nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2015‒01‒03
twenty papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. All or Nothing? The Impact of School and Classroom Gender Composition on Effort and Academic Achievement By Soohyung Lee; Lesley J. Turner; Seokjin Woo; Kyunghee Kim
  2. What TALIS Reveals About Teachers Across Education Levels By OECD
  3. Hope and commitment. Lessons from a randomize control trial in a shanty town. By Marianne Bernatzky; Alejandro Cid
  4. Assessing Teacher Quality in India By Azam, Mehtabul; Kingdon, Geeta
  5. Student Awareness of Costs and Benefits of Educational Decisions: Effects of an Information Campaign and Media Exposure By Martin McGuigan; Sandra McNally; Gill Wyness
  6. Education attainment in the Middle East and North Africa : success at a cost By Iqbal, Farrukh; Kiendrebeogo, Youssouf
  7. Curriculum and Ideology By Cantoni, Davide; Chen, Yuyu; Yang, David Y.; Yuchtman, Noam; Zhang, Y. Jane
  8. Evaluating the Weights and Factors Used in the New Zealand School Decile Funding System By Jeremy Clark; Susmita Roy Das
  9. Does Employer Learning Vary by Schooling Attainment? The Answer Depends on How Career Start Dates Are Defined By Light, Audrey; McGee, Andrew
  10. Managerial Practices and Students' Performance By Di Liberto, Adriana; Schivardi, Fabiano; Sulis, Giovanni
  11. The Earnings Returns to Graduating with Honors: Evidence from Law Graduates By Ronny Freier; Mathias Schumann; Thomas Siedler
  12. The Need for a Shift in Higher Education: the Case of Malakand Division By Ullah, Abd; Bibi, Uzma
  13. Human capital development, knowledge spillovers and local growth: Is there a quality effect of university efficiency? By Zotti, Roberto; Barra, Cristian
  14. The Long Reach of Education: Early Retirement By Steven Venti; David A. Wise
  15. Starting Behind and Staying Behind in South Africa: The case of insurmountable learning deficits in mathematics By Nicholas Spaull; Janeli Kotze
  16. Student politics: A Game-theoretic exploration By Soumyanetra Munshi
  17. What differentiates future entrepreneurship? Developing entrepreneurial competencies in higher education By Sara Bonesso; Fabrizio Gerli; Claudio Pizzi; Laura Cortellazzo
  18. What Kind of Teachers Are Schools Looking For? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment By Hinrichs, Peter
  19. Skill formation, public expenditure on education and wage inequality: theory and evidence By Biswas, Anindya; Chaudhuri, Sarbajit
  20. Gross Inequality and Inequality of Opportunities in Basic Education: Were they affected by Latin America’s Economic Boom? By Natalia Krüger; Luis Fernando Gamboa; Fábio Waltenberg

  1. By: Soohyung Lee; Lesley J. Turner; Seokjin Woo; Kyunghee Kim
    Abstract: We estimate the causal impact of school and classroom gender composition on achievement. We take advantage of the random assignment of Korean middle school students to single-sex schools, co-educational (coed) schools with single-sex classes, and coed schools with mixed-gender classes. Male students attending single-sex classes within coed schools score 0.10 of a standard deviation below male students in mixed-gender classes, and this achievement gap is entirely accounted for by classroom gender composition. Conversely, male students attending single-sex schools outperform their counterparts in mixed-gender classes by 0.15 of a standard deviation. The significant impact of single-sex schools on male students' achievement are not driven by classroom gender composition, but largely accounted for by increases in student effort and study-time. We find little evidence that classroom or school gender composition affect the outcomes of female students.
