nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2014‒12‒13
nineteen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. College Admission and High School Integration By Fernanda Estevan; Thomas Gall; Patrick Legros; Andrew F. Newman
  2. Length of Stay in the Host Country and Educational Achievement of Immigrant Students: The Italian Case By Di Liberto, Adriana
  3. Does social action fund promote schooling in conflict affected countries? Mixed evidence from Angola By Eric W. Djimeu
  4. Teacher quality and student achievement: Evidence from a Dutch sample of twins By Sander Gerritsen; Erik Plug; Dinand Webbink
  5. Counting Rotten Apples: Student Achievement and Score Manipulation in Italian Elementary Schools By Battistin, Erich; De Nadai, Michele; Vuri, Daniela
  6. Counting Rotten Apples: Student Achievement and Score Manipulation in Italian Elementary Schools By Erich Battistin; Michele De Nadai; Daniela Vuri
  7. Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time By Restuccia, Diego; Vandenbroucke, Guillaume
  8. When do textbooks matter for achievement? Evidence from African primary schools By Maria Kuecken; Marie-Anne Valfort
  9. The Sources of the Gender Gap in Economics Enrolment By Tonin, Mirco; Wahba, Jackline
  10. Do Loans for Higher Education Lead to Better Salaries? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach for Colombia By Fabio Sánchez; Tatiana Velasco
  11. How is Equity in Resource Allocation Related to Student Performance? By OECD
  12. Managerial Practices and Students' Performance By Di Liberto, Adriana; Schivardi, Fabiano; Sulis, Giovanni
  13. What Works Best to Motivate Students in a General Education Introductory Economics Course By Mahmud, Sakib
  14. The Impact of No Child Left Behind's Accountability Sanctions on School Performance: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from North Carolina By Thomas Ahn; Jacob Vigdor
  15. Narrow versus broad vocational education: labour market position and curriculum characteristics of specialised versus less specialised vocational education programmes in the Netherlands By Coenen J.B.; Heijke J.A.M.; Meng C.M.
  16. Education and growth with learning by doing By Marconi G.; Grip A. de
  17. Public School Open Enrollment and Housing Capitalization By Gupta, Anubhab; Aradhyula, Satheesh
  18. Learning the Hard Way: The Effect of Violent Conflict on Student Academic Achievement By Brück, Tilman; Di Maio, Michele; Miaari, Sami H.
  19. Early Maternal Time Investment and Early Child Outcomes By Del Bono, Emilia; Francesconi, Marco; Kelly, Yvonne; Sacker, Amanda

  1. By: Fernanda Estevan; Thomas Gall; Patrick Legros; Andrew F. Newman
    Abstract: This paper examines possible effects of college admission policy on general equilibrium outcomes at the high school stage. Specifically, we investigate whether a policy that bases college admission on relative performance at high school could modify in the aggregate the degree of segregation in schools, by inducing some students to relocate to schools that offer weaker competition. In a matching model, such high school arbitrage will occur in equilibrium and typically result in desegregating high schools, if schools are segregated with regards to socio-economic characteristics that are correlated with academic performance and race. This is supported by empirical evidence on the effects of the Texas Top Ten Percent Law, indicating that a policy designed to support diversity at the college level in fact achieved high school desegregation, unintentionally generating incentives for some students to choose schools strategically.
    Keywords: matching; affirmative action; education; college admission; high school desegregation; Texas Top Ten Percent
    JEL: C78 I23 D45 J78
    Date: 2014–11–06
  2. By: Di Liberto, Adriana (University of Cagliari)
    Abstract: Using Italian data on language standardized tests for three different levels of schooling we investigate if the observed gap in educational attainments in 1st generation immigrants tends to lower the longer they stay in Italy, and if younger children tend to catch up faster than their older schoolmates. The analysis shows that the significant gap in language skills observed between 1st and 2nd generation immigrant students is mainly due to both the negative performance of immigrant children newly arrived in Italy, and the immigrant students' area of origin. Comparing the results across the different grades, we also find that this gap narrows at a different pace in the early or later years of an immigrant student's life. Overall, our results suggest the presence of a 'critical' age above which 1st generation immigrant students face a negative impact on their school performance, and that institutional and cultural factors play a role on immigrant language skills acquisition.
