nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2015‒05‒02
twenty-one papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Magnet High Schools and Academic Performance in China: A Regression Discontinuity Design By Albert Park; Xinzheng Shi; Xuehui An
  2. The effect of non-personnel resources on educational outcomes: Evidence from South Africa By Miquel Pellicer; Patrizio Piraino
  3. The Effects of a High School Curriculum Reform on University Enrollment and the Choice of College Major By Görlitz, Katja; Gravert, Christina
  4. Does Greater School Autonomy Make a Difference? Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment in South Korea By Youjin Hahn; Liang Choon Wang; Hee-Seung Yang
  5. Inequality of Opportunities of Educational Achievement in Turkey over Time By Tansel, Aysit
  6. Unintended Negative Consequences of Rewards for Student Attendance: Results from a Field Experiment in Indian Classrooms By Melody M. Chao; Rajeev Dehejia; Anirban Mukhopadhyay; Sujata Visaria
  7. Curbing adult student attrition. Evidence from a field experiment By Raj Chande; Michael Luca; Michael Sanders; Zhi Soon; Oana Borcan; Netta Barak-Corren; Elizabeth Linos; Elspeth Kirkman
  8. Immigrant Student Performance in Math: Does it Matter Where You Come From? By Gianna Claudia Giannelli; Chiara Rapallini
  9. Giving a little help to girls? evidence on grade discrimination and its effect on students' achievement By Camille Terrier
  10. Is there a Gatsby Curve for Educational Attainment in Arab Countries? By driouchi, ahmed; Gamar, Alae
  11. Adjusted State Teacher Salaries and the Decision to Teach By Rickman, Dan S.; Wang, Hongbo; Winters, John V.
  12. Can Conditional Grants Attract Better Students: Evidence from Chinese Normal Universities By Li Han; Jiaxin Xie
  13. Italian students’ performance in the PISA digital test By Pasqualino Montanaro; Paolo Sestito
  14. Between facts and perceptions: The area close to school as a context factor in school leadership By Alexandra Schwarz; Stefan Brauckmann
  15. Educação e o Rendimento dos Ricos no Brasil By Marcelo Medeiros; Juliana Castro Galvão
  16. Rethinking the crime reducing effect of education? Mechanisms and evidence from regional divides By Ylenia Brilli; Marco Tonello
  17. Reducing Schooling Inequality in Brazil: Demographic Opportunities and Inter-cohort Differentials By Carlos Eduardo Velez; Sergei Soares; Marcelo Medeiros
  18. Measuring relative efficiency of secondary education in selected EU and OECD countries: the case of Slovenia and Croatia By Aristovnik, Aleksander; Obadić, Alka
  19. Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and Children's Educational Outcomes By Chevalier, Arnaud; Marie, Olivier
  20. Mozart or Pelé? The effects of teenagers’ participation in music and sports By Cabane, Charlotte; Hille, Adrian; Lechner, Michael
  21. Improving the Allocation of Spots in Child Care Facilities for Toddlers in Germany: A Mechanism Design Approach By Carlsson, Sissa; Thomsen, Stephan L.

  1. By: Albert Park (Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Xinzheng Shi (School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University); Xuehui An (National Center for Education Development Research, China Ministry of Education)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of high school quality on students’ educational attainment using a regression discontinuity research design based on entrance examination score thresholds that strictly determine admission to the best high schools. Using data from rural counties in Western China, we find that attending a magnet school significantly increases students’ college entrance examination scores and the probability of being admitted to college.
    Keywords: magnet high school, regression discontinuity design, academic performance
    JEL: I21 I28 O53
    Date: 2015–02
  2. By: Miquel Pellicer (GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies and SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Patrizio Piraino (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Little credible evidence exists on the effect of material resources on school quality in developing countries. This paper studies the impact of non-personnel funding on educational outcomes exploiting the peculiar way in which these resources are allocated in South Africa. Government funding follows quintiles constructed on the basis of school poverty scores. This creates discrete jumps in the allocation of funding and we use a regression discontinuity approach to analyze its effects on school outcomes at the end of high school. Our results show a small but positive effect of resources on student throughput during the last years of high school, and on the number of students writing the matriculation exam. However, additional resources do not translate into a higher number of successful exams, leading to an overall negative effect on pass rates. We suggest that thesefindings may have to do with schools reacting to the per-pupil nature of funding.
