nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2015‒09‒05
thirty papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Value Subtraction in Public Sector Production: Accounting versus Economic Cost of Primary Schooling in India By Pritchett, Lant; Aiyar, Yamini
  2. Middle School Math Acceleration and Equitable Access to 8th Grade Algebra: Evidence from the Wake County Public School System By Dougherty, Shaun; Goodman, Joshua; Hill, Darryl; Litke, Erica; Page, Lindsay
  3. The Introduction of Academy Schools to England's Education By Andrew Eyles; Stephen Machin
  4. Are catholic primary schools more effective than public primary schools? By Todd Elder; Christopher Jepsen
  5. Early Math Coursework and College Readiness: Evidence from Targeted Middle School Math Acceleration By Dougherty, Shaun; Goodman, Joshua; Hill, Darryl; Litke, Erica; Page, Lindsay C.
  6. The Underutilized Potential of Teacher-to-Parent Communication: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Kraft, Matthew A.; Rogers, Todd
  7. The Effects of Test-based Retention on Student Outcomes over Time: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida By Guido Schwerdt; Martin R. West; Marcus A. Winters
  8. The impact of vocational schooling on human capital development in developing countries : evidence from China By Loyalka,Prashant Kumar; Huang,Xiaoting; Zhang,Linxiu; Wei,Jianguo; Yi,Hongmei; Song,Yingquan; Shi,Yaojiang; Chu,James
  9. The Risks to Education Systems from Design Mismatch and Global Isomorphism By Pritchett, Lant
  10. The Amherst Telementoring Program for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Results of a Pilot Study with a Randomized Controlled Trial By Avery, Christopher
  11. Intensive College Counseling and the College Enrollment Choices of Low Income Students By Castleman, Benjamin; Goodman, Joshua
  12. Ethnolinguistic Background and Enrollment in Primary Education: Evidence from Kenya By Andrén, Daniela; Levin, Jörgen; Vimefall, Elin
  13. Sibling (Non) Rivalry: The Relationship between Siblings' College Choices By Goodman, Joshua; Hurwitz, Michael; Smith, Jonathan
  14. College Access, Initial College Choice and Degree Completion By Goodman, Joshua; Hurwitz, Michael; Smith, Jonathan
  15. Creating Birds of Similar Feathers By Gehlbach, Hunter; Brinkworth, Maureen E.; King, Aaron M.; Hsu, Laura M.; McIntyre, Joe; Rogers, Todd
  16. Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets By Andrabi, Tahir; Das, Jishnu; Khwaja, Asim Ijaz
  17. Giving College Credit Where It Is Due: Advanced Placement Exam Scores and College Outcomes By Smith, Jonathan; Hurwitz, Michael; Avery, Christopher
  18. Unpacking the role of self-esteem in career uncertainty: a self-determination perspective By Shin-Huei Lin; Chia-Huei Wu; Lung Hung Chen
  19. The Relationship between Siblings' College Choices: Evidence from One Million SAT-Taking Families By Goodman, Joshua; Hurwitz, Michael; Smith, Jonathan; Fox, Julia
  20. On the creation of Adam: what debt relief means for education in the DRC By Cassimon, Danny; De Herdt, Tom; Verbeke, Karel
  21. Low Wage Returns to Schooling in a Developing Country: Evidence from a Major Policy Reform in Turkey By Aydemir, Abdurrahman; Kirdar, Murat G.
  22. In brief... Phone home: should mobiles be banned in schools? By Louis-Philippe Beland; Richard Murphy
  23. The Long-term E ects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Child Labor and School Enrollment By Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti; Peruffo, Marcel
  24. Accountability and yardstick competition in the public provision of education By TERRA, Rafael; MATTOS, Enlinson
  25. Ethnic Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Formal Education in Nigeria By Dev, Pritha; Mberu, Blessing; Pongou, Roland
  26. Should we change national assistance for students and their families? By DUCRAY François
  27. Ethnic Complementarities after the Opening of China: How Chinese Graduate Students Affected the Productivity of Their Advisors By Borjas, George J.; Doran, Kirk B.; Shen, Ying
  28. Measuring Social Environment Mobility By S. T. LY; A. RIEGERT
  29. The labor-market returns to community college degrees, diplomas, and certificates By Christopher Jepsen; Kenneth Troske; Paul Coomes
