination of career and parenthood) the estimated higher.
    Keywords: Demographic policy, fertility, educational groups, Russia
    JEL: J13 J16 J18
    Date: 2014–02

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