nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒04‒18
fourteen papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Universidade da Beira Interior and Universidade de Lisboa

  1. How Responsive is Investment in Schooling to Changes in Redistributive Policies and in Returns? By Abramitzky, Ran; Lavy, Victor
  2. Parents’ attitudes towards science and their children’s science achievement By Liyanage Devangi H. Perera,; Eduard J. Bomhoff; Grace H.Y. Lee
  3. “Decomposition of Differences in PISA Results in Middle Income Countries” By Sandra Nieto; Raul Ramos
  4. Fields of Knowledge, Types of Higher Education Institutions, and Innovative Start-Ups - An Empirical Investigation By Michael Fritsch; Ronney Aamoucke
  5. Teacher Wages in South Africa: How Attractive is the Teaching Profession? By Paula Armstrong
  6. Assessing organizational capacity in higher education By Rita van Deuren
  7. Educational Attainment, Wages and Employment of Second-Generation Immigrants in France By Gabin Langevin; David Masclet; Fabien Moizeau; Emmanuel Peterle
  8. Testing for Educational Credit Constraints using Heterogeneity in Individual Time Preferences By Benjamin W. Cowan
  9. “Overeducation, skills and wage penalty: Evidence for Spain using PIAAC data” By Sandra Nieto
  10. Effects of manufacturing dynamics on returns to education in the North of Mexico By Caamal Olvera, Cinthya G.
  11. The (Changing) Knowledge Production Function: Evidence from the MIT Department of Biology for 1970-2000 By Annamaria Conti; Christopher C. Liu
  12. Colonial Institutions, Commodity Booms, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889-1930 By Aldo Musacchio; Andre Martinez; Martina Viarengo
  13. Women Economists in Italy: A Bibliometric Analysis of their Scientific Production in the Past Decade By Marcella Corsi; Giulia Zacchia
  14. How much do children really cost? Maternity benefits and career opportunities of women in academia By Epifanio, Mariaelisa; Troeger, Vera E

  1. By: Abramitzky, Ran (Stanford University); Lavy, Victor (Hebrew University and University of Warwick)
    Abstract: This paper uses an unusual pay reform to test the responsiveness of investment in schooling to changes in redistribution schemes that increase the rate of return to education. We exploit an episode where different Israeli kibbutzim shifted from equal sharing to productivity-based wages in different years and find that students in kibbutzim that reformed earlier invested more in high school education. This effect is stronger for males and is largely driven by students whose parents have lower levels of education. We also show that, in the long run, students in kibbutzim that reformed earlier were more likely to complete post-high school academic colleges. Our findings support the prediction that education is highly responsive to changes in the redistribution policy, especially for students from weaker backgrounds.
    Keywords: kibbutzim, education, Redistributive Policies.
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Liyanage Devangi H. Perera,; Eduard J. Bomhoff; Grace H.Y. Lee
    Abstract: Although countries and school systems worldwide are emphasizing the importance of science education for technological development and global economic competition, comparative findings from standardized international student assessments point towards a huge gap in science scores between developed and developing countries. Certain developed economies too have made little progress in raising science achievement over the past decade. Despite school improvement being placed high on the policy agenda, the results of such actions have been poor. Therefore, there is a need to explore additional ways in which science achievement can be enhanced. This study focuses on the family and examines to what extent parents’ attitudes towards science (how much they value science and the importance they place on it) can influence their children’s science achievement. Individual- and school-level data are obtained from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 survey for 15 OECD and non-OECD countries. Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) is employed to estimate the equations. The findings indicate that parents’ attitudes towards science have a positive and statistically significant effect on science achievement, after controlling for other important student- and school-level variables. Moreover, students from poor backgrounds appear to benefit from more positive parental science attitudes as much as students from high socioeconomic status, such that equality of student achievement is not affected. This study recommends that schools and teachers encourage parents to play a more pro-active role in their children’s science education, as well as educate parents about the importance of science and strategies that can be adopted to support their children’s science learning.
    Keywords: science achievement, parents’ attitudes, PISA, multi-level modelling
    JEL: I2 Z13
    Date: 2014–04
  3. By: Sandra Nieto (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona); Raul Ramos (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: Our objective is to analyse the role of teacher and school quality to explain differences in students’ educational outcomes. With this aim, we use PISA microdata for 10 middle income and 2 high income countries and we apply decomposition methods in order to identify the role of these factors for different groups of students. Our results show that school and teacher quality and better practices matter even in different institutional settings. From a policy perspective, this evidence supports actions addressed at improving both factors in order to reduce cross-country differences but also between students at the top and bottom distribution in terms of socio-economic characteristics.