  30. Migration, Careers and the Urban Wage Premium: Does Human Capital Matter? By Korpi, Martin; Clark, William A.V.

  1. By: Pritchett, Lant (Harvard University); Aiyar, Yamini (Center for Policy Research)
    Abstract: We combine newly created data on per student government expenditure on children in government elementary schools across India, data on per student expenditure by households on students attending private elementary schools, and the ASER measure of learning achievement of students in rural areas. The combination of these three sources allows us to compare both the "accounting cost" difference of public and private schools and also the "economic cost"--what it would take public schools, at their existing efficacy in producing learning, to achieve the learning results of the private sector. We estimate that the "accounting cost" per student in a government school in the median state in 2011/12 was Rs. 14,615 while the median child in private school cost Rs. 5,961. Hence in the typical Indian state, educating a student in government school costs more than twice as much than in private school, a gap of Rs. 7,906. Just these accounting cost gaps aggregated state by state suggests an annual excess of public over private cost of children enrolled in government schools of Rs. 50,000 crores (one crore=10 million) or .6 percent of GDP. But even that staggering estimate does not account for the observed learning differentials between public and private. We produce a measure of inefficiency that combines both the excess accounting cost and a money metric estimate of the cost of the inefficacy of lower learning achievement. This measure is the cost at which government schools would be predicted to reach the learning levels of the private sector. Combining the calculations of accounting cost differentials plus the cost of reaching the higher levels of learning observed in the private sector state by state (as both accounting cost differences and learning differences vary widely across states) implies that the excess cost of achieving the existing private learning levels at public sector costs is Rs. 232,000 crores (2.78% of GDP, or nearly US$50 billion). It might seem counterintuitive that the total loss to inefficiency is larger than the actual budget, but that is because the actual budget produces such low levels of learning at such high cost that when the loss from both higher expenditures and lower outputs are measured it exceeds expenditures.
    JEL: I21 I25 I28
    Date: 2015–06
  2. By: Dougherty, Shaun (University of CT); Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University); Hill, Darryl (Wake County Public Schools); Litke, Erica (Harvard University); Page, Lindsay (University of Pittsburgh)
    Abstract: School districts across the country have struggled to increase the proportion of students taking algebra by 8th grade, thought to be an important milestone on the pathway to college preparedness. We highlight key features of a research collaboration between the Wake County Public School System and Harvard University that have enabled investigation of one such effort to solve this problem. In 2010, the district began assigning middle school students to accelerated math coursework leading to 8th grade algebra on the basis of a clearly defined measured of prior academic skill. We document two important facts. First, use of this new rule greatly reduced the relationship between course assignment and student factors such as income and race while increasing the relationship between course assignment and academic skill. Second, using a regression discontinuity analytic strategy, we show that the assignment rule had strong impacts on the fraction of students on track to complete algebra by 8th grade. Students placed in accelerated math were exposed to higher-skilled peers but larger class sizes. We describe future plans for assessing impacts on achievement and high school course-taking outcomes.
    Date: 2014–06
  3. By: Andrew Eyles; Stephen Machin
    Abstract: We study the origins of what has become one of the most radical and encompassing programmes of school reform seen in the recent past amongst advanced countries - the introduction of academy schools to English secondary education. Academies are state schools that are allowed to run in an autonomous manner which is free from local authority control. Almost all academies are conversions from already existent state schools and so are school takeovers that enable more autonomy. Our analysis shows that this first round of academy conversions that took place in the 2000s generated significant improvements in the quality of pupil intake and in pupil performance. There is evidence of heterogeneity as improvements only occur for schools experiencing the largest increase in their school autonomy relative to their predecessor state. Analysis of mechanisms points to changes in head teachers and management structure as key factors underpinning these improvements in pupil outcomes.
    Keywords: Academies, pupil intake, pupil performance
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2015–08
  4. By: Todd Elder; Christopher Jepsen
    Abstract: This paper assesses the causal effects of Catholic primary schooling on student outcomes such as test scores, grade retention, and behavior. Catholic school students have substantially better average outcomes than do public school students throughout the primary years, but we present evidence that selection bias is entirely responsible for these advantages. Estimates based on several empirical strategies, including an approach developed by Altonji et al. (2005a) to use selection on observables to assessthe bias arising from selection on unobservables, imply that Catholic schools do not appreciably boost test scores. All of the empirical strategies point to sizeable negative effects of Catholic schooling on mathematics achievement. Similarly, we find very little evidence that Catholic schooling improves behavioral and other non-cognitive outcomes once we account for selection on unobservables.
