nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2015‒01‒09
sixteen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. The Long-Run Effects of Attending an Elite School: Evidence from the UK By Clark, Damon; Del Bono, Emilia
  2. Impact of School Quality on Educational Attainment - Evidence from Finnish High Schools By Heikki Pursiainen; Mika Kortelainen; Jenni Pääkkönen
  3. Educational Attainment of Second-Generation Immigrants: A U.S.-Canada Comparison By Liu, Xingfei
  4. Public School Choice: An Economic Analysis By Levon Barseghyan; Damon Clark; Stephen Coate
  5. Advancing academic opportunities for disadvantaged youth: Third year impact evaluation of a privately-managed school in a poor neighbourhood in Montevideo. By Ana I. Balsa; Alejandro Cid
  6. Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Achievement? An Experiment in a Coeducational University By Booth, Alison L; Cardona Sosa, Lina; Nolen, Patrick
  7. Learning Begets Learning: Adult Participation in Lifelong Education By OECD
  8. Sibling Spillover Effects in School Achievement By Nicoletti, Cheti; Rabe, Birgitta
  9. Publish or Perish? Incentives and Careers in Italian Academia By Checchi, Daniele; De Fraja, Gianni; Verzillo, Stefano
  10. Beyond the Average: Peer Heterogeneity and Intergenerational Transmission of Education By Tanika Chakraborty; Olga Nottmeyer; Simone Schüller; Klaus F. Zimmermann
  11. How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments? By Leonardo Bursztyn; Robert Jensen
  12. The US Research University – Systemic Limits of a Model By Stephan Bieri; Franz Lehner
  13. How Does Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program Affect Livestock Accumulation and Children’s Education? By Debela, Bethelhem Legesse; Holden , Stein
  14. The equitable top trading cycles mechanism for school choice By Hakimov, Rustamdjan; Kesten, Onur
  15. Financial Inclusion, Regulation, and Education in Sri Lanka By Kelegama, Saman; Tilakaratna, Ganga
  16. Overconfidence and career choice By Jonathan Schulz; Christian Thöni

  1. By: Clark, Damon (University of California, Irvine); Del Bono, Emilia (ISER, University of Essex)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of elite school attendance on long-run outcomes including completed education, income and fertility. Our data consists of individuals born in the 1950s and educated in a UK district that assigned students to either elite or non-elite secondary schools. Using instrumental variables methods that exploit the school assignment formula, we find that elite school attendance had large impacts on completed education. For women, we find that elite school attendance generated positive effects on labor market outcomes and significant decreases in fertility; for men, we find no elite school impacts on any of these later-life outcomes.
    Keywords: education, school quality, instrumental variables
    JEL: I2 J24 C31 C36
    Date: 2014–11
  2. By: Heikki Pursiainen; Mika Kortelainen; Jenni Pääkkönen
    Abstract: We analyze differences in school quality using a comprehensive panel data set covering all upper secondary school graduates in Finland during the years 2002-2013. School quality is defined as the effect of the school on matriculation exam results controlling for quality of student intake. In other words, the quality difference between two schools is the expected difference in exam results for a randomly chosen student switching schools. Using methods similar to Chetty, Friedman and Rockoff (2013) we are able to measure both cross-sectional differences in school quality and the persistence of these differences over time. We also control for the uncertainty inherent in assessing the quality of smaller schools with a relatively low number of graduates. We use each pupil's comprehensive school grades to control for previous education / pupil quality. Also, comprehensive school fixed effects are used to control for differences in comprehensive school grading as well as unobserved socioeconomic factors. The method is potentially sensitive to bias induced by school selection. To assess the potential bias we partially match our student sample to a spatial database by home address and use this to assess bias. We find no evidence of significant bias. Our first result is that there are significant cross-sectional differences in school quality even after controlling for student intake quality. The quality difference between the top schools and bottom schools each year measured in average matriculation score points is around one grade point in a scale of 1 to 7. In Finland university entry is partly controlled by these matriculation exam results. A one-point difference in grade averages will significantly affect the chances of entry into the most competitive university curricula. This result must, however, be qualified in a number of ways. First, large differences are observed only between the very top and bottom institutions. Most schools are much closer to each other in quality: the interquartile range each year is only about a fifth of a grade average point. Most schools are thus clustered quite close to each other in quality. Also, while there is persistence over time in school quality, this is far from complete. This means that the ranking of the middling-quality majority of schools is highly unstable over time, making any yearly league tables highly suspect. There is more persistence in the very top and bottom institutions, which are roughly the same during the whole period under consideration. Finally, school quality seems to be for the most part evenly distributed regionally. While there are certainly good schools in the largest cities, the success of the most selective institutions is mostly explained by quality of intake rather than teaching.
