nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒12‒08
nineteen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Broken Gears: The Value Added of Higher Education on Teachers' Academic Achievement By Balcázar, Carlos Felipe; Nopo, Hugo
  2. Student Scores in Public and Private Schools: Evidence from PISA 2009 By Mahuteau, Stéphane; Mavromaras, Kostas G.
  3. Size and economies of scale in higher education and the implications for mergers By Tirivayi J.N.; Maasen van den Brink H.; Groot W.N.J.
  4. Do Countries with High Mean Performance in PISA Maintain their Lead as Students Age? By OECD
  5. Educational Attainment in the OECD, 1960-2010 By Angel de la Fuente; Rafael Doménech
  6. Tracking, Inequality and Education Policy. Looking for a Recipe for the Italian Case By Davide Azzolini; Loris Vergolini
  7. Affirmative Action and Stereotypes in Higher Education Admissions By Prasad Krishnamurthy; Aaron Edlin
  8. Behavioral Economics of Education By Koch, Alexander K.; Nafziger, Julia; Nielsen, Helena Skyt
  9. Grades and Rank: Impacts of Non-Financial Incentives on Test Performance By Jalava, Nina; Joensen, Juanna Schrøter; Pellas, Elin
  10. College Attrition and the Dynamics of Information Revelation By Tyler Ransom; Esteban Aucejo; Arnaud Maurel; Peter Arcidiacono
  11. Does Public Education Expansion Lead to Trickle-Down Growth? By Böhm, Sebastian; Grossmann, Volker; Steger, Thomas M.
  12. Education and growth with learning by doing By Marconi G.; Grip A. de
  13. Household Finance over the Life-Cycle: What does Education Contribute? By Russell Cooper; Guozhong Zhu
  14. Zero returns to compulsory schooling: Is it certification or skills that matters? By Sander Gerritsen
  15. The Impact of Family Composition on Educational Achievement By Stacey H. Chen; Yen-Chien Chen; Jin-Tan Liu
  16. Impact of Government Spending on Education and Health in Sri Lanka : A Provincial Level Analysis By K.S. Apsara Mendis; Masaru Ichihashi
  17. Longevity, Age-Structure, and Optimal Schooling By Noël Bonneuil; Raouf Boucekkine
  18. School Improvement Through Strong Leadership By OECD
  19. Is it all worth it? The experiences of new PhDs on the job market, 2007-2010 By Brooke Helppie McFall; Marta Murray-Close; Robert J. Willis; Uniko Chen

  1. By: Balcázar, Carlos Felipe (World Bank); Nopo, Hugo (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: A growing literature establishes that good teachers are essential for high quality educational systems. However, little is known about teachers' skills formation during their college years. In this paper we use a novel panel data set combining two standardized tests for Colombian students: one that is taken at the end of senior year in high school and the other when students are near graduation from college. Accounting for selection into majors we test for the extent to which education majors relatively improve or deteriorate their skills in comparison to students in other programs. We analyze three sets of skills: quantitative reasoning, native language (Spanish) and foreign language (English). After around 5 years of college, teachers' skills vis-à-vis those in other majors deteriorate in quantitative reasoning, although they deteriorate less for those in math-oriented programs. For native and foreign language we do not find evidence of robust changes in relative learning.
    Keywords: teacher performance, career choice, self-selection, relative learning mobility
    JEL: I2 I21 J24
    Date: 2014–09
  2. By: Mahuteau, Stéphane (NILS, Flinders University); Mavromaras, Kostas G. (NILS, Flinders University)
    Abstract: This paper examines critically the presumption that, other things equal, private schooling offers higher quality education than public schooling. We apply multilevel regression on the 2009 PISA to estimate the differential effect of public and private schooling on student scores in Australia. We control for observable and unobservable influences, at school and student levels. We find that public-private schooling quality estimated differences are not statistically significant, but Catholic schools perform better than both. Differences by sector in the level of resourcing, plays a minor role. Student socioeconomic status differences and resulting selection, drive the observed better private schooling scores outcomes.
    Keywords: PISA, government schools, school quality, multilevel modelling
    JEL: I24 I21 I28
    Date: 2014–09
  3. By: Tirivayi J.N.; Maasen van den Brink H.; Groot W.N.J. (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: This paper carries out a meta regression analysis to estimate the optimal size of higher education institutions HEI and identify its implications for strategies of mergers in higher education. This study finds an optimal institutional size of 24,954 students. We find potential opportunities for merging different HEIs relative to their mean sample size public universities by nearly 190 per cent, private universities by 131 per cent, small colleges by around 952 per cent, and non-US HEIs by about 118 per cent. However, if we compare with actual sizes of top ranked universities we find that in some parts of the world top ranked universities seem to be below optimal size, while in others they appear above optimal size. We urge caution in the interpretation of the findings due to the limited data. We recommend further research and that policymakers around the world refer to their own cost structures to determine the optimal size for efficiency.