    Keywords: Educational outcomes, teacher and school quality, PISA, decomposition methods, middle-income countries. JEL classification: J24, I21, I25
    Date: 2014–03
  4. By: Michael Fritsch (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena); Ronney Aamoucke (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)
    Abstract: We investigate the role played by different fields of academic knowledge and various types of higher education institutions in the emergence of innovative start-ups in a region. We show that education and research in the applied and natural sciences have the strongest effect on the emergence of new businesses in innovative industries. Distinguishing between different indicators for these types of knowledge, the strongest effects are found for the number of professors, followed by the number of students and the amount of external funds attracted. This discovery clearly indicates that it is more the size of the regional knowledge stock than the number of students that is most important for the emergence of innovative stat-ups.
    Keywords: New business formation, innovative start-ups, universities, regional knowledge
    JEL: L26 L60 L80 O18 R12 R30
    Date: 2014–04–15
  5. By: Paula Armstrong (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the state of teacher pay in the South African labour market by comparing the remuneration received by teachers with that received by their non-teaching counterparts. It makes use of wage data from the Labour Force Surveys spanning 2000 to 2007, and 2010. This enables us to investigate the impact of the Occupation Specific Dispensation introduced in 2008 on the age-wage profile of the teaching profession. Remuneration is compared across educational attainment levels, years of experience and across age groups. A Lemieux Decomposition is used to determine what the distribution of teacher wages would look like if teachers were remunerated according to the same structure as non-teachers. It is found that the teaching profession is relatively unattractive to individuals at the top end of the skills distribution in the South African labour market, the result of which may be lower quality candidates entering the teaching profession.
    Keywords: education; wage differentials by occupation, wage level and structure
    JEL: I2 J31
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Rita van Deuren (Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht, the Netherlands (
    Abstract: The Ethiopian higher education system has realized enormous growth in the recent years and its future ambitions require additional capacity development in quality and in quantity. In planning and monitoring capacity development, organizational assessment plays a major role. This paper outlines the results of the first steps in the design of on organizational capacity assessment tool for Ethiopian new public universities and as such describes dimensions and indicators of university organizational capacity.
    Keywords: organizational capacity assessment, higher education, developing countries, Ethiopia, design-oriented research
    Date: 2014–04
  7. By: Gabin Langevin; David Masclet; Fabien Moizeau; Emmanuel Peterle
    Abstract: We use data from the Trajectoires et Origines survey to analyze the labor-market outcomes of both second-generation immigrants and their French native counterparts. Second-generation immigrants have on average a lower probability of employment and lower wages than French natives. We find however considerable differences between second-generation immigrants depending on their origin: while those originating from Northern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Turkey are less likely to be employed and receive lower wages than French natives, second-generation immigrants with Asian or Southern- and Eastern-European origins do not differ significantly from their French native counterparts. The employment gap between French natives and second generation immigrants is mainly explained by differences in their education; education is also an important determinant of the ethnic wage gap. Finally we show that these differences in educational attainment are mainly explained by family background. Although the role of discrimination cannot be denied, our findings do point out the importance of family background in explaining lifelong ethnic inequalities.
    Keywords: labor-market discrimination, second-generation immigrants, educational attainment, family background, decomposition methods,
    JEL: I2 J15 J24 J41
    Date: 2013–09–01
  8. By: Benjamin W. Cowan
    Abstract: I develop a model in which individual time discount rates have a larger eect on hu- man capital accumulation when credit constraints are binding. Impatient individuals obtain less schooling when borrowing constraints limit the ability to nance consump- tion during school. Using data from the NLSY79, I show that self-reported measures of time preferences have a signicantly higher eect on the college attendance decisions of blacks than those of whites and the decisions of low-income youths than those of high- income youths. These results provide new evidence that members of disadvantaged groups obtain lower levels of schooling because they are credit constrained.
    JEL: I22 I23
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Sandra Nieto (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: The literature on educational mismatches finds that overeducated workers suffer a wage penalty compared with properly educated workers with the same level of education. Recent literature also suggests that individuals’ skill heterogeneity could explain wage differences between overeducated and properly matched workers. The hypothesis is that overeducated workers earn less due to their lower competences and skills in relative terms. However, that hypothesis has been rarely tested due to data limitations on individuals’ skills. The aim of this paper is to test the individuals’ skill heterogeneity theory in Spain using microdata from PIAAC, because it is one of the developed countries supporting the highest overeducation rates and where its adult population holds the lowest level of skills among a set of developed countries. Our hypothesis is that the wage penalty of overeducation in Spain is explained by the lower skill level of overeducated workers. The obtained evidence confirms this hypothesis but only to a certain extent as skills only explain partially the wage penalty of overeducation.