    Keywords: Catholic schools; Achievement; Selection bias
    Date: 2014–03
  5. By: Dougherty, Shaun (University of CT); Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University); Hill, Darryl (Wake County Public School System); Litke, Erica (Harvard University); Page, Lindsay C. (University of Pittsburgh)
    Abstract: To better prepare students for college-level math and the demands of the labor market, school systems have tried to increase the rigor of students' math coursework. The failure of universal "Algebra for All" models has led recently to more targeted approaches. We study one such approach in Wake County, North Carolina, which began using prior test scores to assign middle school students to an accelerated math track culminating in eighth grade algebra. The policy has reduced the role that income and race played in course assignment. A regression discontinuity design exploiting the eligibility threshold shows that acceleration has no clear effect on test scores but lowers middle school course grades. Acceleration does, however, raise the probability of taking and passing geometry in ninth grade by over 30 percentage points, including for black and Hispanic students. Nonetheless, most students accelerated in middle school do not remain so by high school and those that do earn low grades in advanced courses. This leaky pipeline suggests that targeted math acceleration has potential to increase college readiness among disadvantaged populations but that acceleration alone is insufficient to keep most students on such a track.
    Date: 2015–08
  6. By: Kraft, Matthew A. (Brown University); Rogers, Todd (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Parental involvement is correlated with student performance, though the causal relationship is less well established. This experiment examined an intervention that delivered weekly one-sentence individualized messages from teachers to the parents of high school students in a credit recovery program. Messages decreased the percentage of students who failed to earn course credit from 15.8% to 9.3%--a 41% reduction. This reduction resulted primarily from preventing drop-outs, rather than from reducing failure or dismissal rates. The intervention shaped the content of parent-child conversations with messages emphasizing what students could improve, versus what students were doing well, producing the largest effects. We estimate the cost of this intervention per additional student credit earned to be less than one-tenth the typical cost per credit earned for the district. These findings underscore the value of educational policies that encourage and facilitate teacher-to-parent communication to empower parental involvement in their children's education.
    JEL: I20 I21 I24
    Date: 2015–04
  7. By: Guido Schwerdt; Martin R. West; Marcus A. Winters
    Abstract: Many American states require that students lacking basic reading proficiency after third grade be retained and remediated. We exploit a discontinuity in the probability of retention under Floridas test-based promotion policy to study the causal effect of retention on student outcomes over time. Although OLS estimates suggest negative effects on achievement, regression discontinuity estimates indicate large positive achievement effects and reduced retention probabilities in future years. After six years, the achievement gains from retention fade out entirely when retained students are compared to their same-age peers, but remain substantial when compared to peers in the same grade. Contrary to prior research based on observational data, we find that early grade retention has no effect on the probability that students graduate from high school.
    JEL: H52 I21 I28
    Date: 2015–08
  8. By: Loyalka,Prashant Kumar; Huang,Xiaoting; Zhang,Linxiu; Wei,Jianguo; Yi,Hongmei; Song,Yingquan; Shi,Yaojiang; Chu,James
    Abstract: A number of developing countries are currently promoting vocational education and training (VET) as a way to build human capital and strengthen economic growth. The primary aim of this study is to understand whether VET at the high school level contributes to human capital development in one of those countries?China. To fulfill this aim, a longitudinal data on more than 10,000 students in vocational high school (in the most popular major, computing) and academic high school from two provinces of China are used. First, estimates from instrumental variables and matching analyses show that attending vocational high school (relative to academic high school) substantially reduces math skills and does not improve computing skills. Second, heterogeneous effect estimates also show that attending vocational high school increases dropout, especially among disadvantaged (low-income or low-ability) students. Third, vertically scaled (equated) baseline and follow-up test scores are used to measure gains in math and computing skills among the students. The results show that students who attend vocational high school experience absolute reductions in math skills. Taken together, the findings suggest that the rapid expansion of vocational schooling as a substitute for academic schooling can have detrimental consequences for building human capital in developing countries such as China.
