nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒04‒11
sixteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior and Universidade de Lisboa

  1. Blissful Ignorance? A Natural Experiment on the Effect of Feedback on Students'Performance By Oriana Bandiera; Valentino Larcinese; Imran Rasul
  2. The Impact of Adolescent Motherhood on Education in Chile By Berthelon, Matias; Kruger, Diana
  3. A Focused Look at Rural Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants. By Linda Rosenberg; Megan Davis Christianson; Megan Hague Angus; Emily Rosenthal
  4. Friendship And Study Assistance Ties Of University Students By Oleg Poldin; Diliara Valeeva; Maria Yudkevich
  5. School Resources, Behavioral Responses and School Quality: Short-Term Experimental Evidence from Niger By Elizabeth Beasley; Elise Huillery
  6. Do School Budgets Matter? The Effect of Budget Referenda on Student Performance By Lee, Kyung-Gon; Polachek, Solomon
  7. How Much Are Teachers Paid and How Much Does it Matter? By OECD
  8. Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control By Berno Buechel; Lydia Mechtenberg; Julia Petersen;
  9. Education and the Transition to Sustained Democracy By Jesus Crespo Cuaresma; Doris A. Oberdabernig
  10. Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time By Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  11. Does Increasing Schooling Improve Later Health Habits? Evidence from the School Reforms in Australia By Jinhu Li; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  12. Financing Higher Education when Students and Graduates are Internationally Mobile By Silke Übelmesser; Marcel Gérard
  13. Educational expenditure in South Africa: Evidence from the National Income Dynamics Study By Branson, Nicola; Kekana, Dineo; Lam, David
  14. Teacher incentives in South Africa: a theoretical investigation of the possibilities By Paula Armstrong
  15. Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey By Antonio Di Paolo; Aysýt Tansel
  16. Optimal College Tuition Subsidies By Nicholas Lawson

  1. By: Oriana Bandiera; Valentino Larcinese; Imran Rasul
    Abstract: We provide evidence on whether providing university students with feedback on their past exam performance affects their future exam performance. Our identification strategy exploits a natural experiment in a leading UK university where different departments have historically different rules on the provision of feedback to their students. We find the provision of feedback has a positive effect on students’ subsequent test scores: the mean impact corresponds to 13% of a standard deviation in test scores. The impact of feedback is stronger for more able students and for students who have less information to start with about the academic environment, while no subset of individuals is found to be discouraged by feedback. Our findings suggest that students have imperfect information on how their effort translates into test scores and that the provision of feedback might be a cost?effective means to increase students' exam performance. Keywords: feedback, incentives, students' performance, university education.
    Date: 2014
  2. By: Berthelon, Matias (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez); Kruger, Diana (Universidad Adolfo Ibañez)
    Abstract: We analyze the effect of having a child in adolescence on high school completion, educational attainment, and college enrollment in a developing country setting using nine repeated rounds of Chilean household surveys that span the 1990–2009 period. We control for selection bias and household unobservables of teen motherhood with two approaches: different estimation methods – propensity score matching and family fixed effects for a large sub-sample of sisters – and three different samples. Results reveal that adolescent motherhood reduces the probability of high school completion by between 18 to 37 percent. Furthermore, effects are heterogeneous across education groups: teen motherhood has larger negative effects on high school completion and years of schooling among poor and low-education households. Our results imply that policies aimed at reducing early childbearing will have important short-term effects on young women's education outcomes.
    Keywords: education, teen pregnancy, adolescent motherhood, youth, high school, Chile
    JEL: O15 J13 I25
    Date: 2014–03
  3. By: Linda Rosenberg; Megan Davis Christianson; Megan Hague Angus; Emily Rosenthal
    Keywords: SIG, School Improvement Grants, Rural Schools, Education
    JEL: I
    Date: 2014–04–30
  4. By: Oleg Poldin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Diliara Valeeva (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Maria Yudkevich (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: We analyze the characteristics of the social networks of students studying in the economics department in one Russian university. We focus on student friendship and study assistance ties and demonstrate how these networks are connected with the individual characteristics of students and their peers. We find that the probability of a tie existing is explained by the gender homophily, and initial student assignment to the same exogenously defined study group. Students ask for help and form friendships with students who have similar academic achievements. Academically successful students are more popular in study assistance networks while there is no gender difference in student popularity in both networks. Our findings enhance the understanding of the role of friendship and study assistance ties in the formation of peer group effects
    Keywords: student achievement, social networks, peer group effects, higher education
    JEL: D85 I21 I23
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Elizabeth Beasley; Elise Huillery (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: Increasing school resources has often shown disappointing effects on school quality in developing countries, a lack of impact which may be due to student, parent or teacher behavioral responses. We test the short-term impact of an increase in school resources under parental control using an experimental school grant program in Niger.