    Keywords: education; school ranking; regional differences in education provision;
    JEL: I24 I28 C22
    Date: 2014–11
  3. By: Liu, Xingfei (IZA)
    Abstract: In this paper, I analyze educational outcomes for second generation immigrants and compare them to those of natives. I use a dynamic structural model and focus on transition paths from school to work for youths in Canada and the U.S. Using data extracted from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 2000 Youth in Transition Survey, I find that family background is closely related to educational attainment of white children of immigrants in both countries. Moreover, cognitive abilities seem to be more important in determining youths' educational attainment in the U.S. than in Canada. However, I find no evidence suggesting that the effects of key family environment variables on educational attainment differ between children of immigrants and children of natives. Results from counterfactual simulations suggest that incentive-based educational reforms, such as providing educational subsidies to reduce the costs of secondary and post-secondary education, are more effective in increasing overall educational attainment for both groups. In addition, the desired dollar amount of these educational subsidies are smaller in Canada than in the U.S. On the other hand, immigration policies designed to admit only highly educated individuals have modest effects on educational attainment of second generation immigrants. Finally, there is very little difference in educational outcomes between the two groups in Canada and the U.S. despite very different immigration policies, at least for the ethnic group (whites) considered in this paper.
    Keywords: second-generation immigrants, educational attainment, counterfactual-simulation, dynamic structural model, U.S.-Canada comparison
    JEL: I21 J15 J24
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: Levon Barseghyan; Damon Clark; Stephen Coate
    Abstract: Public school choice programs give households a free choice of public school and provide schools incentives to compete for students. Proponents of these programs argue that by the usual market logic, choice and competition will improve the quality of the education that schools provide. Critics counter that the usual market logic does not translate easily to schools, since households’ perceptions of school quality depend not only on the efforts of school personnel but also on the composition of the student body (i.e., households have peer preferences). This paper advances this debate by developing and analyzing an economic model of public school choice. To capture the pro-choice argument, the model assumes that a neighborhood enrollment policy that provides schools with no incentives to exert effort is replaced by a prototypical public school choice policy in which households have a free choice of school and schools have incentives to compete for students. To capture the anti-choice argument the model assumes that households have peer preferences. The analysis of the equilibrium of this model generates three findings that highlight potential limitations of choice programs.
    JEL: D02 H4 I2
    Date: 2014–11
  5. By: Ana I. Balsa; Alejandro Cid
    Abstract: We study the three-year impact of a private tuition-free middle school on the academic outcomes of poor students. Several features of the treatment school fit with innovative paradigms that have delivered successful outcomes in poor urban areas. Our research design exploits the excess of applicants over the school capacity and the fact that participants were selected randomly. Specifically, we follow a cohort of students that entered middle school in 2010 and that were randomly assigned to attend the treatment school or public school as usual. We find that the treatment school impacted favorably on students’ academic advancement and math competencies. Also, the treatment school had a positive–and quite robust over timeimpact on students’ and their parents’ academic expectations. This culture of high expectations has been previously identified in the literature as a key input for school success.
    Keywords: Randomized design; Private school; Low-income population; High Expectations
    Date: 2014
  6. By: Booth, Alison L; Cardona Sosa, Lina; Nolen, Patrick
    Abstract: We examine the effect of single-sex classes on the pass rates, grades, and continued enrollment of students in a coeducational university. We randomly assign students to all-female, all-male, and coed classes and, therefore, get around the selection issues present in studies on single-sex education done on students in primary and secondary school. We find that one hour a week of single-sex education benefits females: females are 7.5% more likely to pass their first year courses and score 8% higher overall. Furthermore, females in all-females classes are roughly 9% more likely to continue studying economics and business at university than females who studied in coed classes. There is evidence that single-sex education causes women to adopt behaviors associated with better academic outcomes: such as attending more classes and doing optional assignments. However, these behavioral changes can explain, at most 40% of the all-female effect, suggesting that there is a large direct effect of single-sex education on outcomes.
