nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2016‒05‒14
twenty-two papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. School Entry, Compulsory Schooling, and Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Michigan By Hemelt, Steven W.; Rosen, Rachel B.
  2. The Effect of Single-Sex Education on Academic Outcomes and Crime: Fresh Evidence from Low-Performing Schools in Trinidad and Tobago By C. Kirabo Jackson
  3. Education Curriculum and Student Achievement: Theory and Evidence By Andrietti, Vincenzo; Su, Xejuan
  4. Achievement Effects from New Peers: Who Matters to Whom? By Duncan McVicar; Julie Moschion; Chris Ryan
  5. Identifying National Level Education Reforms in Developing Settings: An Application to Ethiopia By Chicoine, Luke E.
  6. Graduate returns, degree class Premia and higher education expansion in the UK By Robin Naylor; Jeremy Smith; Shqiponja Telhaj
  7. Relative Age, Class Assignment and Academic Performance: Evidence from Brazilian Primary Schools By Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner
  8. Financing workforce development in a devolutionary era By Andreason, Stuart
  9. What Do Test Scores Miss? The Importance of Teacher Effects on Non-Test Score Outcomes By C. Kirabo Jackson
  10. Seven-Year Impacts of Burkina Faso's BRIGHT Program By Harounan Kazianga; Leigh Linden; Cara Orfield; Ali Protik; Matt Sloan
  11. Ewing Marion Kauffman School Evaluation Impact Report Year 3 By Matthew Johnson; Eric Lundquist; Alicia Demers; Cleo Jacobs Johnson; Claudia Gentile
  12. Cognitive Skills, Non-Cognitive Skills, and Family Background: Evidence from Sibling Correlations By Anger, Silke; Schnitzlein, Daniel D.
  13. Economic Gains for U.S. States from Educational Reform By Eric A. Hanushek; Jens Ruhose; Ludger Woessmann
  14. "Teaching to Teach" Literacy By Stephen Machin; Sandra McNally; Martina Viarengo
  15. Spatial divergence of primary education development in Bangladesh through the lens of Education Development Index (EDI) By Raihan, Selim; Ahmed, Mansur
  16. Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants: Final Report By Kerstin Carlson Le Floch Jennifer O'Day; Beatrice Birman; Steven Hurlburt; Michelle Nayfack; Clare Halloran; Andrea Boyle; Seth Brown; Diana Mercado-Garcia; Rose Goff; Linda Rosenberg; Lara Hulsey
  17. Teachers' ICT and problem-solving skills: Competencies and needs By OECD
  18. Integrating Computer Assisted Learning into a Regular Curriculum: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Rural Schools in Shaanxi By Mo, Di; Zhang, Linxiu; Luo, Renfu; Qu, Qinghe; Huang, Weiming; Wang, Jiafu; Qiao, Yajie; Boswell, Matthew; Rozelle, Scott
  19. Graduate unemployment and Higher Education Institutions in South Africa By Hendrik van Broekhuizen
  20. Child Labor, Schooling, and Child Ability (Professional Paper) By Richard Akresh; Emilie Bagby; Damien de Walque; Harounan Kazianga
  21. Learning inequalities between primary and secondary school. Difference-in-difference with international assessments By Contini, Dalit; Cugnata, Federica
  22. The Requirements of Jobs: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Survey By Maury Gittleman; Kristen Monaco; Nicole Nestoriak

  1. By: Hemelt, Steven W. (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Rosen, Rachel B.
    Abstract: Extant research on school entry and compulsory schooling laws finds that these policies increase the high school graduation rate of relatively younger students, but weaken their academic performance in early grades. In this paper, we explore the evolution of postsecondary impacts of the interaction of school entry and compulsory schooling laws in Michigan. We employ a regression-discontinuity (RD) design using longitudinal administrative data to examine effects on high school performance, college enrollment, choice, and persistence. On average, we find that children eligible to start school at a relatively younger age are more likely to complete high school, but underperform while enrolled, compared to their counterparts eligible to start school at a relatively older age. In turn, these students are 2 percentage points more likely to first attend a two-year college, and enroll in fewer postsecondary semesters, relative to their older counterparts. We explore heterogeneity in these effects across subgroups of students defined by gender and poverty status. For example, we illustrate that the increase in the high school graduation rate of relatively younger students attributable to the combination of school entry and compulsory schooling laws is driven entirely by impacts on economically disadvantaged students.