    Keywords: Non-personnel resources, education, South Africa
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Görlitz, Katja (Free University of Berlin); Gravert, Christina (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of a high school curriculum reform on students' probability to enroll at university and to choose Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) as college major. The reform that was introduced in one German state increased the degree of difficulty to graduate from high school by increasing the mandatory instruction time in the core subjects German, a foreign language, mathematics and natural sciences and by raising the graduation requirements. Based on administrative data covering all students, the empirical analysis is carried out by applying a difference-in-differences model. The results show that the reform increased university enrollment rates for both gender. With regard to choosing STEM as college major, we only find a robust positive effect for males.
    Keywords: high school curriculum, university educational decisions, reform evaluation, the choice of college major, STEM
    JEL: I21 I23 I28
    Date: 2015–04
  4. By: Youjin Hahn; Liang Choon Wang; Hee-Seung Yang
    Abstract: We study the effects of school autonomy using a randomized natural experiment in Seoul. Private and public schools subject to the equalization policy in Seoul admit students assigned randomly to them, receive equal government funding, charge identical fees, and use similar curricula, while private schools have greater flexibility in personnel decisions, and their principals and teachers face stronger incentives to perform. We find that private high schools have on average fewer violent incidents per student, a higher four-year college entrance rate, and better test scores. The effects appear to channel through the within-school dispersions of teacher salary and types.
    Keywords: Private schools, public schools, randomization, school autonomy, wage dispersion, workforce heterogeneity
    JEL: I21 I22 J24
    Date: 2014–10
  5. By: Tansel, Aysit (Middle East Technical University)
    Abstract: This study investigates inequality of opportunity in educational achievements in Turkey over time. For this purpose we use test scores of PISA in mathematics, science and reading achievement of 15-year-olds over the period 2003-2012. Since the different waves of the samples cover only a fraction of the cohorts of 15-year olds we take into account the inequality of opportunity in access to the PISA test as well as the inequality of opportunity of the academic achievement in the PISA test. This procedure enables proper over time comparisons. We estimate the effect of circumstances children are born into on their academic achievement as evidenced in their PISA test scores. The main findings are as follows. First, confirming the previous studies we find that inequality of opportunity is a large part of the inequality of educational achievement in Turkey. Second, the inequality of opportunity in educational achievement shows a slightly decreasing trend over time in Turkey. Third, the inequality of opportunity figures based on the mathematics, science and reading achievements exhibited the similar trend over time. Forth, the family background variables are the most important determinants of the inequality in educational achievement which is a consistent pattern over time. However, there is also evidence of slight weakening of these factors over time. Policies are necessary to improve equality of opportunity in education in Turkey.
    Keywords: inequality of opportunity, education, Turkey
    JEL: I24 D63
    Date: 2015–04
  6. By: Melody M. Chao (Department of Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Rajeev Dehejia (Wagner School of Public Policy, New York University); Anirban Mukhopadhyay (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Sujata Visaria (Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: In an experiment in non-formal schools in Indian slums, an incentive for attending a target number of school days increased average attendance when the incentive was in place, but had heterogeneous effects after it was removed. Among students with high baseline attendance, the post-incentive attendance returned to previous levels and test scores were unaffected. Among students with low baseline attendance, post-incentive attendance dropped even below previous levels, and test scores decreased. These students also reported lower interest in school material and lower expectations of themselves. Thus incentives might have unintended negative consequences in the long term for the very students they are most expected to help.
    Keywords: educational economics, incentives, attendance, motivation, experiment
    JEL: I21 I28 O53
    Date: 2015–04
  7. By: Raj Chande; Michael Luca; Michael Sanders; Zhi Soon; Oana Borcan; Netta Barak-Corren; Elizabeth Linos; Elspeth Kirkman
    Abstract: Roughly 20% of adults in the OECD lack basic numeracy and literacy skills. In the UK, many colleges offer fully government subsidized adult education programs to improve these skills. Constructing a unique dataset consisting of weekly attendance records for 1179 students, we find that approximately 25% of learners stop attending these programs in the first ten weeks and that average attendance rates deteriorate by 20% in that time. We implement a large-scale field experiment in which we send encouraging text messages to students. Our initial results show that these simple text messages reduce the proportion of students that stop attending by 36% and lead to a 7% increase in average attendance relative to the control group. The effects on attendance rates persist through the three weeks of available data following the initial intervention.