    JEL: I20 I21 J24
    Date: 2014–12
  2. By: OECD
    Abstract: <ul> <li> The report <i>New insights from TALIS 2013: Teaching and learning in primary and upper secondary education</i> (OECD, 2014a) presents an overview of teachers and teaching in primary and upper secondary education for a sample of countries that participated in the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) in 2013.</li> <li> Women represent the majority of the teaching workforce for most countries at all levels of education. Despite this and the fact that most principals are former teachers, significantly fewer principals are women at all education levels. </li> <li> Primary teachers tend to work in schools where principals report material and personnel shortages that hinder the delivery of quality education more often than upper secondary teachers. Moreover, schools with high proportion of socio-economically disadvantaged students face greater shortages in terms of key resources in many countries. This further exacerbates the already-challenging circumstances for teachers and students. </li></ul>
    Date: 2014–12
  3. By: Marianne Bernatzky; Alejandro Cid
    Abstract: This paper documents the impact of an after-school program called Apoyo Escolar, sited in the most vulnerable neighborhood of a developing country. The outcomes of interest are academic achievement, behavior in the classroom and grade repetition. We designed a field experiment exploiting the existence of oversubscription to the program. We found a novel result that should guide policy design for vulnerable children: increasing time spent in safe, supervised settings does not guarantee academic success. The after-school program is effective in improving academic performance when children have committed parents. This finding is crucial for policy because it is not be enough to merely take children off of the streets, parents’ commitment is needed. Interestingly, results show that students’ performance at school is highly correlated with parents’ educational expectations. This correlation fosters future research that may be designed specifically to explore the causal impact of expectations on educational attainment among disadvantaged children.
    Keywords: After-school program; Poverty; Education; Impact evaluation; Family
    Date: 2014
  4. By: Azam, Mehtabul (Oklahoma State University); Kingdon, Geeta (Institute of Education, University of London)
    Abstract: Using administrative data from linked private schools from one of districts in India that matches 8,319 pupils to their subject specific teachers at the senior secondary level, we estimate the importance of individual teachers on student outcomes in the high-stake senior secondary exam (at the end of twelfth-grade). We control for prior achievement at the secondary level (at the end of tenth-grade) to estimate the value added of a teacher over a two year course, and define a good teacher as one who consistently gets higher achievement for students. In addition to the prior achievement, we exploit the fact that students took exams in multiple subjects during their senior secondary exam to control for pupil fixed effects. We find a considerable variability in teacher effectiveness over a two year course – a one standard deviation improvement in teacher quality adds 0.38 standard deviation points in students score. Furthermore, consistent with studies in the US, we find that although teacher quality matters, the observed characteristics explain little of the variability in teacher quality.
    Keywords: teacher value-added, teacher quality, student achievement, India
    JEL: I21 O15
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Martin McGuigan (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics & Queen's Management School, Belfast); Sandra McNally (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics & University of Surrey); Gill Wyness (Department of Quantitative Social Science, UCL Institute of Education and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics)
    Abstract: University fees have recently trebled in England, prompting fears that young people may be put off from participating in higher education. We investigate students' knowledge and their receptiveness to information campaigns about the costs and benefits of staying on in education. We compare the effects of a specially designed information campaign to the effects of media exposure about the increase in tuition fees. The latter has a stronger effect on relevant outcomes. However, we find that an inexpensive information campaign can be effective in improving information and reducing perceived financial barriers to university participation, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
    Keywords: tuition fees; information campaign; educational decisions
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2014–12–04
  6. By: Iqbal, Farrukh; Kiendrebeogo, Youssouf
    Abstract: This paper reviews the experience of the Middle East and North Africa region in education attainment over the past four decades (1970-2010). It documents the following main findings: (a) all countries in the region experienced significant improvements in educational attainment over this period; (b) most countries in the region did better in this regard than comparators that had roughly the same education stocks in 1970; (c) collectively, the region achieved a greater percentage increase in education than other regions; (d) the region's better performance was in part because of higher rates of public spending on education, better food sufficiency status, and a lower initial stock of education in 1970 in comparison with most other developing country regions; and (e) the region had among the lowest payoffs to public spending in terms of increments in education stock; the impressive advance in education was achieved at high cost.