    Keywords: overeducation, individual’s skill heterogeneity, wages JEL classification: J31, I21, C13
    Date: 2014–03
  10. By: Caamal Olvera, Cinthya G.
    Abstract: This paper examines the pattern of the labor market appraisal of workers’ schooling, focusing on the Northern regions of the country. The manufacturing industry is studied in particular since a large part of the economic activity is located in the North, relative to the rest of the country’s regions. The change in the manufacturing industry has been affected by international shocks, trade agreement regulations and the entrance of stronger competitors with a supply of low-skill workers, such as Asian countries. Quantile estimation results show that the labor market valued less the additional years of education acquired by workers over the period from 1988 to 2011. Results show that workers at the lowest part of the distribution are the ones who seem to be most affected in terms of education investment by the decline of manufacturing activity in the Northern region.
    Keywords: manufacturing, returns to education, quantile regression, Northern regions
    JEL: I29
    Date: 2013–08
  11. By: Annamaria Conti; Christopher C. Liu
    Abstract: Considerable attention has been focused, in recent years, on the role that graduate and postdoc students play in the production of academic knowledge. Using data from the MIT Department of Biology for the period 1970-2000, we analyze the evolution over time of four fundamental aspects of their productivity: i) training duration; ii) time to a first publication; iii) productivity over the training period; and iv) collaboration with other scientists. We identified four main trends that are common to graduate students and postdocs. First, training periods have increased for later cohorts of graduate and postdoc students. Second, later cohorts tend to publish their initial first-author article later than the earlier cohorts. Third, they produce fewer first-author publications. Finally, collaborations with other scientists, as measured by the number of coauthors on a paper, have increased. This increase is driven by collaborations with scientists external to a trainee’s laboratory. We interpret these results in light of the following two paradigms: the increased burden of knowledge that later generations of scientists face and the limited availability of permanent academic positions.
    JEL: D2 H41 I2 I20 I28
    Date: 2014–04
  12. By: Aldo Musacchio; Andre Martinez; Martina Viarengo
    Abstract: We explain how the decentralization of fiscal responsibility among Brazilian states between 1889 and 1930 promoted a unequal expansion in public schooling. We document how the variation in state export tax revenues, product of commodity booms, explains increases in expenditures on education, literacy, and schools per children. Yet we also find that such improvements did not take place in states that either had more slaves before abolition or cultivated cotton during colonial times. Beyond path-dependence, ours story emphasizes the interaction between colonial institutions and subsequent fiscal changes to explain radical changes in the ranking of states which persists until today.
    JEL: H40 N46
    Date: 2014–04
  13. By: Marcella Corsi; Giulia Zacchia
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to offer a contribution to the analysis of the under-representation of women economists in academic positions in Italy, focusing on publications. In Italy women’s proportion of PhDs in Economics and Statistics has increased from 39 to 52 per cent in the last decade. Despite this progressive feminization of doctoral degrees in economics, the share of women working as academic staff in departments of Economics at Italian universities is still low: women constitute 28.1% of academic economists in Italy; in particular, women account for 16% of full professors and 27% of associate professors (data for 2010). The much-debated reform of the Italian university system (so called ‘Gelmini’ reform) is stressing the importance of ‘merit evaluation’ for academics and consequently it is supporting the use of bibliometric indicators for the purposes of selection. In this context, we aim to assess whether the systematic differences between Italian men and women in terms of academic career in economics, can be explained by their productivity in the last ten years. In order to do so, we first study, from a gender perspective, how the profile of economists who have become full professors in the last decade has changed in terms of individual characteristics and scientific productivity. Then, we study gender differences in the scientific output of academic economists since 2001, in order to find out about differences between men and women and completethe picture of the gender gap in career for economists in the Italian University.
    JEL: J16 J70 D72
    Date: 2014–04–14
  14. By: Epifanio, Mariaelisa (University of Warwick); Troeger, Vera E (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Motherhood and professional achievements appear as conflicting goals even for academic women. This project explores this tension by focusing on a set of provisions on parental and maternity leaves across 165 higher education institutions in the UK. Generous maternity provisions generate countervailing incentives for female academics. On the one hand, advantageous policies can foster women’s productivity in terms of research outcomes allowing them to take time out of work without income and career break concerns. On the other hand, women can exploit generous provisions without generating returnable results for the academic institution. We argue that adverse selection problems lead universities to differentiate among academic staff by offering two different types of maternity provisions (more vs less generous maternity leaves) in order to “test” women’s commitment and research ability before offering permanent contracts. Our results support this this line of argumentation. We also find that generous maternity leaves and childcare provisions positively affect the number of women at research and professorship levels.
    Keywords: Maternity benefits
    Date: 2013

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