    Date: 2015–02
  8. By: Gianna Claudia Giannelli (Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa); Chiara Rapallini (Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa)
    Abstract: The performance gap in math of immigrant students is investigated using PISA 2012. The gap with respect to non-immigrant schoolmates is first measured. The hypothesis that first (second) generation students coming from (whose parents come from) countries with a higher performance in math fare better than their immigrant peers coming from lower-ranked countries is then tested on a sample of about 13,000 immigrant students. The estimated average immigrant-native score gap in math amounts to -12 points. The results show that immigrant students coming from higher-ranked origin countries have a significantly lower score gap, and are thus relatively less disadvantaged. For example, coming from a country in the top quintile for math and having attended school there for one year improves the absolute score gap by nearly 39 points, the highest coefficient among the variables that reduce the gap, such as parental education and socio-economic status.
    Keywords: mathematical skills, migration, countries of origin
    JEL: I25 J15 O15
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Camille Terrier
    Abstract: This paper tests if gender-discrimination in grading affects pupils' achievements and course choices. I use a unique dataset containing grades given by teachers, scores obtained anonymously by pupils at different ages, and their course choice during high school. Based on double-differences, the identification of the gender bias in grades suggests that girls benefit from a substantive positive discrimination in math but not in French. This bias is not explained by girls' better behavior and only marginally by their lower initial achievement. I then use the heterogeneity in teachers' discriminatory behavior to show that classes in which teachers present a high degree of discrimination in favor of girls are also classes in which girls tend to progress significantly more than boys, during the school year but also during the next four years. Teachers' biases also increase the relative probability that girls attend a general high school and chose science courses.
    Keywords: Gender; grading; discrimination; progress
    JEL: I21 J16
    Date: 2015–03
  10. By: driouchi, ahmed; Gamar, Alae
    Abstract: Abstract This is to assess intergenerational mobility and inequalities in educational attainment in Arab countries with the aim of finding out about the existence of a Gatsby curve for education. The existence of links between intergenerational mobility and inequalities provide useful insights to new inclusive economic policies. The paper uses descriptive and regression analyzes based on Barro and Lee data (2014) for the period 1950-2010. The attained results confirm the existence of a relationship between education mobility and inequality in educational attainment. This negative relationship between inequalities and intergenerational mobility in education attainment confirms the existence of Gatsby curve for education in Arab countries. This allows for new directions for further economic policies for reducing education inequalities and enhancing more access of new generations to knowledge, in Arab countries.
    Keywords: Keywords: Inequality, GINI, Intergenerational mobility, Education attainment, The Gatsby Curve, Arab countries.
    JEL: I32 J62
    Date: 2015–04–15
  11. By: Rickman, Dan S. (Oklahoma State University); Wang, Hongbo (Oklahoma State University); Winters, John V. (Oklahoma State University)
    Abstract: Using the 3-year sample of the American Community Survey (ACS) for 2009 to 2011, we compute public school teacher salaries for comparison across U.S. states. Teacher salaries are adjusted for state differences in teacher characteristics, cost of living, household amenity attractiveness and federal tax rates. Salaries of non-teaching college graduates, defined as those with occupations outside of education, are used to adjust for state household amenity attractiveness. We then find that state differences in federal tax-adjusted teacher salaries relative those of other college graduates significantly affects the share of education majors that are employed as teachers at the time of the survey.
    Keywords: teachers, teacher salaries, teaching profession, teacher retention
    JEL: H75 I20 I28 J24 J31 R23
    Date: 2015–04
  12. By: Li Han (Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Jiaxin Xie (Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: One recent policy tend to improve teacher quality is providing conditional grants to trainees in teacher colleges and commit them to working in disadvantaged areas upon graduation. Yet little is known whether such policies attract better trainees. This paper evaluates a conditional grant program in Chinese teachers' colleges, which commits students to teaching in their home province. Using a triple difference method, we find that teaching majors obtain better students due to the conditional grants. Exploring the heterogeneous treatment effects across regions, the policy effects not only increase as the costs of living during college decrease, but are larger in provinces with larger shares of disadvantaged students – i.e. rural, female, rural female, and with more siblings. These results suggest that the Chinese free teacher education program successfully attracts high quality students into the teaching force, and these high quality teacher trainees are likely to be credit constrained.
    Keywords: conditional grants, teacher quality, China
    JEL: P36 H52 H75
    Date: 2015–03
  13. By: Pasqualino Montanaro (Bank of Italy); Paolo Sestito (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: PISA 2012 included an optional computer-based assessment (CBA) focusing on mathematics, reading skills and problem solving. Italian students performed better in the CBA than in the paper-based assessment (PBA). This was not due to any specific features of the student samples in Italy and in the other countries included in the comparison. One of the reasons seems to be that Italian students are less determined in their approach to paper-based tests, during which they often fail to read all the questions and have trouble in finishing in the allotted time. Furthermore, this study finds that students’ competencies as revealed by the CBA are, other things being equal, strongly correlated with those in the paper-based tests, especially in mathematics, and that the pattern of results is almost the same for both kinds of test. Competencies in problem solving are in turn positively associated with a greater familiarity with digital tests. Nevertheless, being excellent in the PBA is not strictly necessary to obtain an excellent result in the CBA as well, since the latter test probably shows talents which are not revealed in paper-based tests, more similar to traditional school exams.