    Keywords: Education For All,Secondary Education,Tertiary Education,Effective Schools and Teachers,Primary Education
    Date: 2015–08–18
  9. By: Pritchett, Lant (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The incredibly low levels of learning and the generally dysfunctional public sector schooling systems in many (though not all) developing countries are the result of a capability trap (Pritchett et al. 2010). Two phenomena reinforce persistent failure of schooling systems to produce adequate learning outcomes. One is the mismatch between system design--the allocation of activities across organizations and mechanisms of accountability--and the insights of the 'new institutional economics' from principal agent models and contract theory. In particular, many education systems attempt to manage teaching and learning as a 'thin' or 'logistical' activity that can be managed with top-down control and an emphasis on compliance. The reality is that teaching is a 'thick' or 'implementation intensive' activity that performs better when teachers and operators of schools are given performance standards, have multiple in-depth accountability channels, and are given greater autonomy. The second phenomena that facilitates persistent failure is global isomorphism on enrollment and inputs (Meyer et al. 1977; Boli et al. 1985; Meyer et al. 1997). That is, the field (in the sense of Bourdieu 1993) of global education has produced a near exclusive emphasis on enrollments and duration in school, adequacy of physical inputs, and formal qualifications that allowed, perhaps encouraged, national systems to ignore completely performance on child-learning (of any type, measured in any way). I conclude with a comparison in India of the national governments recent efforts in basic education which have been almost exclusively isomorphic.
    JEL: I20 I25 L14 L32
    Date: 2014–04
  10. By: Avery, Christopher (Harvard University)
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of a pilot study, using a randomized controlled trial to study the effects of the Amherst Telementoring Program for high-achieving students from relatively poor families. This program is designed to assist students with the college application process "in their pursuit of higher education regardless of which institutions they apply to or choose to attend." We followed 98 high school seniors through the college admissions process in 2007-2008, including 51 who were selected at random and offered the opportunity to participate in the telementoring program. We find that telementoring had a significant effect, promoting applications to less selective colleges within the set ranked by Barron's as "Most Competitive". Further, we estimate that students offered telementoring were 3.5 percentage points more likely than students not offered telementoring to enroll in colleges ranked by Barron's as "Most Competitive", though this effect was not statistically significant.
    Date: 2014–11
  11. By: Castleman, Benjamin (University of VA); Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Low income high school graduates are less likely to enroll in four-year colleges than their more advantaged peers. When they do enroll, they are more likely to choose colleges with low graduation rates and higher costs, increasing their risk of leaving college without a degree and with substantial debt. Such decision-making may be driven in part by a lack of information about the full range of college options that are available to students. We study the potential for intensive college counseling to remedy this informational barrier and improve students' college choices. Capitalizing on an arbitrary cut-off in the admissions criteria for Bottom Line, an college advising program in Massachusetts, we use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of intensive advising on students' college choices as well as on their overall enrollment and persistence in college. We find that intensive college advising substantially shifts towards one of the four-year colleges encouraged by the program and away from institutions the program discourages. This effect is particularly strong for students from families where English is not the first language, and for whom the informational barriers may be particularly constraining. This shift in enrollment reduces the average net price of the institutions students are attending, likely lowering their financial burden. Finally, we see suggestive evidence of increases in overall four-year college enrollment and persistence through the first two years of college. We argue that this evidence indicates that intensive college advising can generate large impacts on college enrollment decisions and may improve persistence and, ultimately, degree completion.
    Date: 2014–07
  12. By: Andrén, Daniela (Örebro University School of Business); Levin, Jörgen (Örebro University School of Business); Vimefall, Elin (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: In Kenya, educational enrollment rates increased significantly for both girls and boys after 2003, when primary education became free of charge. Unfortunately, approximately one million school-aged children are still not enrolled in school. Earlier literature provides empirical evidence that educational opportunities differ among children, due to poverty, gender, rural area of residence and disability. Our paper con-tributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence of the importance of children’s ethnolinguistic background for their probability of being in school. Estimates from a three-level random intercept probit model using data from the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2005/06 reveal that Somali and Maasai children are least likely to be in school. A separate analysis by child’s gender shows that compared to Kikuyu children both girls and boys from the Somali and Maasai groups, but also Mijikenda and Swahili girls, have a lower probability to be in school. This might be an indication that gender norms are stronger in these groups.
