nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒11‒28
nineteen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Does Diploma Type Matter for Subsequent Academic Achievement? A UAE Case Study By Kherfi, Samer; Naufal, George S
  2. Which Schools and Pupils Respond to Educational Achievement Surveys? A Focus on the English PISA Sample By Schnepf, Sylke V.; Durrant, Gabriele B.; Micklewright, John
  3. Private Education Market, Information on Test Scores and Tuition Practices By Firpo, Sergio; Ponczek, Vladimir; Possebom, Vítor Augusto
  4. The Long Run Human Capital and Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations By Victor Lavy; Avraham Ebenstein; Sefi Roth
  5. Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students? By David Card; Laura Giuliano
  6. Education capability: a focus on gender and science. By Addabbo, Tindara; Di Tommaso, Maria Laura; Maccagnan, Anna
  7. Selective Schooling Systems Increase Inequality By Burgess, Simon; Dickson, Matt; Macmillan, Lindsey
  8. College Choice Allocation Mechanisms: Structural Estimates and Counterfactuals By Carvalho, José-Raimundo; Magnac, Thierry; Xiong, Qizhou
  9. "Making It Count": Evidence from a Field Study on Assessment Rules, Study Incentives and Student Performance By Chevalier, Arnaud; Dolton, Peter; Lührmann, Melanie
  10. Equal Access to Education: An Evaluation of the Roma Teaching Assistant Programme in Serbia By Marianna BATTAGLIA; Lara LEBEDINSKI
  11. The Evolution of Charter School Quality By Patrick L. Baude; Marcus Casey; Eric A. Hanushek; Steven G. Rivkin
  12. University Choice: The Role of Expected Earnings, Non-pecuniary Outcomes and Financial Constraints By Delavande, Adeline; Zafar, Basit
  13. Evidence and Persistence of Education Inequality in an Early-Tracking System: The German Case By Krause, Annabelle; Schüller, Simone
  14. Dropout in upper secondary education in Mexico : patterns, consequences and possible causes By Bentaouet Kattan, Raja; Szekely, Miguel
  15. Returns to University Quality in Australia: A Two-Stage Analysis By Carroll, David; Heaton, Christopher; Tani, Massimiliano
  16. The Danish National Tests – A Practical Guide By Louise Voldby Beuchert; Anne Brink Nandrup
  17. The Changing Benefits of Early Work Experience By Baum, Charles L.; Ruhm, Christopher J.
  18. Inputs in the Production of Early Childhood Human Capital: Evidence from Head Start By Christopher Walters
  19. The role of education in equity portfolios during the recent financial crisis By Udichibarna Bose; Ronald MacDonald; Serafeim Tsoukas

  1. By: Kherfi, Samer (American University of Sharjah); Naufal, George S (Timberlake Consultants)
    Abstract: We examine how selected high school characteristics – including type of diploma – contribute to students' academic success in an American-type university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We find no robust evidence that US, UK, and UAE systems of high school diploma produce different outcomes, once we control for English proficiency. Irrespective of the type of diploma, high school grade is a strong positive predictor of future performance. We identify significant female, nationality, and family income effects. There is evidence that school ownership (private versus public) does not matter, and that graduates of coeducational schools perform better.
    Keywords: students' university performance, high school characteristics, diploma, UAE
    JEL: A20 I20
    Date: 2014–09
  2. By: Schnepf, Sylke V. (European Commission); Durrant, Gabriele B. (University of Southampton); Micklewright, John (Institute of Education, University of London)
    Abstract: Using logistic and multilevel logistic modelling we examine non-response at the school and pupil level to the important educational achievement survey Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for England. The analysis exploits unusually rich auxiliary information on all schools and pupils sampled for PISA whether responding or not, including data from two large-scale administrative sources on pupils' results in national public exams, which correlate highly with the PISA target variable. Results show that characteristics associated with non-response differ between the school and pupil levels. The findings have important implications for the survey design of education data.