    Keywords: Access&Equity in Basic Education,Education For All,Primary Education,Teaching and Learning,Disability
    Date: 2014–12–01
  7. By: Cantoni, Davide; Chen, Yuyu; Yang, David Y.; Yuchtman, Noam; Zhang, Y. Jane
    Abstract: We study the causal effect of school curricula on students' stated beliefs and attitudes. We exploit a major textbook reform in China that was rolled out between 2004 and 2010 with the explicit intention of shaping youths' ideology. To measure its effect, we present evidence from a novel survey we conducted among 2000 students at Peking University. The sharp, staggered introduction of the new curriculum across provinces allows us to identify the effects of the new educational content in a generalized difference in differences framework. We examine government documents articulating desired consequences of the reform, and identify changes in textbook content and college entrance exams that reflect the government's aims. These changes were often effective: study under the new curriculum is robustly associated with changed views on political participation and democracy in China, increased trust in government officials, and a more skeptical view of free markets.
    Keywords: beliefs; China; ideology; indoctrination; schooling curricula
    JEL: I21 I28 P36
    Date: 2014–06
  8. By: Jeremy Clark (University of Canterbury); Susmita Roy Das (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: In New Zealand, the primary means of addressing the disparities that exist in educational outcomes by students’ socio-economic status is the “decile” funding system. The country’s Ministry of Education uses census data on five socio-economic deprivation factors of the households containing school-aged children in the meshblocks of the children attending each public or public-integrated school. In this paper, we look for evidence whether the decile funding system is using the best weights possible on the five socio-economic characteristics used in the funding formula, and whether other neighbourhood factors should also be included. Using school fixed effects regressions, we test whether the effectiveness of Ministry of Education funding per student in raising school leaver qualification achievement rates is affected more by some deprivation factors than others. We also explore whether additional factors such as health, crime, languages spoken, marital status, immigration status, and others have additional explanatory power on qualification achievement rates. We find that under the current practice of equally weighting the five factors, “low skill occupation” raises the effectiveness of government spending on achievement, while “receiving a benefit” reduces it. This suggests that raising the relative weight on “low skill occupation” and lowering the weight on “receiving a benefit” would increase the effectiveness of decile-adjusted school funding on raising achievement rates.
    Keywords: education funding, socio-economic disadvantage, decile funding
    JEL: H52 I22 I24 I28
    Date: 2014–12–19
  9. By: Light, Audrey (Ohio State University); McGee, Andrew (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: We demonstrate that empirical evidence of employer learning is sensitive to how one defines the career start date and, in turn, measures cumulative work experience. Arcidiacono, Bayer, and Hizmo (2010) find evidence of employer learning for high school graduates but not for college graduates, and conclude that high levels of schooling reveal true productivity. We show that their choice of start date – based on first-observed school exit and often triggered by school vacations – systematically overstates experience and biases learning estimates towards zero for college-educated workers. Using career start dates tied to a more systematic definition of school exit, we find that employer learning is equally evident for high school and college graduates.
    Keywords: employer learning, schooling, measurement
    JEL: I21 J24 J31
    Date: 2014–11
  10. By: Di Liberto, Adriana; Schivardi, Fabiano; Sulis, Giovanni
    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: cognitive skills; management; productivity; school principals
    JEL: I2 L2 M1 O32
    Date: 2014–09
  11. By: Ronny Freier; Mathias Schumann; Thomas Siedler
    Abstract: This paper studies the causal effects of graduating from university with an honors degree on subsequent earnings. While a rich body of literature has focused on estimating returns to human capital, few studies have analyzed returns at the very top of the education distribution. We highlight the importance of honors degrees for future labor market success in the context of German law graduates. Using a difference-in-differences research design combined with entropy balancing, we find that students of law who passed the state bar exam with an honors degree receive a significant earnings premium of about 14 percent. The results are robust to various sensitivity analyses.