    Keywords: school, surveys of students’ proficiency, digital skills JEL Classification: I20, I21
    Date: 2015–04
  14. By: Alexandra Schwarz (Wuppertal Research Institute for the Economics of Education, University of Wuppertal); Stefan Brauckmann (Department of Instructional and School Development, Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt)
    Abstract: Concepts of new school governance did considerably change the role and responsibilities of school principals. Due to the shift in their role from administrator to manager, recent research tends to focus on management activity, but little is still known about the interrelation between changing contexts and management activities. In the present paper we propose to expand the school context to embrace the school-related environment, and we examine this broader context with respect to its impact on leadership activities. We illustrate our approach by combining German survey and administrative data to analyze the social composition of schools and their environment. Our results suggest that using administrative data to identify objective challenges to leadership improves the measurement of contextual conditions at school.
    Keywords: school leadership, school quality, disadvantaged areas
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2015–04
  15. By: Marcelo Medeiros; Juliana Castro Galvão
    Abstract: Neste texto, avalia-se em que medida a educação pode ser considerada um dos principais determinantes da riqueza no Brasil. O foco deste estudo é nos trabalhadores que compõem o 1% mais rico da distribuição da renda do trabalho. Para isso, foram utilizados os dados de formação universitária específica da amostra do Censo Demográfico de 2010, do Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE). A principal conclusão é a de que a educação pode ser importante para explicar a desigualdade total, mas não há evidências de que a educação de massa seja um dos fatores mais relevantes para esclarecer as diferenças entre os ricos e o restante da população brasileira. Nem mesmo a educação de elite pode ser tomada como um dos principais determinantes dos níveis atuais de riqueza. Há, portanto, uma parte importante da desigualdade total que não será reduzida por políticas educacionais. We examine the extent to which education is a main determinant of affluence in Brazil. We focus on workers in the top 1% of the labor earnings distribution. We use university courses data from the Sample Questionnaire of the 2010 Census. Our main conclusion is that while education may be important to explain total inequality, there is no evidence that mass education is a major factor explaining the differences between the rich and the rest of the population. Not even elite education can be assumed to be a main determinant of the current levels of affluence. Consequently, an important part of total inequality cannot be reduced by educational policies.
    Date: 2015–04
  16. By: Ylenia Brilli (European University Institute); Marco Tonello (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We estimate the contemporaneous effect of education on adolescent crime by exploiting the variation in crime rates between different cohorts and at different ages that followed a reform that raised the school-leaving age in Italy. A 1 percentage-point increase of the enrollment rate reduces adolescent crime by 1.3 per cent in the North of Italy but increases it by 3.9 per cent in the South. The crime-reducing effect depends mainly on incapacitation (i.e. adolescents stay in school instead of on the street); the crime-increasing effect is consistent with a channel of criminal capital accumulation, operating through social interactions and organized-crime networks.