    Keywords: Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), survey design, data linkage, non-response, educational achievement survey
    JEL: I21 C83
    Date: 2014–08
  3. By: Firpo, Sergio (Sao Paulo School of Economics); Ponczek, Vladimir (Sao Paulo School of Economics); Possebom, Vítor Augusto (Sao Paulo School of Economics)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the impact of disclosing information about school quality of private schools in Brazil on school choice. Particularly, we investigate whether test score disclosure affected private schools' tuition prices. In 2006, Brazil started to announce the schools' average test score of ENEM, a high school exit exam run by the federal government. Using longitudinal school data, we gauge the effect of test score disclosure on tuitions of private schools for three different schools levels (elementary, middle and high school). We find that the disclosure of schools' average test scores affects tuitions positively for all these three educational levels, but the effect is larger for high school tuitions. We also find that private education markets are local instead of national, since local ranks better predict tuition prices than national ranks. Finally, adjustments on prices did not follow immediately after the publication of scores but occurred gradually over time, revealing that the parents needed some time to trustfully associate results on the exam to new information on school quality.
    Keywords: educational markets, information provision, private schools, tuition practices, school quality
    JEL: O12 I21 L15 D82
    Date: 2014–09
  4. By: Victor Lavy; Avraham Ebenstein; Sefi Roth
    Abstract: Cognitive performance during high-stakes exams can be affected by random disturbances that, even if transitory, may have permanent consequences for long-term schooling attainment and labor market outcomes. We evaluate this hypothesis among Israeli high school students who took a series of high stakes matriculation exams between 2000 and 2002. As a source of random (transitory) shocks to high- stakes matriculation test scores, we use exposure to ambient air pollution during the day of the exam. First, we document a significant and negative relationship between average PM2.5 exposure during exams and student composite scores, post-secondary educational attainment, and earnings during adulthood. Second, using PM2.5 as an instrument, we estimate a large economic return to each point on the exam and each additional year of post-secondary education. Third, we examine the return to exam scores and schooling across sub-populations, and find the largest effects among boys, better students, and children from higher socio-economic backgrounds. The results suggest that random disturbances during high-stakes examinations can have long-term consequences for schooling and labor market outcomes, while also highlighting the drawbacks of using high-stakes examinations in university admissions.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2014–10
  5. By: David Card; Laura Giuliano
    Abstract: Education policy makers have struggled for decades with the question of how to best serve high ability K‐12 students. As in the debate over selective college admissions, a key issue is targeting. Should gifted and talented programs be allocated on the basis of cognitive ability, or a broader combination of ability and achievement? Should there be a single admission threshold, or a lower bar for disadvantaged students? We use data from a large urban school district to study the impacts of assignment to separate gifted classrooms on three distinct groups of fourth grade students: non-disadvantaged students with IQ scores ≥130; subsidized lunch participants and English language learners with IQ scores ≥116; and students who miss the IQ thresholds but scored highest among their school/grade cohort in state-wide achievement tests in the previous year. Regression discontinuity estimates based on the IQ thresholds for the first two groups show no effects on reading or math achievement at the end of fourth grade. In contrast, estimates based on test score ranks for the third group show significant gains in reading and math, concentrated among lower-income and black and Hispanic students. The math gains persist to fifth grade and are also reflected in fifth grade science scores. Our findings suggest that a separate classroom environment is more effective for students selected on past achievement - particularly disadvantaged students who are often excluded from gifted and talented programs.
    JEL: I21 I24
    Date: 2014–09
  6. By: Addabbo, Tindara; Di Tommaso, Maria Laura; Maccagnan, Anna (University of Turin)
    Abstract: The focus of the paper is on the measurement of science education capability with a gender perspective. Measuring science education capability implies going beyond the measurement of children test scores. In the capability approach, we aim at the real opportunities that children can develop later in life and therefore it is important to include some measures of non-cognitive skills. We utilize, therefore, different indicators in addition to test scores in science: enjoyment in science, interest in science, general and personal values of science, self - confidence in performing science related tasks, awareness and perception of environmental issues, and responsibility for sustainable development. We utilize the 2006 PISA survey for Italian 15 year old children because it contains a particular focus on science and we estimate a Structural Equation Model to take into account that capabilities are latent constructs of which we only observe some indicators. We also investigate the determinants of children’s science education capability in Italy taking into account household, individual and school factors. Results confirm that boys outperform girls in science education capability. Our theoretical construct for the science education capability confirms that all the indicators are relevant to measure this capability. School activities to promote sciences improve girls’ capability and interactive methods of teaching improve both girls and boys capability. The household educational resources and the household educational possession are also positively correlated with girls’ and boys’ science education capability.