    Keywords: immigrant students, educational attainment, age at immigration
    JEL: J15 I21
    Date: 2014–10
  3. By: Eric W. Djimeu (The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation)
    Abstract: Although recent evidence shows detrimental effects of armed conflict on educational attainment, coupled with the fact that 50% of children out of school live in conflict affected countries, there is a lack of studies rigorously assessing the effectiveness of different social and economic development interventions aiming to mitigate the impact of armed conflict on education outcomes. In order to fill this knowledge gap, this study assesses the impact of education investments financed by the Angola Social Action Fund from 1994 to 2001 on years of schooling. I use the Angola 2001 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey to evaluate this impact. Using difference in differences estimation and a fixed effects model, I find that for individuals currently enrolled in schools and living in non-migrant households, an additional year of exposure to Angola Social Fund leads to an increase of years of schooling by 0.175 years. I find that Angola Social Action Fund has no impact on years of schooling for individuals currently out of school and for individuals living in migrant households. I find no heterogeneous effects of ASAF by variables considered. Interventions such as social funds can be used to mitigate the impact of civil war on education for individuals already enrolled in schools and living in non-migrant households. However, for individuals out of schools, there is great need to design innovative interventions specifically addressed to their circumstances and to test them rigorously in order to find interventions that can effectively mitigate the impacts of civil war on education.
    Keywords: Armed conflict, Social Action Funds, Education, Difference- in-differences, Angola
    JEL: O1 I2 O2
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: Sander Gerritsen; Erik Plug; Dinand Webbink
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal link that runs from classroom quality to student achievement using data on twin pairs who entered the same school but were allocated to different classrooms in an exogenous way. In particular, we apply twin fixed-effects estimation to assess the effect of teacher quality on student test scores from second through eighth grade, arguing that a change in teacher quality is probably the most important classroom intervention within a twin context. In a series of estimations using measurable teacher characteristics, we find that: (a) the test performance of all students improve with teacher experience; (b) teacher experience also matters for student performance after the initial years in the profession; (c) the teacher experience effect is most prominent in earlier grades; (d) the teacher experience effects are robust to the inclusion of other classroom quality measures, such as peer group composition and class size; and (e) an increase in teacher experience also matters for career stages with less labor-market mobility which suggests positive returns to on the job training of teachers.
    JEL: I2 J4
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Battistin, Erich (Queen Mary, University of London); De Nadai, Michele (University of Padova); Vuri, Daniela (University of Rome Tor Vergata)
    Abstract: We derive bounds for the average of math and language scores of elementary school students in Italy correcting for pervasive score manipulation. Information on the fraction of manipulated data is retrieved from a natural experiment that randomly assigns external monitors to schools. We show how bounds can be tightened imposing restrictions on the measurement properties of the manipulation indicator developed by the government agency charged with test administration and data collection. We additionally assume that manipulation is more likely in those classes at the lower end of the distribution of true scores. Our results show that regional rankings by academic performance are reversed once manipulation is properly taken into account.
    Keywords: corrupt sampling, measurement error, nonparametric bounds, partial identification
    JEL: C14 C31 C81 I21 J24
    Date: 2014–08
  6. By: Erich Battistin (Queen Mary University of London and FBK-IRVAPP); Michele De Nadai (University of Padova); Daniela Vuri (University of Rome "Tor Vergata")
    Abstract: We derive bounds for the average of math and language scores of elementary school students in Italy correcting for pervasive score manipulation. Information on the fraction of manipulated data is retrieved from a natural experiment that randomly assigns external monitors to schools. We show how bounds can be tightened imposing restrictions on the measurement properties of the manipulation indicator developed by the government agency charged with test administration and data collection. We additionally assume that manipulation is more likely in those classes at the lower end of the distribution of true scores. Our results show that regional rankings by academic performance are reversed once manipulation is properly taken into account.
    Keywords: Corrupt sampling, Measurement error, Nonparametric bounds, Partial identification
    JEL: C14 C31 C81 I21 J24
    Date: 2014–11
  7. By: Restuccia, Diego (University of Toronto); Vandenbroucke, Guillaume (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)
    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: E24 J22 J24 O1 O4
    Date: 2014–11–01
  8. By: Maria Kuecken (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne); Marie-Anne Valfort (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Using a within-student analysis, we find no average impact of textbook access (ownership or sharing) on primary school achievement. Instead, it is only for students with high socioeconomic status that one form of textbook access - sharing - has a positive impact.