    Keywords: single-sex; education; experiment; gender
    JEL: C91 C92 J16 J33
    Date: 2014–10
  7. By: OECD
    Abstract: <ul> <li> In Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, participation rates in adult education and learning are over 60%, but they are one-third – or below – in Italy, the Russian Federation and the Slovak Republic. </li> <li> The more highly educated adults are, the more likely they are to continue with adult education and learning: about 70% of adults with a tertiary qualification participated, compared with just 27% among adults who did not complete upper secondary education. </li> <li> Employed adults are more likely to participate in adult education and learning: in half of the countries, the difference in participation between employed and unemployed individuals is more than 15 percentage points. </li> <li> Motivation encourages participation in adult education and learning: countries where a significant proportion of adults express a desire for more education also show the highest levels of participation. </li></ul>
    Date: 2014–11
  8. By: Nicoletti, Cheti (University of York); Rabe, Birgitta (ISER, University of Essex)
    Abstract: We provide the first empirical evidence on direct sibling spillover effects in school achievement using English administrative data. Our identification strategy exploits the variation in school test scores across three subjects observed at age 11 and 16 and the variation in the composition of school mates between siblings. These two sources of variation have been separately used to identify school peer effects, but never in combination. By combining them we are able to identify a sibling spillover effect that is net of unobserved child, family and school characteristics shared by siblings. We find a modest spillover effect from the older sibling to the younger but not vice versa. This effect is considerably higher for siblings from deprived backgrounds, where sibling sharing of school knowledge might compensate for the lack of parental information.
    Keywords: family effects, peer effects, social interaction, education
    JEL: I22 I24
    Date: 2014–11
  9. By: Checchi, Daniele; De Fraja, Gianni; Verzillo, Stefano
    Abstract: We derive a theoretical model of effort in the presence of career concern based on the multi-unit all-pay auction, and closely inspired by the Italian academic market. In this model, the number of applicants, the number of new posts, and the relative importance of the determinants of promotion determine academics' effort. Because of the specific characteristics of Italian universities, where incentives operate only through promotion, and where all appointment panels are drawn from strictly separated and relatively narrow scientific sectors, the model fits well Italian academia, and we test it in a newly constructed dataset which collects the journal publications of all Italian academics working in universities. We find that individual researchers respond to incentives in the manner predicted by the theoretical model: more capable researchers respond to increases in the importance of the measurable determinants of promotion and in the competitiveness of the scientific sector by exerting more effort; less able researchers do the opposite.
    Keywords: academic job market; applied auction theory; career concerns; nepotism; publications
    JEL: D44 I21 I23 M51
    Date: 2014–07
  10. By: Tanika Chakraborty; Olga Nottmeyer; Simone Schüller; Klaus F. Zimmermann
    Abstract: Estimating the effect of ‘ethnic capital’ on human capital investment decisions is complicated by the endogeneity of location choice of immigrants and the reflection problem. We exploit a rare immigrant settlement policy in Germany to identify the causal impact of parental peer-heterogeneity on the educational outcomes of their children. To identify the direction of peer effect we restrict to no-child-adult-peers who completed their education much before the children in our sample of interest. We find that children of low-educated parents benefit significantly from the presence of high-educated neighbors, with more pronounced effects in more polarized neighborhoods and significant gender heterogeneity. In contrast, we do not find any negative influence coming from the low-educated neighbors. Our estimates are robust to a range of flexible peer definitions. Overall, the findings suggest an increase in parental aspirations as the possible mechanism rather than a direct child-to-child peer effect.
    Keywords: Education, Ethnic Capital, Germany, Immigrant, Peer Effects, Policy Experiment
    JEL: R23 J15 I21
    Date: 2014–12
  11. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; Robert Jensen
    Abstract: When effort is observable to peers, students may act to avoid social penalties by conforming to prevailing norms. To test for such behavior, we conducted an experiment in which 11th grade students were offered complimentary access to an online SAT preparatory course. Signup sheets differed randomly across students (within classrooms) only in the extent to which they emphasized that the decision to enroll would be kept private from classmates. In non-honors classes, the signup rate was 11 percentage points lower when decisions to enroll were public rather than private. Sign up in honors classes was unaffected. To further isolate the role of peer pressure we examine students taking the same number of honors classes. The timing of our visits to each school will find some of these students in one of their honors classes and others in one of their non-honors classes; which they happen to be sitting in when we arrive to conduct our experiment should be (and, empirically, is) uncorrelated with student characteristics. When offered the course in a non-honors class, these students were 25 percentage points less likely to sign up if the decision was public rather than private. But if they were offered the course in one of their honors classes, they were 25 percentage points more likely to sign up when the decision was public. Thus, students are highly responsive to who their peers are and what the prevailing norm is when they make decisions.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2014–11
  12. By: Stephan Bieri; Franz Lehner
    Abstract: The US research university is a very successful model of higher edudaction and research. We examine its core elements and follow the current discussion on a necessary reform. Focusing on the institutional structure, we review possible causes of shortcomings and frictions. During the last 50 to 60 years the environment of the research university changed. The single institution has become highly dependend on federal and industrial grants and of undergraduates’ fees. This process has transformed the internal organization as well as the interaction with important stakeholders. It also had an effect on the relationship between university and faculty. As a result, the scientific production has grown reamarkably but not necessarily the overall competivity. We discuss the systemic challenges that threaten the US university landscape and its contribution to scientific progress and innovation.