    Date: 2014–10
  7. By: Burgess, Simon (University of Bristol); Dickson, Matt (University of Bath); Macmillan, Lindsey (Institute of Education, University of London)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact on earnings inequality of a selective education system in which school assignment is based on initial test scores. We use a large, representative household panel survey to compare adult earnings inequality of those growing up under a selective education system with those educated under a comprehensive system. Controlling for a range of background characteristics and the current location, the wage distribution for individuals who grew up in selective schooling areas is quantitatively more unequal, and the difference is statistically significant. The total effect sizes are large: 14% of the raw 90-10 earnings gap and 18% of the conditional 90-10 earnings gap can be explained by differences across schooling systems.
    Keywords: selective schooling, inequality, wages, quantile regression
    JEL: I24 J31
    Date: 2014–09
  8. By: Carvalho, José-Raimundo (Universidade Federal do Ceará); Magnac, Thierry (University of Toulouse I); Xiong, Qizhou (Toulouse School of Economics)
    Abstract: We evaluate a simple allocation mechanism of students to majors at college entry that was commonly used in universities in Brazil in the 1990s and 2000s. Students first chose a single major and then took exams that select them in or out of the chosen major. The literature analyzing student placement, points out that this decentralized mechanism is not stable and is not strategy-proof. This means that some pairs of major & students can be made better off and that students tend to disguise their preferences using such a mechanism. We build up a model of performance and school choices in which expectations are carefully specified and we estimate it using cross-section data reporting choices between two medical schools and grade performances at the entry exams. Given those estimates, we evaluate changes in selection and students' expected utilities when other mechanisms are implemented. Results highlight the importance of strategic motives and redistributive effects of changes of the allocation mechanisms.
    Keywords: education, two-sided matching, school allocation mechanism, policy evaluation
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2014–10
  9. By: Chevalier, Arnaud (IZA); Dolton, Peter (University of Sussex); Lührmann, Melanie (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Abstract: This paper examines a quasi-experiment in which we encourage student effort by setting various weekly incentives to engage in online tests. Our identification strategy exploits i) weekly variation in incentives to determine their impact on student effort, and ii) controlled cross-group variation in assessment weighting. Assessment weighting strongly encourages quiz participation, without displacing effort over the year. We estimate the return to a quiz at around 0.15 of a standard deviation in exam grade. Effort in our study increases most for students at and below median ability, resulting in a reduction of the grade gap by 8%.
    Keywords: incentive, feedback, effort, higher education
    JEL: I23 D20
    Date: 2014–10
  10. By: Marianna BATTAGLIA (UNIVERSITY OF ALICANTE, Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico); Lara LEBEDINSKI (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of a remedial education programme –the Roma Teaching Assistant Programme – targeting the socially excluded and marginalized Roma ethnic minority in Serbia. By using first-hand collected data, we find evidence that children exposed to the programme went more to school. We do not find an effect on dropouts or marks for all grades. An examination of heterogenous effects suggest that children in the first grade benefitted more from the programme as compared to their older peers through lower dropouts and better grades. Overall, our results suggest that well-targeted remedial education programmes can be successful in boosting outcomes of low performers.
    Keywords: primary education, remedial education, Roma, ethnic minority, absences, dropouts
    JEL: I21 J15 D04
    Date: 2014–07–07
  11. By: Patrick L. Baude; Marcus Casey; Eric A. Hanushek; Steven G. Rivkin
    Abstract: Studies of the charter school sector typically focus on head-to-head comparisons of charter and traditional schools at a point in time, but the expansion of parental choice and relaxation of constraints on school operations is unlikely to raise school quality overnight. Rather, the success of the reform depends in large part on whether parental choices induce improvements in the charter sector. We study quality changes among Texas charter schools between 2001 and 2011. Our results suggest that the charter sector was initially characterized by schools whose quality was highly variable and, on average, less effective than traditional public schools. However, exits from the sector, improvement of existing charter schools, and positive selection of charter management organizations that open additional schools raised average charter school effectiveness over time relative to traditional public schools. Moreover, the evidence is consistent with the belief that a reduction in student turnover as the sector matures, expansion of the share of charters that adhere to a No Excuses philosophy, and increasingly positive student selection at the times of both entry and reenrollment all contribute to the improvement of the charter sector.