    Keywords: School-aged Children; School enrollment; Free Primary Education; Ethnolinguistic Background; Kenya; Three-level Random Intercept Model;
    JEL: A00 I24 I28
    Date: 2015–08–17
  13. By: Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University); Hurwitz, Michael (College Board); Smith, Jonathan (College Board)
    Abstract: Research consistently shows that college choice in an important predictor of college completion and labor market outcomes. These longer term implications of college choice, combined with suboptimal choices made by many low-income but high-achieving students, has sparked several large-scale initiatives to improve college choice. Strategically targeting those students most susceptible to making questionable decisions in the college-choice process remains challenging, as variation in college choice is largely unexplained by easily measurable socio-demographic characteristics. This paper explores the potential to improve upon existing models and, more generally, to better understand college choice by documenting the similarities in college enrollment patterns between younger and older siblings. To do so, we identify siblings in the millions of SAT test-takers between the 2004 and 2011 high school graduation cohorts. We find that younger siblings enroll in the same college as their older sibling 21.2 percent of the time. Also, conditional on their own SAT scores, we find that younger siblings whose older siblings enrolled in four-year colleges and the most selective colleges are 17.4 and 21.3 percentage points, respectively, more likely to themselves enroll in four-year and the most selective colleges. Overall, adding characteristics and enrollment decisions of older siblings to standard college choice models improves model fit and consequently, are valuable pieces of information for explanatory and predictive power.
    Date: 2014–06
  14. By: Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University); Hurwitz, Michael (College Board); Smith, Jonathan (College Board)
    Abstract: The relatively low degree completion rate of U.S. college students has prompted debate over the extent to which the problem is attributable to the students or to their choice of colleges. Estimating the impact of initial college choice is confounded by the non-random nature of college selection. We solve this selection problem by studying the universe of SAT-takers in the state of Georgia, where minimum SAT scores required for admission to the four-year public college sector generate exogenous variation in initial college choice. Regression discontinuity estimates comparing the relatively low-skilled students just above and below this minimum threshold show that access to this sector increases enrollment in four-year colleges, largely by diverting students from two-year community colleges. Most importantly, access to four-year public colleges substantially increases bachelor's degree completion rates, particularly for low-income students. Conditional on a student's own academic skill, the institutional completion rate of his initial college explains a large fraction of his own probability of completion. Consistent with prior research on college quality and the two-year college penalty, these results may explain part of the labor market return to college quality.
    Date: 2015–02
  15. By: Gehlbach, Hunter (Harvard University); Brinkworth, Maureen E. (Harvard University); King, Aaron M. (Stanford University); Hsu, Laura M. (Merrimack College); McIntyre, Joe (Harvard University); Rogers, Todd (Harvard University)
    Abstract: When people perceive themselves as similar to others, greater liking and closer relationships typically result. In the first randomized field experiment that leverages actual similarities to improve real-world relationships, we examined the affiliations between 315 ninth grade students and their 25 teachers. Students in the treatment condition received feedback on five similarities that they shared with their teachers; each teacher received parallel feedback regarding about half of his/her ninth grade students. Five weeks after our intervention, those in the treatment conditions perceived greater similarity with their counterparts. Furthermore, when teachers received feedback about their similarities with specific students, they perceived better relationships with those students, and those students earned higher course grades. Exploratory analyses suggest that these effects are concentrated within relationships between teachers and their "underserved" students. This brief intervention appears to close the achievement gap at this school by over 60%.
    Date: 2015–04
  16. By: Andrabi, Tahir (Pomona College); Das, Jishnu (World Bank Development Research Group); Khwaja, Asim Ijaz (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We study the impact of providing school and child test scores on subsequent test scores, prices, and enrollment in markets with multiple public and private providers. A randomly selected half of our sample villages (markets) received report cards. This increased test scores by 0.11 standard deviations, decreased private school fees by 17 percent and increased primary enrollment by 4.5 percent. Heterogeneity in the treatment impact by initial school quality is consistent with canonical models of asymmetric information. Information provision facilitates better comparisons across providers, improves market efficiency and raises child welfare through higher test scores, higher enrollment and lower fees.