    Keywords: Research university; US system of higher education; institutional structure
    Date: 2014–11
  13. By: Debela, Bethelhem Legesse (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences); Holden , Stein (Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
    Abstract: We use panel data from Northern Ethiopia to investigate the welfare impact of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program. We assess whether the program raised livestock asset levels and children’s education among participant households. Using treatment effects models, we find that participants in the public work component invested more in livestock and children’s education than non-participant households after controlling for selection into the program. Participation in the program helps to protect beneficiaries from sacrificing their children’s education in response to shocks. Our conclusion remains the same when we control for the extent of down sale of livestock to avoid graduation from the program.
    Keywords: Social protection; safety net; asset accumulation; education; Ethiopia; Africa
    JEL: I32 I38
    Date: 2014–11–19
  14. By: Hakimov, Rustamdjan; Kesten, Onur
    Abstract: A particular adaptation of Gale's top trading cycles procedure to school choice, the so-called TTC mechanism, has attracted much attention both in theory and practice due to its superior efficiency and incentive features. We discuss and introduce alternative adaptations of Gale's original procedure that can offer improvements over TTC in terms of equity along with various other distributional considerations. Instead of giving all the trading power to those students with the highest priority for a school, we argue for the distribution of the trading rights of all slots of each school among those who are entitled to a slot at that school, allowing them to trade in a thick market where additional constraints can be accommodated. We propose a particular mechanism of this kind, the Equitable Top Trading Cycles (ETTC) mechanism, which is also Pareto efficient and strategy-proof just like TTC and eliminates justified envy due to pairwise exchanges. Both in simulations and in the lab, ETTC generates significantly fewer number of justified envy situations than TTC.
    Keywords: school choice,stability,top trading cycles
    JEL: C78 C79 D61 D78 I20
    Date: 2014
  15. By: Kelegama, Saman (Asian Development Bank Institute); Tilakaratna, Ganga (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: Sri Lanka has achieved a high level of financial inclusion compared to other South Asian countries. Its financial sector comprises a wide range of financial institutions providing financial services such as loans, savings, pawning, leasing and finance, and remittance and money transfer facilities. There is also evidence that a larger share of households in Sri Lanka accesses multiple financial institutions for their credit and savings needs. However, the use of insurance services, ATM facilities, e-payments, and mobile banking, is relatively low. Financial education is ad hoc and lags behind financial innovation and new products. The information technology (IT) literacy rate is only 35% in Sri Lanka, and with the growing IT–finance nexus, financial awareness and education have become all the more important. Strengthening the regulatory framework governing the microfinance sector and client protection is also crucial for improving financial inclusion in Sri Lanka. Much scope remains to improve financial inclusion, particularly related to cost and quality of financial services provided, and the sustainability of financial institutions.
    Keywords: financial services; financial inclusion; financial education; financial regulation; microfinance
    JEL: G20 G21 G28
    Date: 2014–11–20
  16. By: Jonathan Schulz (University of Nottingham, School of Economics); Christian Thöni (University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: People self-assess their relative ability when making career choices. Thus, confidence in own abilities is likely an important factor for selection into various career paths. In a sample of 711 first-year students we examine whether there are systematic differences in confidence levels across fields of study. We find evidence for selection based on our experimental confidence measure: While Political Science students exhibit the highest confidence levels, students of Humanities range at the other end of the scale. This may have important implications for subsequent earnings and/or professions students select themselves in.
    Keywords: Overconfidence, selection, field of study, career choice

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