    Keywords: Textbooks; Educational quality; Sub-Saharan Africa; SACMEQ
    Date: 2013–06–01
  9. By: Tonin, Mirco (University of Southampton); Wahba, Jackline (University of Southampton)
    Abstract: In many countries there is a considerable gender gap in enrolment for a bachelor's degree in Economics, arguably an important stepping stone towards positions of influence in policy making and occupations paying relatively high wages. We investigate the sources of this gap by looking in detail at the university admission process in the UK. We use a 50 percent random sample of administrative data covering all university applications in 2008 and find no evidence of universities discriminating against female applicants. What we find is that girls are less likely to apply for a bachelor's degree in Economics to start with, even if once they apply their likelihood of enroling is the same as for boys. Girls are less likely to study Maths in high school and this may deter them from applying to study Economics at the university level. However, even among those who have studied Maths, females are less likely to apply than males, suggesting that differences in the choice of A level subjects cannot explain the whole gap.
    Keywords: economics, gender, discrimination, education, pay gap
    JEL: I21 I23 I28 J24
    Date: 2014–08
  10. By: Fabio Sánchez; Tatiana Velasco
    Abstract: Since 2002 the ACCES credit for higher education has financed more than 280,000 students. Prior evaluations have shown evidence as to its positive effect on the academic performance and the reduction in the dropout rates of the recipients. Nevertheless, no evidence exists so far on the effect these credit programs have had on the labor market indicators of their beneficiaries. In this study we attempt to estimate such effect. In particular, the question we seek to answer is if, once working as graduates, do the beneficiaries of ACCES loans have higher salaries and if this is the case, why does this happen and through which channels does it occur. Using administrative data for more than 300 thousand applicants of this credit in Colombia and using a regression discontinuity design, we found that the recipients of the ACCES educational credit have starting salaries as graduates which are higher in comparison with those graduates not receiving this credit. We also undertake a mediation methodology within an Intent-to-Treat Regression Discontinuity framework that allows for a precise identification and quantification of the mediation channels. We concluded that once graduated, the ACCES beneficiaries’ exhibit longer job search periods, which would substantially explain their greater starting salaries of their first formal jobs. Academic performance during college also account for the differences in starting salaries yet to lesser degree.
    Keywords: higher education, educational credit, regression discontinuity, job market
    Date: 2014–10–16
  11. By: OECD
    Abstract: <ul> <li> How educational resources are allocated is just as important as the amount of resources available. </li> <li> High-performing countries and economies tend to allocate resources more equitably across socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged schools. </li> <li> Among the countries with better-resourced schools, as reported by principals, equity in resource allocation is not related to the overall quality of resources. </li></ul>
    Date: 2014–10
  12. By: Di Liberto, Adriana (University of Cagliari); Schivardi, Fabiano (Bocconi University); Sulis, Giovanni (University of Cagliari)
    Abstract: We study the effects of managerial practices in schools on students' outcomes. We measure managerial practices using the World Management Survey, a methodology that enables us to construct robust measures of management quality comparable across countries. We find substantial heterogeneity in managerial practices across six industrialized countries, with more centralized systems (Italy and Germany) lagging behind the more autonomous ones (Canada, Sweden, the UK, the US). For Italy, we are able to match organizational practices at the school level with students' outcomes in a math standardized test. We find that managerial practices are positively related to students' outcomes. The estimates imply that if Italy had the same managerial practices as the UK (the best performer), it would close the gap in the math OECD-PISA test with respect to the OECD average. We argue that our results are robust to selection issues and show that they are confirmed by a set of IV estimates and by a large number of robustness checks. Overall, our results suggest that policies directed at improving students' cognitive achievements should take into account principals' selection and training in terms of managerial capabilities.
    Keywords: management, productivity, school principals, cognitive skills
    JEL: L2 I2 M1 O32
    Date: 2014–09
  13. By: Mahmud, Sakib
    Abstract: Considering the research gaps on student motivation of treating economics as an interesting subject matter, the learning goal of my research is to find what works best to engender positive learning experience for students dealing with serious motivational issues. My research design is based on the convergent parallel mixed methods using the quantitative pre-and-post anonymous online questionnaire surveys and the qualitative short reflection notes. Preliminary results show that there are convergences between the two sources of information regarding the student motivational factors. By the end of the semester, divergences between the two sources of information become more prominent. Regarding preferred student-learning techniques, active learning based on in-class discussion and exercises, group project, and pair-wise homework assignments are considered to be most effective in motivating students. Quizzes or exams became the most effective motivational factor at the end of the semester. This could be associated with students concern about their expected final grade, which is evident from student self-reported short reflection note.