    JEL: I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2014–10
  12. By: Delavande, Adeline; Zafar, Basit
    Abstract: We investigate the determinants of students’ university choice, with a focus on expected monetary returns, non-pecuniary factors enjoyed at school, and financial constraints, in the Pakistani context. To mitigate the identification problem concerning the separation of preferences, expectations and markets constraints, we combine rich data on individual-specific subjective expectations about labor market and non-pecuniary outcomes, with direct measures of financial constraints and students’ stated school choice both with and without financial constraints. Estimates from a life-cycle model show that future earnings play a small (but statistically significant) role. However, non-pecuniary outcomes, such as school’s ideology, are major determinants. Data on students’ choices without financial constraints allow for the outof- sample validation of the model, which shows a strikingly good fit. Our results show that 37% of students are financially constrained in the university choice, and that implementing policies relaxing financial constraints would increase students’ average lifetime subjective expected utility by 21%. From a methodological point, we find that ignoring non-pecuniary factors, uncertainty related to employment and drop-out, or direct measures of financial constraints, yields biased estimates – thereby underscoring the importance of having data on these aspects for understanding university choice in any context.
    Date: 2014–10–30
  13. By: Krause, Annabelle (IZA); Schüller, Simone (IRVAPP)
    Abstract: This article reviews empirical evidence on the early tracking system in Germany and the educational inequalities associated with it. Overall, the literature confirms the existence of considerable social, ethnic, gender- and age-related inequalities in secondary school track placement. Studies on tracking timing and track allocation mechanisms reveal that postponement of the selection decision and binding teacher recommendations may reduce certain (mainly social) inequalities. Furthermore, recent evidence concerning long-term consequences of tracking on labor market outcomes suggests that sizeable built-in flexibilities in the German system succeed in compensating for initial (age-related) education inequalities. The paper concludes with an outline and discussion of the most promising pathways for future research in order to help design inequality-reducing policy recommendations.
    Keywords: educational inequality, tracking, school system, Germany
    JEL: I24 I28 J24
    Date: 2014–10
  14. By: Bentaouet Kattan, Raja; Szekely, Miguel
    Abstract: This study examines the causes and effects of low enrollment and high dropout rates at the upper secondary level in Mexico, where upper secondary completion rates are well below those of other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries and the regional average. Through a disaggregated analysis of coverage, absorption, and dropout data in secondary education at the state level, the study categorizes states according to the stage in the educational cycle at which dropout primarily occurs. The study further examines the academic, social, and economic consequences of dropout through an analysis of employment and youth survey data. The analysis of factors associated with dropout uses self-reported factors as well as estimated probit models that use household data from national surveys and the national standardized test. The central conclusion reached is that in addition to the patterns of dropout found, multiple elements intersect with the patterns to form a complex panorama. Key findings include: i) personal, family, and household economic factors and the prevalence of social risks have a closer association with dropout earlier in the education cycle; ii) the association between dropout and the quality of education has greater intensity in states where dropout occurs primarily during upper secondary education and in those with the lowest upper secondary dropout rates; and iii) as the returns to education grow, dropout is lower; in the case of returns to higher education, the association with dropout is stronger for states that have the highest dropout during upper secondary education. This complexity merits differentiated responses, which are explored through a brief look at relevant international approaches.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Education For All,Primary Education,Tertiary Education,Access&Equity in Basic Education
    Date: 2014–11–01
  15. By: Carroll, David (UNSW Canberra); Heaton, Christopher (Macquarie University, Sydney); Tani, Massimiliano (IZA)
    Abstract: This study investigates the relationship between university quality and graduate starting salaries using pooled Australian data from the Graduate Destination survey and a two-stage estimation methodology. The results suggest that average starting salaries for young undergraduates differ significantly across universities after controlling for relevant confounding factors, though the range of university effects is fairly small in relation to other salary determinants, particularly course area. The results are robust to alternative specifications and suggest that employers generally do not place salary premia on attending a high-quality or prestigious university, at least upon workforce entry.