    Keywords: Analysis of Education; Educational Finance; Higher Education and Research Institutions;
    JEL: I23 I21 I22
    Date: 2014
  4. By: OECD
    Abstract: <ul> <li> Countries where 15-year-old students perform at high standards internationally tend to be the same countries where these young adults tend to perform well at the age of 26 to 28. </li> <li> School systems need to ensure that their students perform at a high level by the time they complete compulsory schooling and that these skills are maintained and further developed thereafter.</li></ul>
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Angel de la Fuente; Rafael Doménech
    Abstract: This paper describes the construction of series of educational attainment of the adult population in a sample of 22 OECD countries covering the period 1960-2010. These series are a revised and extended version of the data set described in de la Fuente and Doménech (2002).
    Keywords: educational attainment, schooling
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2014–10
  6. By: Davide Azzolini (FBK-IRVAPP); Loris Vergolini (FBK-IRVAPP)
    Abstract: This contribution has two main goals. First, we review the most relevant empirical literature that has focused on the relationship between tracking and inequality in Italy. We address the issue of inequality in access to the different school branches paying particular attention to the role played by social background. Second, we consider policy solutions that might reduce the effects of social background on individuals' school choices in Italy. We examine empirical studies on two areas of intervention: (a) de-tracking reforms such as postponement of age at first tracking and reduction of curricula differences between tracks; (b) interventions aimed at reducing students' misallocation across schools through guidance initiatives and teacher recommendations.
    Keywords: Tracking, Inequality, Education policy, Italy
    JEL: I24 I28
    Date: 2014–11
  7. By: Prasad Krishnamurthy; Aaron Edlin
    Abstract: We analyze how admission policies affect stereotypes against students from disadvantaged groups. Many critics of affirmative action argue that lower admission standards cause such stereotypes and suggest group-blind admissions as a remedy. We show that when stereotypes result from social inequality, they can persist under group-blind admissions. In such cases, eliminating stereotypes perversely requires a higher admission standard for disadvantaged students. If a school seeks both to treat students equally and limit stereotypes, the optimal admission policy would still impose a higher standard on disadvantaged students. A third goal, such as equal representation, is required to justify group-blind admissions. Even when there is such a third goal, group-blind admissions are optimal only when the conflicting goals of equal representation and limiting stereotypes exactly balance. This is an implausible justification for group-blind admission because it implies that some schools desire higher standards for disadvantaged students. Schools that do not desire such higher standards will typically find some amount of affirmative action to be optimal.
    JEL: D0 D3 D63 D82 I23 I24 K00
    Date: 2014–10
  8. By: Koch, Alexander K. (Aarhus University); Nafziger, Julia (Aarhus University); Nielsen, Helena Skyt (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: During the last decade knowledge about human behavior from psychology and sociology has enhanced the field of economics of education. By now research recognizes cognitive skills (as measured by achievement tests) and soft skills (personality traits not adequately measured by achievement tests) as equally important drivers of later economic outcomes, and skills are seen as multi-dimensional rather than one-dimensional. Explicitly accounting for soft skills often implies departing from the standard economic model by integrating concepts studied in behavioral and experimental economics, such as self-control, willingness to compete, intrinsic motivation, and self-confidence. We review how approaches from behavioral economics help our understanding of the complexity of educational investments and outcomes, and we discuss what insights can be gained from such concepts in the context of education.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills, schooling, educational decision making, soft skills, behavioral economics
    JEL: D03 I20
    Date: 2014–09
  9. By: Jalava, Nina (Stockholm School of Economics); Joensen, Juanna Schrøter (Stockholm School of Economics); Pellas, Elin (Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: How does effort respond to being graded and ranked? This paper examines the effects of non-financial incentives on test performance. We conduct a randomized field experiment on more than a thousand sixth graders in Swedish primary schools. Extrinsic non-financial incentives play an important role in motivating highly skilled students to exert more effort. We find significant differences in test scores between the intrinsically motivated control group and three of four extrinsically motivated treatment groups. The only treatment not increasing test performance is criterion-based grading on an A-F scale, which is the typical grading method. Test performance is significantly higher if employing rank-based grading or giving students a symbolic reward. The motivational strengths of the non- financial incentives differ across the test score distribution, across the skill distribution, with peer familiarity, and with respect to gender. Boys are only motivated by rank-based incentives, while girls are also motivated by receiving a symbolic reward. Rank-based grading and symbolic rewards tend to crowd out intrinsic motivation for students with low skills, while girls also respond less to rank-based incentives if tested with less familiar peers.