    Keywords: Student Motivation, Economics Teaching and Learning, Mixed Methods Research, Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses
    JEL: A22 I21
    Date: 2014–11
  14. By: Thomas Ahn; Jacob Vigdor
    Abstract: Comparisons of schools that barely meet or miss criteria for adequate yearly progress (AYP) reveal that some sanctions built into the No Child Left Behind accountability regime exert positive impacts on students. Estimates indicate that the strongest positive effects associate with the ultimate sanction: leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring. We find suggestive incentive effects in schools first entering the NCLB sanction regime, but no significant effects of intermediate sanctions. Further analysis shows that gains in sanctioned schools are concentrated among low-performing students, with the exception of gains from restructuring which are pervasive. We find no evidence that schools achieve gains among low-performing students by depriving high-performing students of resources.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2014–09
  15. By: Coenen J.B.; Heijke J.A.M.; Meng C.M. (ROA)
    Abstract: This paper compares narrow, or specialised, and broad, or less specialised, upper-secondary vocational education VE programmes in the Netherlands with respect to their graduates position in the labour market and how they assess a number of aspects of the programme they completed. The data used are from three years of the Dutch VE Monitor, a survey of secondary education graduates 18 months after graduation. The Level 4 programmes of the school-based learning route are investigated. To separate narrow from broad programmes, a new criterion is used, based on the idea that the match between education and a job within a narrow programmes own occupational domain is better than outside that domain and that for a broad programme such a match does not differ significantly between programmes own domain and outside that domain. The research shows that graduates from narrow, or specialised, education programmes have a less favourable labour market position than graduates from broad, or less specialised, programmes. They are more often forced to resort to jobs outside their programmes own domain and are less satisfied with their jobs. Further, it has been found that graduates from narrow programmes think that the programme should have concentrated less on subject-specific knowledge and its practical application. They feel a need for competencies that are more generally applicable. They further find that their programme was too easy more often than broadly educated graduates, which could indicate that narrow programmes have room to concentrate more on teaching competencies that would make graduates employable outside the programmes own domain.
    Keywords: Analysis of Education; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity;
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2014
  16. By: Marconi G.; Grip A. de (GSBE)
    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 work
    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
  17. By: Gupta, Anubhab; Aradhyula, Satheesh
    Abstract: Economic literature on real estate markets, especially that on house prices, shows that houses cost more in better school districts. This paper evaluates the effect of open-enrollment (OE) in public school districts on house prices. We demonstrate a way for removing unobserved heterogeneity for the fixed effects by using a difference in sales model. In addition to estimating the mean effects using a difference model, we also estimate the effects of OE on median and quartile house prices. Many studies have used hedonic models for explaining house prices. Typically, these models use house and neighborhood characteristics, and school and school district characteristics for explaining house prices. Others have relied on cross-sectional identification of relationship between house prices and variables that can be used as a proxy for perceived school quality in different school districts. The most important feature of these studies has been to disentangle the effects of schools on house prices from other implicit characteristics. Bogart and Cromwell (2000) compared the sale prices of houses on either side of a school-district boundary to attribute the differences in prices to better schools. Since the variation in house prices might also be due to some other unobserved neighborhood quality, the results might be biased. Black (1999) used boundary dummies to control for unobserved neighborhood characteristics and found that there is a premium for schools with better test scores, attendance rates and other unobserved school quality characteristics. Some other studies have also used school level data to attribute the premium in single family home prices using distance to school as an explanatory variable and in some cases assigning each house a school level data. Under OE, children are not restricted to attend public schools in their own school district. Instead, OE allows students from anywhere to attend schools in a district that adopts OE. With the introduction and popularity of OE in many states in the U.S., an immediate question concerns the price premium for houses in better school districts. Because enrollment in schools is no longer restricted to homeowners in that particular district, one might expect the premium for better schools to depreciate over time. This effect could be magnified with the advent of charter schools, magnet schools and the expansion of private schools. The literature on the impact of OE varies widely, and has focused on issues like impact on parental decision making, difference in education deliverance, equity in forms of economic outcomes and other ethnic outcomes, mobilization of homebuyers (Goldhaber, 1999), goals of integration and OE (Smith, 1995), supply of and demand for educational choice (Funkhouser and Colopy, 1994), early effects of OE on significant changes in district open enrollments (Rubenstein, 1992). Reback's (2005) work is the first attempt to evaluate the effect of OE on house prices. He found that residential properties appreciated significantly in those districts from where students were able to transfer and declined in those which accepted transfer students. He controlled for