    JEL: D22 D82 I25 L15 L22 O12
    Date: 2014–10
  17. By: Smith, Jonathan (College Board); Hurwitz, Michael (College Board); Avery, Christopher (Harvard University)
    Abstract: We implement a regression discontinuity design using the continuous raw Advanced Placement (AP) exam scores, which are mapped into the observed 1-5 integer scores, for over 4.5 million students. Earning higher AP integer scores positively impacts college completion and subsequent exam taking. Specifically, attaining credit-granting integer scores increases the probability that a student will receive a bachelor's degree within four years by 1 to 2 percentage points per exam. We also find that receiving a score of 3 over a 2 on junior year AP exams causes students to take between 0.06 and 0.14 more AP exams senior year.
    Date: 2015–05
  18. By: Shin-Huei Lin; Chia-Huei Wu; Lung Hung Chen
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to explain why students with high self-esteem have lower career uncertainty than students with low self-esteem. Based on self-determination theory, students with high self-esteem would have higher efficacy in making decisions, which would encourage them to choose a major for self-concordance, such as interest and ability, and increase their course involvement. Both factors are assumed to be related to lower career uncertainty. Data from a national survey of the Taiwan Higher Education Database within the Survey Research Data Archive from juniors at 92 colleges and universities in Taiwan (N = 7418) were analyzed to examine the model. Results supported the proposed model by showing that students with high self-esteem had lower career uncertainty because they chose a major for self-concordant reasons and had a strong motivation to learn, both of which contribute to lower career uncertainty.
    Keywords: self-determination; career uncertainty; self-esteem; education
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2015
  19. By: Goodman, Joshua (Harvard University); Hurwitz, Michael (?); Smith, Jonathan (?); Fox, Julia (?)
    Abstract: Recent empirical work has demonstrated the importance both of educational peer effects and of various factors that affect college choices. We connect these literatures by highlighting a previously unstudied determinant of college choice, namely the college choice made by one's older sibling. Data on 1.6 million sibling pairs of SAT-takers reveals that younger and older siblings' choices are very closely related. One-fifth of younger siblings enroll in the same college as their older siblings. Compared to their high school classmates of similar academic skill and with observably similar families, younger siblings are about 15-20 percentage points more likely to enroll in four-year colleges or highly competitive colleges if their older siblings do so first. These findings vary little by family characteristics. Younger siblings are more likely to follow the college choices of their older siblings the more they resemble each other in terms of academic skill, age and gender. We discuss channels through which older siblings' college choices might causally influence their younger siblings, noting that the facts documented here should prompt further research on the sharing of information and shaping of educational preferences within families.
    Date: 2014–09
  20. By: Cassimon, Danny; De Herdt, Tom; Verbeke, Karel
    Abstract: In this paper, we assess to what extent large-scale debt relief, irrevocably granted to DRC in 2010 after a decade long bumpy process, has impacted on post-conflict reconstruction, governance and public service delivery in the country, more particularly in the education sector. In principle, this link potentially works through two main channels, one being increased overall resource availability, the other one through imposed conditionality to receive the debt relief. We show that resource availability indeed increased for the sector, with positive effects on e.g. teacher wages and pupil enrolment, but it did little in improving pro-poor service delivery in education. The latter is complicated by the political economy of the education sector, characterized by a system that basically transforms schools into tax points (through school fees, rather than being financed by transfers from the central level) with redistribution of proceeds to all stakeholders, a system that was rather reproduced, instead of challenged or reversed during the recent period of debt-relief induced resource hikes and conditionalities.
    Keywords: debt relief; education; Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative; HIPC; Democratic Republic of Congo; DRC; pro-poor spending
    Date: 2015–07
  21. By: Aydemir, Abdurrahman (Sabanci University); Kirdar, Murat G. (Bogazici University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we estimate the returns on schooling for young men and women in Turkey using the exogenous and substantial variation in schooling across birth-cohorts brought about by the 1997 reform of compulsory schooling. We estimate that among 18- to 26-year-olds, the return from an extra year of schooling is almost zero for men and 3.8 percent for women. The low level of these estimates contrasts starkly with those estimated for other developing countries. We identify several reasons why the returns on schooling are low and why they are higher for women in our context. In particular, the policy alters the schooling distributions of men and women differently, thus the average causal effect we estimate puts a higher weight on the causal effect of schooling at higher grade levels for women than for men.