    JEL: H52 O15 I21 I28
    Date: 2013–04
  6. By: Lee, Kyung-Gon (Korean Labor Institute); Polachek, Solomon (Binghamton University, New York)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes how changes in school expenditures affect dropout rates and standardized test scores based on data from 465 school districts in New York during the 2003/04 to the 2008/09 school years. Past traditional regression approaches show inconsistent results of school expenditures because of an endogeneity problem. The regression discontinuity design used in this study isolates exogenous variation in school expenditures per pupil by comparing school districts where budget referenda passed and failed by narrow margins. The results indicate that increases in school expenditures reduce dropout rates but have limited effects on student test scores.
    Keywords: educational expenditures, school budget referenda, school dropout rates, student performance
    JEL: I20 I21 I22
    Date: 2014–03
  7. By: OECD
    Abstract: Teachers’ salaries increased in real terms between 2000 and 2011 in virtually all OECD countries, but mostly remain below those of other tertiary-educated workers. Statutory salaries for lower secondary school teachers with 15 years of experience are 35% higher than starting salaries in OECD countries. Among OECD countries, education systems that pay teachers more relative to their national income per capita tend to perform slightly better in mathematics as shown by the PISA study. An increasing number of countries are now targeting salary increases to attract high-level graduates in the profession, to retain the best teachers or to assign the most experienced teachers to disadvantaged schools.
    Date: 2014–04
  8. By: Berno Buechel; Lydia Mechtenberg; Julia Petersen;
    Abstract: We conducted a multi-wave field experiment to study the interaction of peer effects and selfcontrol among undergraduate students. We use a behavioral measure of self-control based on whether students achieve study related goals they have set for themselves. We find that both self-control and the number of talented friends increase students’ performance. We then set out to test the theoretical prediction of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole (2005) that (only) sufficiently self-controlled individuals profit from interactions with peers. We find that peers with high self-control are more likely to connect to others, have a higher overall number of friends and have a higher number of talented friends. Moreover, positive news about self-controlled behavior of their peers increases students’ own perseverance. Hence, our findings are consistent with the model of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole. In addition, we find that female students are more likely to have high self-control, but do not outperform male students. One reason for this is that female students have a lower number of talented friends than their male counterparts, thereby profiting less from positive peer effects.
    Keywords: Self-control, Peer Influence, Social Networks, Goals, Time preferences, Procrastination, Willpower, School Performance, Experiment
    JEL: C93 D85 I21 J24
    Date: 2014–04
  9. By: Jesus Crespo Cuaresma (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business); Doris A. Oberdabernig (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: We study empirically the role of education, age structure and other socioeconomic factors as a determinant of the transition to stable democratic regimes. Our findings suggest that educational improvements (in particular in primary education) and policies towards reducing inequalities in educational attainment play a particularly important role as a catalyst of sustainable democratization processes.
    Keywords: Democracy, Education, Age Structure, Economic Development
    JEL: I20 J10 O11 P26
    Date: 2014–03
  10. By: Diego Restuccia; Guillaume Vandenbroucke
    Abstract: Consider the following facts. In 1950, the richest countries attained an average of 8 years of schooling whereas the poorest countries 1.3 years, a large 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold because schooling increased faster in poor than in rich countries. What explains educational attainment differences across countries and their evolution over time? We consider an otherwise standard model of schooling featuring non-homothetic preferences and a labor supply margin to assess the quantitative contribution of productivity and life expectancy in explaining educational attainment. A calibrated version of the model accounts for 90 percent of the difference in schooling levels in 1950 between rich and poor countries and 71 percent of the faster increase in schooling over time in poor relative to rich countries. These results suggest an alternative view of the determinants of low education in developing countries that is based on low productivity.
    Keywords: schooling, productivity, life expectancy, labor supply.
    JEL: O1 O4 E24 J22 J24
    Date: 2014–03–28
  11. By: Jinhu Li (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Nattavudh Powdthavee (Department of Economics and CentER, Tilburg University; Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne; CESifo (Munich); Centre for Economic Policy Research (London); and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))
    Abstract: This study estimates the causal effect of schooling on health behaviors. Using changes in the minimum school leaving age laws that varied by birth year and states in Australia from age 14 to 15 as a source of exogenous variation in schooling, the instrumental variables (IV) regression estimates imply that there is a positive, sizeable, and statistically significant effect of staying an extra year in school on later healthy lifestyle choices, including diet, exercise, and the decision to engage in risky health behaviors. We also demonstrate that the magnitudes of the schooling effect were effectively moderated by a selection of pre-determined characteristics of the individuals. Finally, this paper provides some evidence on the potential underlying mechanisms linking education and health behaviors by showing that increasing schooling also raised individuals’ conscientiousness levels and the perceived sense of control over one’s life.