    Keywords: adolescent crime, school enrollment, incapacitation, human capital
    JEL: I20 I28 J13 K42
    Date: 2015–04
  17. By: Carlos Eduardo Velez; Sergei Soares; Marcelo Medeiros
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to explore the interplay between schooling and demographics in Brazil. We would like to provide a preliminary answer to the question of how long will improvements in schooling of younger cohorts take o change the distribution of educational endowments of the total labor force. This answer depends on two factors. The first is the demographic composition of the working age population — the weight each cohort has in the 16 to 70 year old population. The second is the distribution of schooling within each cohort — its average educational level and the inequality within each cohort. These two factors — demography and education by cohort — define the average educational level and the distribution of education for the working age population in any given year. This paper takes a standard demographic projection and makes various hypotheses about the evolution of education — both the mean and inequality. According to these hypotheses, we will calculate how long improvements in the schooling of successive cohorts take to translate into significant improvements in the schooling of the working age population. Our results are somewhat pessimistic. We calculate that even very strong departures from the observed trend will take many years or decades to translate into significantly different educational endowments for the working age population. In other words, we show that demographic inertia is a strong factor preventing changes in educational endowments in periods shorter than a few decades. O objetivo deste trabalho é a exploração das relações entre escolaridade e demografia no Brasil. Gostaríamos de apresentar uma investigação preliminar sobre quanto tempo melhorias no sistema educacional vão demorar para se refletir na distribuição educacional da população em idade ativa (PIA). Este tempo de resposta depende de dois fatores. O primeiro é a composição etária da população em idade ativa — o peso de cada coorte na população de 16 a 70 anos. O segundo fator é a distribuição da instrução formal dentro de cada coorte — a média e a desigualdade de anos de estudo completados com sucesso. Estes dois fatores — demografia e educação por coorte — definem tanto o nível educacional médio como a distribuição da educação dentro da PIA para um ano qualquer. Neste texto, usamos uma projeção demográfica padrão e fazemos várias hipóteses sobre a evolução tanto da média como da desigualdade educacional. De acordo com essas hipóteses, é possível calcular quanto tempo melhorias no nível educacional de coortes sucessivas vão levar para se traduzir em melhorias significativas na distribuição da escolaridade da PIA. Os resultados, infelizmente, são um tanto pessimistas. Calculamos que até melhorias fortes com relação à tendência observada vão demorar anos ou até décadas para se transformar em dotações educacionais significativamente maiores e melhor distribuídas para a PIA. Em outras palavras, a inércia demográfica é um fator forte impedindo transformações dramáticas na distribuição da educação em períodos menores que algumas poucas décadas.
    Date: 2015–01
  18. By: Aristovnik, Aleksander; Obadić, Alka
    Abstract: This article continues on a number of previous studies by other scientists in investigating secondary education efficiency by applying a non-parametric methodology. In this respect, the purpose of the article is to review some previous studies on measuring the efficiency of public (secondary) education sector as well as some conceptual and methodological issues of a non-parametric approach. Most importantly, the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) technique is presented and then applied to a wide range of EU and OECD countries, including Slovenia and Croatia, to evaluate the technical efficiency of secondary education. The empirical results show that technical efficiency in secondary education varies significantly across the great majority of EU and OECD countries. Both Slovenia and Croatia show a relatively high level of technical inefficiency in their secondary education as they respectively only rank in the third and fourth quartiles among selected countries. Therefore, rationalising public secondary education spending is strongly recommended with possible redirecting of some excessive resources to the tertiary education sector.
    Keywords: secondary education, technical efficiency, DEA, Slovenia, Croatia, EU, OECD
    JEL: C14 C61 H52 I21
    Date: 2014
  19. By: Chevalier, Arnaud (IZA); Marie, Olivier (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany experienced an unprecedented temporary drop in fertility driven by economic uncertainty. Using various educational measures, we show that the children born during this nativity slump perform worse from an early age onwards. Consistent with negative selection, mothers who gave birth in that period had worse observed personal characteristics. These children are also less likely to have grown up within stable family environment. Investigating underlying mechanisms reveals that parental educational input and emotional attachment were also lower for these children. Finally, sibling analysis enables us to reject time of birth effects.
    Keywords: parental selection, fertility, economic uncertainty, education
    JEL: J13 I20
    Date: 2015–04
  20. By: Cabane, Charlotte; Hille, Adrian; Lechner, Michael
    Abstract: Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, this paper analyses the effects of spending part of adolescents’ leisure time on playing music or doing sports, or both. We find that while playing music fosters educational outcomes compared to doing sports, par-ticularly so for girls and children from more highly educated families, doing sports improves subjective health. For educational outcomes, doing both activities ap¬peared to be most successful. The results are subjected to an extensive ro¬bustness analysis including instru-mental variable estimation and a formal sensitivity analysis of the identifying assumptions, which does not reveal any serious problems.
    Keywords: child development; leisure time activities; matching estimation; SOEP
    JEL: C21 I12 I18 J24 L83
    Date: 2015–04
  21. By: Carlsson, Sissa (NIW Hannover, Leibniz Universität Hannover); Thomsen, Stephan L. (NIW Hannover, Leibniz Universität Hannover)
    Abstract: The undersupply of spots in German daycare facilities for toddlers challenges parents' possibilities to work. To ease the situation, the government implemented a new law entitling every child between ages one and three to daycare supervision for about four hours per day. Nevertheless, the stressed situation of matching demand and supply does not only result from limited spaces but also from inefficient allocation. By means of simulations under different scenarios, we contrast a stylized version of decentralized allocation to a centralized allocation mechanism which applies a deferred-acceptance algorithm. This centralized system results in better and faster matches.
    Keywords: allocation mechanism, deferred-acceptance algorithm, early education, child care
    JEL: C78 D82 J13
    Date: 2015–04

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