    Keywords: returns to education, compulsory schooling laws, wages, gender
    JEL: J18 J31 I21 I28
    Date: 2015–08
  22. By: Louis-Philippe Beland; Richard Murphy
    Abstract: Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy look at the impact of mobile phone bans on pupils' academic achievement in four cities in England.
    Keywords: Mobile phones, technology, student performance, productivity
    JEL: I21 I28 O33 J24
    Date: 2015–07
  23. By: Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti; Peruffo, Marcel
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term e ects of conditional cash transfers on school attainment and child labor. To this end, we construct a dynamic heterogeneous agent model, calibrate it with Brazilian data, and introduce a policy similar to the Brazilian Bolsa Fam lia. Our results suggest that this type of policy has a very strong impact on educational outcomes, sharply increasing primary school completion. The conditional transfer is also able to reduce the share of working children from 22% to 17%. We then compute the transition to the new steady state and show that the program actually increases child labor over the short run, because the transfer is not enough to completely cover the schooling costs, so children have to work to be able to comply with the program's schooling eligibility requirement. We also evaluate the impacts on poverty, inequality, and welfare.
    Date: 2015–08–11
  24. By: TERRA, Rafael; MATTOS, Enlinson
    Abstract: This paper explores the institutional change introduced by the public disclosure of an education development index (IDEB, Basic Education Development Index) in 2007 to identify the e ect of education accountability on yardstick competition in education spending for Brazilian municipalities. Our results are threefold. First, political incentives are pervasive in setting the education expenditures. The spatial strategic behavior on education spending is estimated lower for lame-ducks and for those incumbents with majority support at the city council. This suggests a strong relation between commitment and accountability which reinforces yardstick competition theory. Second, we nd a minor reduction (20%) in spatial interaction for public education spending after IDEB's disclosure | compared to the spatial correlation before the disclosure of the index. This suggests that public release of information may decrease the importance of the neighbors` counterpart information on voter`s decision. Third, exploring the discontinuity of IDEB`s disclosure rule around the cut-o of 30 students enrolled in the grade under assessment, our estimates suggest that the spatial autocorrelation | and hence yardstick competition | is reduced in 54%. Finally, an unforeseen result suggests that the disclosure of IDEB increases expenditures, more than 100% according to our estimates.
    Date: 2015–04–27
  25. By: Dev, Pritha; Mberu, Blessing; Pongou, Roland
    Abstract: We study the causes of inequality in human capital accumulation across ethnic and religious groups. An overlapping generations model in which agents decide how much time to invest in human capital versus ethnic capital shows that the demand for human capital is affected positively by parental and group's older cohort human capital, and negatively by group size. Two ex-ante identical groups may diverge in human capital accumulation, with the divergence mostly occurring among their low-ability members. Furthermore, group and ethnic fragmentation increases the demand for human capital. We validate these predictions using household data from Nigeria where ethnicity and religion are the primary identity cleavages. We document persistent ethnic and religious inequality in educational attainment. Members of ethnic groups that historically converted to Christianity outperform those whose ancestors converted to Islam. Consistent with theory, there is little difference between the high-ability members of these groups, but low-ability members of historically Muslim groups choose Koranic education as an alternative to formal education, even when formal education is free. Moreover, more religiously fragmented ethnic groups fare better, and local ethnic fragmentation increases the demand for formal education. Our analysis sheds light on the political context that underlines the recent violent opposition to "western education" in the country.
    Keywords: Group Inequality, Human Capital, Ethnic Capital, Ethnic Politics, Koranic Education
    JEL: A13 C0 D4 D5 D9 I2 I21 I24 J0 N3 O1
    Date: 2015–08–20
  26. By: DUCRAY François
    Abstract: In France, there are three public aids: State grants and housing vouchers for the students, an income tax deduction for the parents. Unconditional housing vouchers promote students’ self-sufficiency. State grants aim at reducing social inequalities and decline with parental income. Income tax deduction helps parents but it increases with parental income.\r\n\r\nIn 1997, a French parliamentarian (Cieutat) emphasized the students’ aid U form. The public aid per student (housing voucher + State grant + income tax deduction) decreases with parental income, reaches a minimum for the middle class and rises beyond. The middle class is not rather poor to gain State grants. The middle class is not rather rich to profit income tax deduction entirely. Authorities created new grant levels and decided successively to peak income tax deduction.\r\n\r\nDoes students’ aid U form still exist?\r\n\r\nSchedules simulations show U form persistence. Grants’ threshold is another problem. We propose a new State grants scale which is continuous and a finance plan.