    Keywords: test-taking, performance incentives, effort, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, randomized experiment
    JEL: I20 I21 D03 C93
    Date: 2014–08
  10. By: Tyler Ransom (Duke University); Esteban Aucejo (London School of Economics); Arnaud Maurel (Duke University); Peter Arcidiacono (Duke University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of college attrition in a setting where individuals have imperfect information about their schooling ability and labor market productivity. We estimate, a dynamic structural model of schooling and work decisions, where high school graduates choose a bundle of education and work combinations. We take into account the heterogeneity in schooling investments by distinguishing between two-, four-year colleges and graduate school, as well as science and non-science majors for four-year colleges. Individuals may also choose whether to work full-time, part-time, or not at all. A key feature of our approach is to account for correlated learning through college grades and wages, thus implying that individuals may leave or re-enter college as a result of the arrival of new information on their ability and productivity. We use our results to quantify the importance of informational frictions in explaining the observed school-to-work transitions and to examine sorting patterns.
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Böhm, Sebastian (University of Leipzig); Grossmann, Volker (University of Fribourg); Steger, Thomas M. (University of Leipzig)
    Abstract: The paper revisits the debate on trickle-down growth in view of the widely discussed evolution of the earnings and income distribution that followed a massive expansion of higher education. We propose a dynamic general equilibrium model to dynamically evaluate whether economic growth triggered by an increase in public education expenditure on behalf of those with high learning ability eventually trickles down to low-ability workers and serves them better than redistributive transfers. Our results suggest that, in the shorter run, low-skilled workers lose. They are better off from promoting equally sized redistributive transfers. In the longer run, however, low-skilled workers eventually benefit more from the education policy. Interestingly, although the expansion of education leads to sustained increases in the skill premium, income inequality follows an inverted U-shaped evolution.
    Keywords: directed technological change, publicly financed education, redistributive transfers, transitional dynamics, trickle-down growth
    JEL: H20 J31 O30
    Date: 2014–10
  12. By: Marconi G.; Grip A. de (ROA)
    Abstract: In this paper, we develop a general equilibrium overlapping generations model which is based on the view that education makes workers more productive by increasing their ability to learn from work experience, rather than providing skills that directly increase productivity. This assumption is discussed and compared with the dominant Mincerian view on the education-productivity relationship. One important implication of the model is that the enrolment rate to education has a negative effect on the GDP in the medium term and a positive effect in the long term. This could be an explanation for the weak empirical relationship between education and economic growth that has been found in the empirical macroeconomic literature. Conversely, for a given enrolment rate, the quality of education, as measured by workers ability to learn, has a positive effect on the GDP both in the medium and in the long term.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity; Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development; One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models;
    JEL: J24 O11 O41
    Date: 2014
  13. By: Russell Cooper; Guozhong Zhu
    Abstract: This paper studies household financial choices: why are these decisions dependent on the education level of the household? A life-cycle model is constructed to understand a rich set of facts about decisions of households with different levels of educational attainment regarding stock market participation, the stock share in wealth, the stock adjustment rate and the wealth-income ratio. Model parameters, including preferences, the cost of stock market participation and portfolio adjustment costs, are estimated to match the financial decisions of different education groups. Based on the estimated model, education affects household finance mainly through increased average income. The estimation also finds evidence that higher educational attainment is associated with a lower stock market entry cost and a larger discount factor. Education specific differences in income risks, medical expenses, mortality risks and the life-cycle pattern of income explain relatively little of the observed differences in household financial choices.
    JEL: E21 G11
    Date: 2014–11
  14. By: Sander Gerritsen
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of the raising of the minimum school leaving age (ROSLA) from 14 to 15 in the Netherlands in 1971. The policy goal was to increase the number of high school graduates. The analysis shows that the change led to a decrease in the high school dropout rate of approximately 20%. However, there were no benefits in terms of employment or higher wages. I investigate several explanations for this finding and present suggestive evidence in support of the skill-based explanation that no more labor-market relevant skills were learned during this extra year of school compared to those skills previously learned out of school.   