    Keywords: returns to education, difference-in-differences, entropy balancing, law graduates, earnings
    JEL: J01 J31 J44
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Ullah, Abd; Bibi, Uzma
    Abstract: The prime aim of this study was to find out sufficiency of higher education institutes at Malakand division along with the quality of education in the universities. This study also examined the sufficiency of government spending on higher education at Malakand division. The study was based on questionnaires and is developed in such a way that it captures the desired objectives of the study. The data was collected from 150 respondents from university of Malakand. The data is analyzed by using frequency distribution. The analyses show that the current higher institutes in this area are not sufficient for this area. Most of the respondent disagrees to the sufficiency of present higher education institutes (Mean = 2.33). Further the respondents also were disagree with the level of spending on higher education institute in this area (Mean =2.02). While analyzing the quality of education this study found that up to certain level the level of education provided is good. However the respondents were disagree to level of resources in terms of infrastructure, laboratory, research, library and technology. This study has certain recommendations.
    Keywords: Malakand Division; Quality of Higher Education; University of Malakand.
    JEL: Z00
    Date: 2014
  13. By: Zotti, Roberto; Barra, Cristian
    Abstract: In this paper, we test whether economic growth depends on human capital development using data disaggregated at territorial level and propose the use of efficiency estimates, measured using a non-parametric technique, as an alternative quality measure of higher education institutions (HEIs). The nature of knowledge spillovers is also taken into account to examine the existence of geographically localized spillovers, from the presence of efficient universities, on local growth. Results show that the efficiency of universities has a positive and significant effect on GDP per worker. Moreover, we find evidence that productivity gains are larger in areas in which the most efficient universities are located, suggesting that investment in tertiary education may affect geographical distribution of economic activity as well as its level.
    Keywords: Human capital; Higher education; Knowledge spillovers; Local economic development; Non-parametric technique.
    JEL: C14 C67 I21 I23
    Date: 2014–10
  14. By: Steven Venti; David A. Wise
    Abstract: The goal of this paper is to draw attention to the long lasting effect of education on economic outcomes. We use the relationship between education and two routes to early retirement – the receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and the early claiming of Social Security retirement benefits – to illustrate the long-lasting influence of education. We find that for both men and women with less than a high school degree the median DI participation rate is 6.6 times the participation rate for those with a college degree or more. Similarly, men and women with less than a high school education are over 25 percentage points more likely to claim Social Security benefits early than those with a college degree or more. We focus on four critical “pathways” through which education may indirectly influence early retirement – health, employment, earnings, and the accumulation of assets. We find that for women health is the dominant pathway through which education influences DI participation. For men, the health, earnings, and wealth pathways are of roughly equal magnitude. For both men and women the principal channel through which education influences early Social Security claiming decisions is the earnings pathway. We also consider the direct effect of education that does not operate through these pathways. The direct effect of education is much greater for early claiming of Social Security benefits than for DI participation, accounting for 72 percent of the effect of education for men and 67 percent for women. For women the direct effect of education on DI participation is not statistically significant, suggesting that the total effect may be through the four pathways.
    JEL: H52 I21 J26
    Date: 2014–12
  15. By: Nicholas Spaull (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Janeli Kotze (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: This study quantifies a year’s worth of mathematics learning in South Africa (0.3 standard deviations) and uses this measure to develop empirically-calibrated learning trajectories. Two main findings are, (1) only the top 16% of South African Grade 3 children are performing at an appropriate Grade 3 level. (2) The learning gap between the poorest 60% of students and the wealthiest 20% of students is approximately three Grade-levels in Grade 3, growing to four Grade-levels by Grade 9. The paper concludes by arguing that the later in life we attempt to repair early learning deficits in mathematics, the costlier the remediation becomes.