    Keywords: students, public grant schedule.
    JEL: D63 H24 H52 I22 I38
    Date: 2015
  27. By: Borjas, George J. (Harvard University); Doran, Kirk B. (University of Notre Dame); Shen, Ying (University of Notre Dame)
    Abstract: The largest and most important flow of scientific talent in the world is the migration of international students to the doctoral programs offered by universities in industrialized countries. This paper uses the opening of China in 1978 to estimate the causal effect of this flow on the productivity of their professors in mathematics departments across the United States. Our identification strategy relies on both the suddenness of the opening of China and on a key feature of scientific production: intra-ethnic collaboration. The new Chinese students were more likely to be mentored by American professors with Chinese heritage. The increased access that the Chinese-American advisors had to a new pool of considerable talent led to a substantial increase in their productivity. Despite these sizable intra-ethnic knowledge spillovers, the relatively fixed size of doctoral mathematics programs (and the resulting crowdout of American students) implied that comparable non-Chinese advisors experienced a decline in the number of students they mentored and a concurrent decline in their research productivity. In fact, the productivity gains accruing to Chinese-American advisors were almost exactly offset by the losses suffered by the non-Chinese advisors. Finally, it is unlikely that the gains from the supply shock will be more evident in the next generation, as the Chinese students begin to contribute to mathematical knowledge. The rate of publication and the quality of the output of the Chinese students is comparable to that of the American students in their cohort.
    Date: 2015–04
  28. By: S. T. LY (Paris School of Economics); A. RIEGERT (Insee)
    Abstract: Individuals experience a diversity of social environments throughout their lives. When measuring the degree to which different social groups are separated from each other, this fact is often overlooked: standard segregation indices always measure spatial separation at a given point in time. These segregation indices only tell one part of the story, just like income inequality indices do not take into account the fact that individuals are mobile across the income distribution throughout their lives. This paper introduces the notion of social environment mobility (SEM) and proposes tools and a methodology to analyze it. We show that unlike income mobility, SEM cannot erase segregation in the long run, and we derive an upper bound on SEM indices. We illustrate this concept using data on segregation in French middle schools. Our results show that SEM has a fairly high equalizing effect on within-school segregation but a low overall effect due to low mobility between schools.
    Keywords: Mobility, Segregation
    JEL: I24 D63 D85
    Date: 2015
  29. By: Christopher Jepsen; Kenneth Troske; Paul Coomes
    Abstract: This paper provides among the first rigorous estimates of the labor-market returns to community college certificates and diplomas, as well as estimating the returns to the more commonly studied associate’s degrees. Using administrative data from Kentucky , we estimate panel data models that control for differences among students in pre-college earnings and educational aspirations. Associate’s degrees and diplomas have quarterly earnings returns of nearly $2,400 for women and $1,500 for men, compared with much smaller returns for certificates. There is substantial heterogeneity in returns across fields of study. Degrees, diplomas, and for women certificates correspond with higher levels of employment.
    Keywords: Educational attainment; Wages; Community colleges
    Date: 2014–01
  30. By: Korpi, Martin (The Ratio institute); Clark, William A.V. (California Center for Population Research, UCLA)
    Abstract: Using detailed Swedish full population data on regional migrants, this paper addresses the question of whether the urban wage premium, and “thick” labor market matching effects, are found only among the higher educated or across all educational groups, and whether the urban population threshold for these type of effects varies by educational category. Estimating initial wages, average wage level and wage growth 2001-2009, we find similar matching effects for all educational groups in the three largest metropolitan areas, but very weak effects for cities ranked 4th - 6th in the urban hierarchy. Our findings suggest that positive urban matching effects are not limited to those with higher education, but that there are distinct population thresholds for these type of effects, regardless of educational background.
    Keywords: Human capital; urban wage premium; domestic migration; market thickness; mobility; agglomeration economies
    JEL: J31 J61 R10 R12
    Date: 2015–08–27

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