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2014–11
  15. By: Stacey H. Chen; Yen-Chien Chen; Jin-Tan Liu
    Abstract: Parents preferring sons tend to go on to have more children until one or more boys are born, and to concentrate investment in boys for a given sibsize. Therefore, having a brother may affect child outcomes in two ways: indirectly, by decreasing sibsize, and directly, where sibsize remains constant. We develop an identification strategy that allows us to separate these two effects. We then apply this to capture the heterogeneous effects of male siblings in both direct and indirect channels, using 0.8 million Taiwanese first-borns. Our empirical evidence indicates that neither effect is important in explaining first-born boys' education levels. In contrast, both effects for first-born girls are evident but go in opposite directions, resulting in a near-zero total effect which has previously been a measure of gender bias. These results offer new evidence of sibling rivalry and gender bias in family settings that has not been detected in the literature.
    JEL: I20 J13 J16 J24 O10 R20
    Date: 2014–08
  16. By: K.S. Apsara Mendis (Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University); Masaru Ichihashi (Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University)
    Abstract: This study examines the impact of government spending on educational and healthcare development outcomes at the provincial level in Sri Lanka with the objectives of (1) to investigate the impact of government expenditure on education in terms of the student failure rate at the provincial level; (2) to investigate the impact of government expenditure on health in terms of infant mortality rate at the provincial level; (3) investigate the performance of other provinces in terms of social outcomes compare with that of Western Province and recommends policy implications based on the results. Panel data analysis technique has been utilized for the data set of seven provinces2 of Sri Lanaka for the period of 1995 to 2011. The empirical results imply that government spending by provincial councils does have an effect on student failure rates and infant mortality rates. But with the presence of other regional factors the quality of government spending is questionable. These findings are confirmed by the previous research in this field such as Rajkumar and Swaroop (2008), Baldacci, et al. (2008). Moreover, the performance of provinces in education and health sectors are varied with reference to Western Province. To attain the goals of education and healthcare sectors, the sum of government spending is not always what matters, but the quality. Therefore the provincial councils should not depend entirely on increasing the allocation of budget to improve the outcomes. Implementing monitoring and evaluation systems would be advantageous in advancing the effectiveness and quality of provincial budget allocation.
    Keywords: Government spending, Human Capital, Education, Health, GDP, Sri Lanka
    JEL: I15 I22 O15
    Date: 2014–11
  17. By: Noël Bonneuil (Institut national d’études démographiques, EHESS); Raouf Boucekkine (Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS, senior member, Institut universitaire de France)
    Abstract: The mechanism stating that longer life implies larger investment in human capital, is premised on the view that individual decision-making governs the relationship between longevity and education. This relationship is revisited here from the perspective of optimal period school life expectancy, obtained from the utility maximization of the whole population characterized by its age structure and its age-specific fertility and mortality. Realistic life tables such as model life tables are mandatory, because the age distribution of mortality matters, notably at infant and juvenile ages. Optimal period school life expectancy varies with life expectancy and mortality. Applications to stable population models and then to French historical data from 1806 to nowadays show that the population age structure has indeed modified the relationship between longevity and optimal schooling.
    Keywords: longevity, schooling, school life expectancy, age structure
    Date: 2014–11
  18. By: OECD
    Abstract: <ul> <li> According to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), principals, on average, report frequently engaging in a number of activities that are consistent with instructional leadership. However, this is not the case in every country and large proportions of them report that their training did not include any instructional leadership training or course. </li> <li> Although continuous professional development could help fill those gaps, many school leaders report a number of obstacles preventing them from taking part in such learning, including a lack of support and opportunities, and personal and professional obstacles. </li></ul>
    Date: 2014–11
  19. By: Brooke Helppie McFall; Marta Murray-Close; Robert J. Willis; Uniko Chen
    Abstract: This paper describes the job market experiences of new PhD economists, 2007-10. Using information from PhD programs' job candidate websites and original surveys, the authors present information about job candidates' characteristics, preferences and expectations; how job candidates fared at each stage of the market; and predictors of outcomes at each stage. Some information presented in this paper updates findings of prior studies. However, design features of the data used in this paper may result in more generalizable findings. This paper is unique in comparing pre-market expectations and preferences with post-market outcomes on the new PhD job market. It shows that outcomes tend to align with pre-market preferences, and candidates' expectations are somewhat predictive of their outcomes. Several analyses also shed light on sub-group differences.
    JEL: J24 J4
    Date: 2014–11

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