    Keywords: Mathematics, Learning Trajectories, South Africa, Hierarchical Learning, SACMEQ, TIMSS
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2014
  16. By: Soumyanetra Munshi (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: Students in institutes of higher education often engage in campus-politics. Typically there are student-parties who electorally compete with each other to gain control of the union which is usually the apex student body dealing directly with the higher authorities on student-related and other academic issues. Often however, campus politics act as fertile breeding grounds for future politicians of the country. As a result there is often direct intervention by larger political parties into student affairs. In fact, the student parties on campus are essentially student wings of larger national parties, which command huge amounts of resources that are used during elections, often instigating conflict and violence on-campus. This paper game-theoretically models the interplay of such `extra-electoral' investments and electoral outcomes in an otherwise standard probabilistic voting model. We find that the political party who is likely to be more popular is also more likely to expend greater resources towards `extra-electoral' elements, in turn spawning greater violence on-campus, even when such investments are disliked by student-voters. We also look at some plausible extensions of the benchmark model where this basic conclusion still holds true. The essential flavor and predictions of the model are borne out by several historical and contemporary instances of student politics in some countries like India, Burma, and Latin America.
    Keywords: Student politics, Partisanships and conflict, Electoral competition in colleges, National parties and student politics
    JEL: D72 D74 I23 J52
    Date: 2014–11
  17. By: Sara Bonesso (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice); Fabrizio Gerli (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice); Claudio Pizzi (Dept. of Economics, Università Ca' Foscari Venice); Laura Cortellazzo (Dept. of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venice)
    Abstract: .
    Keywords: entrepreneurial intention; higher education; emotional, social and cognitive competencies; competency development
    JEL: M13 I23 L26
    Date: 2014–12
  18. By: Hinrichs, Peter (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
    Abstract: Teacher quality is a pressing public policy concern, yet there is little evidence on what types of teachers schools actually prefer to hire. This paper reports the results of an experiment that involved sending schools fictitious resumes with randomly-chosen characteristics in an attempt to determine what characteristics schools value when hiring new teachers. The results of the study suggest that an applicant’s academic background has little impact on the likelihood of success at private and charter schools, although public schools respond more favorably to candidates from more selective colleges. Additionally, private schools demonstrate a slight preference for female candidates, and all three sectors demonstrate a preference for in-state candidates.
    Keywords: resume audit studies; teacher labor markets
    JEL: I21 J45
    Date: 2014–12–10
  19. By: Biswas, Anindya; Chaudhuri, Sarbajit
    Abstract: As per the conventional wisdom there should be provision for public assistance for skills acquirement for improving relative wage inequality in the future. Empirical observations on some prominent small OECD countries, however, indicate that the relationship between wage inequality and public spending on education is not necessarily unambiguous. A theoretical underpinning of this empirical observation has been provided in this study in terms of a 2×3 general equilibrium model for a small open economy. Later, the correctness of the theoretical framework and its result have been empirically examined with the help of an unbalanced panel dataset of 13 small developed countries from 2000-2011. This empirical analysis supports the main theoretical result that the relationship between wage inequality and public expenditure could indeed be ambiguous. This finding questions the desirability of providing subsidy on education at least from the perspective of reduction in earnings inequality among the different sections of the working population.
    Keywords: Skill formation, Wage Inequality, Education Subsidy, General Equilibrium, Small OECD country, Panel Data.
    JEL: D58 I24 I28 J31
    Date: 2014–11–25
  20. By: Natalia Krüger; Luis Fernando Gamboa; Fábio Waltenberg
    Abstract: In the context of economic growth and recovering socio-economic conditions, many Latin American countries have implemented deep educational reforms since the beginning of the century. This paper aims to analyse whether these changes have promoted equality of educational opportunities in the region. Both the access and knowledge and skills dimensions are evaluated for six important countries, deepening the analysis for Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, in order to better understand the trends observed. Results point to reasonable progress in access, but reflect an unsatisfactory evolution of the level and distribution of knowledge and skills –as reflected by PISA test scores–.
    Keywords: education, equality of opportunities, Latin America, PISA
    JEL: I24 O54 C78
    Date: 2014–11–20

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