    Keywords: human capital, returns to education, university choice
    JEL: A22 I23 J24
    Date: 2014–09
  16. By: Louise Voldby Beuchert (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark); Anne Brink Nandrup (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)
    Abstract: In 2010, the Danish National Tests were implemented in the public compulsory schools as a mean of evaluating the performance of the public school system. The extensive test program consists of ten mandatory tests in six subjects in grades 2 through 8. In this paper, we share our insights from working with the first four rounds of the test data. We provide a brief introduction to adaptive testing, the available data and general data issues including missing data, test participation and data transformations. Additionally, we construct a standardized measure of the raw pupil ability estimate within each test and argue that this is often a more feasible measure for data analyses compared to the transformed test score presented to pupils and teachers. We provide the reader with preliminary analyses of the relation between pupils’ national test results and a wide range of pupil background characteristics as well as pupils’ 9th grade examination marks. We document a stable test score gap across grade levels and socio economic background and discuss the prospects of the national test data for future research.
    Keywords: Test scores, Adaptive testing, Pupil ability, Test score gap
    JEL: I20 I21 I24
    Date: 2014–11–17
  17. By: Baum, Charles L. (Middle Tennessee State University); Ruhm, Christopher J. (University of Virginia)
    Abstract: We examine whether the benefits of high school work experience have changed over the last 20 years by comparing effects for the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Our main specifications suggest that the future wage benefits of working 20 hours per week in the senior year of high school have fallen from 8.3 percent for the earlier cohort, measured in 1987-1989, to 4.4 percent for the later one, in 2008-2010. Moreover, the gains of work are largely restricted to women and have diminished over time for them. We are able to explain about five-eighths of the differential between cohorts, with most of this being attributed to the way that high school employment is related to subsequent adult work experience and occupational attainment.
    Keywords: youth employment, work experience, wages
    JEL: J13 J24 J31
    Date: 2014–08
  18. By: Christopher Walters
    Abstract: Studies of small-scale "model" early-childhood programs show that high-quality preschool can have transformative effects on human capital and economic outcomes. Evidence on the Head Start program is more mixed. Inputs and practices vary widely across Head Start centers, however, and little is known about variation in effectiveness within Head Start. This paper uses data from a multi-site randomized evaluation to quantify and explain variation in effectiveness across Head Start childcare centers. I answer two questions: (1) How much do short-run effects vary across Head Start centers? and (2) To what extent do inputs, practices, and child characteristics explain this variation? To answer the first question, I use a selection model with random coefficients to quantify heterogeneity in Head Start effects, accounting for non-compliance with experimental assignments. Estimates of the model show that the cross-center standard deviation of cognitive effects is 0.18 test score standard deviations, which is larger than typical estimates of variation in teacher or school effectiveness. Next, I assess the role of observed inputs, practices and child characteristics in generating this variation, focusing on inputs commonly cited as central to the success of model programs. My results show that Head Start centers offering full-day service boost cognitive skills more than other centers, while Head Start centers offering frequent home visiting are especially effective at raising non-cognitive skills. Head Start is also more effective for children with less-educated mothers. Centers that draw more children from center-based preschool have smaller effects, suggesting that cross-center differences in effects may be partially due to differences in counterfactual preschool options. Other key inputs, including the High/Scope curriculum, teacher education, and class size, are not associated with increased effectiveness in Head Start. Together, observed inputs explain about one-third of the variation in Head Start effectiveness across experimental sites.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2014–10
  19. By: Udichibarna Bose; Ronald MacDonald; Serafeim Tsoukas
    Abstract: Using a panel of 38 economies, over the period 2001 to 2010, we analyse the link between diversification in equity portfolios and different facets of education. We find that traditionally used measures of education play an important role in reducing equity home bias. After separating countries according to their level of financial development, we find that less developed economies tend to benefit more from an improvement in the level of education compared to their more developed counterparts. We also find that the beneficial effect of education is more pronounced during the most recent financial crisis, especially for economies with less developed financial markets.
    Keywords: Home bias;Equity markets;International diversification; Education;Financial crisis
    JEL: F30 G11 G23 E20
    Date: 2014–10

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