the unobserved heterogeneity for the fixed effects by considering the effect on percentage change between the assessed price and actual sale prices in two different years of the percentage changes in explanatory variables. This paper evaluates the effect of school characteristics on house values capitalization via the impact of OE at the district level. Using district dummies for school characteristics, this paper assesses the impact of OE on single family home prices. As is standard in the hedonics literature, we have used the log-linear models for estimation. We explore several model specifications and the results are quite robust to the different specifications. The dataset used is from 6 school districts in and around Tucson Metropolitan area in Pima County, Arizona for 2001-2012, and draws on data from the Pima County Assessor's Office, Pima County GIS, Arizona Department of Education Research and Evaluation, along with proprietary OE numbers from the Catalina Foothills School District (CFSD) which is considered the best school district in the study region. It contains information on all single-family houses sold in this time period, their characteristics, school district dummies, boundary dummies and other variables characterizing the economy. For the houses in the boundary outside of CFSD, we consider separately the effects on the two school districts which share their boundary with CFSD. The dataset also contains houses that were sold more than once, and we use these houses for the difference model which controls for the fixed effects in differences. We control for unobserved heterogeneity by using a difference model. Specifically, we only consider houses that are sold more than once in the time period and use differences of log of sales prices as the dependent variable. Regressors include differences in OE numbers and differences in other time-varying explanatory variables. The differencing washes out time invariant house characteristics and the unobserved heterogeneity by controlling for the differences in fixed effects. The intuition behind the results is that it identifies the mean effect of differences in OE numbers on differences in sale prices by controlling for other observed and unobserved house characteristics. We also identify the houses on boundaries of the school districts and use boundary dummies to capture the effect of OE on the houses which share the boundary but are otherwise identical. In this paper we also explored the effects on median-priced houses by quantile regression as we expect the housing market to be segregated by price. Preliminary results show that OE significantly increases house prices for school districts bordering the CFSD but this effect is not same for the two different neighboring districts. However, the house prices within the CFSD boundary are not significantly affected by OE, on an average. This is mostly attributed to the capacity constraint on OE numbers in school districts. All these analyses also show that houses along the boundaries are significantly different from those that are closer to the center of a district. This validates that OE does not have similar effects on all houses in a school district. This paper also presents the marginal effects of OE for different specifications. Evidence of the impact of school characteristics on real estate markets, anecdotal and empirical, is critical for reassessment with the expansion of OE in public school districts. It also remains to be seen whether parents are still willing to pay a premium for better school districts with the advent of OE. This will have non-trivial policy implications for public school decision makers, realtors and individuals. While this paper does not attempt to identify other school characteristics which people are willing to pay for, it does evaluate the impact of OE in house values. The difference approach used in this paper controls for unobserved heterogeneity. It also looks in detail at how the houses on the school district boundary differ from the ones that are away from the boundary. Finally, this paper considers different segments of the housing market and emphasizes on the median effects. The overall results obtained are robust to the model specifications explored, lending strength to our findings.
    Keywords: House prices, Open Enrollment, District Boundary, Hedonic Regressions, Demand and Price Analysis, Research Methods/ Statistical Methods, C21, I20, R21,
    Date: 2014
  18. By: Brück, Tilman (SIPRI); Di Maio, Michele (University of Naples Parthenope); Miaari, Sami H. (Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the probability to pass the final high-school exam for Palestinian students in the West Bank during the Second Intifada (2000-2006). By exploiting within-school variation in the number of conflict-related Palestinian fatalities during the academic year, we show that the conflict reduces the probability to pass the final exam and to be admitted to the university. We also provide evidence of the heterogeneous effects of the conflict in terms of ability of the student and type of violent event the student is exposed to. Finally, we discuss possible transmission mechanisms explaining our main result.
    Keywords: academic achievement, high-school, Second Intifada, violent conflict, fatalities, West Bank, Palestine, Israel
    JEL: I20 O15 F51
    Date: 2014–10
  19. By: Del Bono, Emilia (ISER, University of Essex); Francesconi, Marco (University of Essex); Kelly, Yvonne (University College London); Sacker, Amanda (University College London)
    Abstract: Using large longitudinal survey data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, this paper estimates the effect of maternal time inputs on early child development. We find that maternal time is a quantitatively important determinant of skill formation and that its effect declines with child age. There is evidence of a long shadow of the effect of early maternal time inputs on later outcomes, especially in the case of cognitive skill development. In the case of non-cognitive development, this effect disappears when we account for skill persistence.
    Keywords: education production functions, early interventions, cognitive and non-cognitive skill formation
    JEL: J24 J15 I20
    Date: 2014–10

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