    Keywords: Health behaviors, schooling, instrumental variables, education, HILDA, Australia
    JEL: I12 I21 C26
    Date: 2014–01
  12. By: Silke Übelmesser (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena); Marcel Gérard (CESifo, Munich)
    Abstract: This paper aims at linking cross border mobility of students and graduates with the financing of higher education. Against the background of institutional features and empirical evidence of the European Union and Northern America, a theoretical framework is developed. This allows analyzing the optimal financing regimes for different migration scenarios, comparing them with the regimes in place and discussing possible remedies. In particular, the (optimal) sharing of education costs between students / graduates and tax-payers is studied as well as the (optimal) sharing of the tax-payers' part between the various countries involved: the country which provides higher education (the host country), the country of previous education (the origin country) and possibly the countries which benefit from the improved skills of the workers. Alternative designs exhibiting potentially desirable properties are developed and policy recommendations derived.
    Keywords: Mobility of students, Mobility of graduates, Financing of higher education
    JEL: F22 H52 I23
    Date: 2014–03–31
  13. By: Branson, Nicola (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Kekana, Dineo (Saldru, University of Cape Town); Lam, David (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: Differential education expenditure by racial group was a pillar in the architecture of apartheid. School systems diverged by racial group, with large funding and curriculum differences (Fiske and Ladd, 2004). In 1994, spending on white learners was about 1.5 times the spending on urban African learners and more than four times the spending on rural African learners (Fiske and Ladd, 2004). Since 1994 much focus has been paid by government to redress these educational expenditure inequalities with policies such as the National Norms and Standards for School Funding (NNSSF) and the rollout of the no fee schools program disproportionately allocating state funds to low socioeconomic schools and the fee-exemption policy providing low income households and grant recipients access to free education. Little is however known about how these policies have affected household educational expenditure across the income distribution.
    Keywords: educational expenditure; South Africa; NIDS; National Income Dynamics Study
    Date: 2013
  14. By: Paula Armstrong (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: This paper investigates different theoretical models of incentives for teachers in education. It highlights key characteristics likely to render incentives successful in encouraging productive behaviour, provides evidence of where these systems have been successfully and unsuccessfully implemented internationally and the likelihood of successful implementation of teacher incentive programmes in South Africa.
    Keywords: incentives, teachers
    JEL: I2 J5
    Date: 2014
  15. By: Antonio Di Paolo (University of Barcelona); Aysýt Tansel (Middle East Technical University)
    Abstract: Foreign language skills represent a form of human capital that can be rewarded in the labor market. Drawing on data from the Adult Education Survey of 2007, this is the first study estimating returns to foreign language skills in Turkey. We contribute to the literature on the economic value of language knowledge, with a special focus on a country characterized by fast economic and social development. Although English is the most widely spoken foreign language in Turkey, we initially consider the economic value of different foreign languages among the employed males aged 25 to 65. We find positive and significant returns to proficiency in English and Russian, which increase with the level of competence. Knowledge of French and German also appears to be positively rewarded in the Turkish labor market, although their economic value seems mostly linked to an increased likelihood to hold specific occupations rather than increased earnings within occupations. Focusing on English, we also explore the heterogeneity in returns to different levels of proficiency by frequency of English use at work, birth-cohort, education, occupation and rural/urban location. The results are also robust to the endogenous specification of English language skills.
    Date: 2013
  16. By: Nicholas Lawson (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM))
    Abstract: A large body of theoretical and empirical research focusses on two rationales for government subsidies to college students: positive fiscal externalities when subsidies lead to greater human capital accumulation and a larger income tax base, and liquidity constraints among students. In this paper, I calculate the optimal subsidy in a simple model that incorporates both fiscal externalities and liquidity constraints. I use two approaches in which outcomes of the model are matched to US data: calibration of a simple structural model, and a "sufficient statistics" approach in which I derive an equation for the welfare impact of tuition subsidies as a function of a few empirical statistics. Both approaches lead to the striking result that optimal subsidies should be increased to the point of completely offsetting average tuition at public universities. This finding is driven by fiscal externalities, and is not sensitive to the extent of liquidity constraints, indicating that we do not need to know their magnitude to make welfare statements about tuition subsidy policy.
    Keywords: college tuition subsidies; fiscal externality; liquidity constraints; sufficient statistics; free tuition
    Date: 2014–03

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