    Keywords: school entry, compulsory schooling, postsecondary enrollment
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2016–04
  2. By: C. Kirabo Jackson
    Abstract: In 2010, the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago converted 20 low-performing pilot secondary schools from coed to single-sex. I exploit these conversions to identify the causal effect of single-sex schooling holding other school inputs (such as teacher quality and leadership quality) constant. After also accounting for student selection, both boys and girls in single-sex cohorts at pilot schools score 0.14σ higher in the academic subjects on national exams. There is no robust effect on non-academic subjects. Additionally, treated students are more likely to earn the secondary-school leaving credential, and the all-boys cohorts have fewer arrests. Survey evidence reveals that these single-sex effects reflect both direct gender peer effects due to interactions between classmates, and also indirect effects generated through changes in teacher behavior. Importantly, these benefits are achieved at zero financial cost.
    JEL: H0 I20 J00
    Date: 2016–05
  3. By: Andrietti, Vincenzo; Su, Xejuan
    Abstract: This paper proposes a theory of education curriculum and analyzes its distributional impact on student learning outcomes. Different curricula represent horizontal differentiation in the education technology, thus a curriculum change has distributional effects across students. We test the model using the quasi-natural experiment of the G8 reform in Germany. We find evidence of heterogeneous reform effects consistent with our theory. While the reform improves student test scores on average, such benefits are more pronounced for well-prepared students. In contrast, less-prepared students do not benefit from the reform.
    Keywords: Education curriculum,Horizontal differentiation,Distributional effects,Difference-in-differences,Conditional quantile regression,Unconditional quantile regressionI
    JEL: I21 I28 D04
    Date: 2016–04–01
  4. By: Duncan McVicar (Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast); Julie Moschion (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; EconomiX, University of Nanterre); Chris Ryan (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: This paper presents estimates of achievement-related peer effects on school pupils’ literacy using data from national test scores, across multiple literacy or language-related measures and student cohorts, for the population of public secondary school pupils in Years 7 and 9 (aged 12/13 and 14/15 years) in the Australian state of Victoria. Identification is achieved via individual fixed effects and by distinguishing between secondary school peers who attended the same primary school as the individual and those who did not. Estimates of peer effects are based on the new peers, whose primary school achievement could not have been affected by the individual. The results provide evidence for the existence of achievement-related peer effects, with small but positive and statistically significant effects from having higherachieving peers on average and from having a higher proportion of very high achieving peers (in the top 10% of the prior achievement distribution). We do not find a penalty from having ‘bad’ peers (from the bottom 10% of the prior achievement distribution). Further, it is low achievement individuals who benefit most from having high achievement peers. Classification-I21, I24, J24
    Keywords: Peer effects, school achievement, education, tracking
    Date: 2016–04
  5. By: Chicoine, Luke E. (DePaul University)
    Abstract: Increasing enrollment in primary education has been at the center of international education policy for well over a decade. In developing parts of the world, significant increases in primary enrollment are often generated by large national level programs, which can simultaneously promote overcrowding and reductions in education quality. However, to analyze the trade-off between increased enrollment and potential reductions in quality one must first identify and evaluate the impact of the national reform on schooling. This paper provides a method with which these types of reforms can be identified in developing settings using both temporal and geographic variation, and readily available data. The method is applied to an early 1990s reform in Ethiopia based around the release of the Education and Training Policy, which removed schooling fees from grades one to ten. The model estimates that the reform led to an increase in schooling of at least 1.2 years, and provides initial evidence that the increased enrollment in Ethiopia outweighed any cost due to reductions in quality.
    Keywords: free primary education, Ethiopia, schooling
    JEL: I25 I28 O55
    Date: 2016–04
  6. By: Robin Naylor; Jeremy Smith; Shqiponja Telhaj
    Abstract: We investigate the extent to which graduate returns vary according to the class of degree achieved by UK university students and examine changes over time in estimated degree class premia. Using a variety of complementary datasets for individuals born in Britain around 1970 and aged between 30 and 40, we estimate an hourly wage premium for a ‘good’ (relative to a ‘lower’) class of degree of 7% to 9%, implying a wide spread around the average graduate premium. We also estimate the premium for a good relative to a lower degree for different cohorts (those born between the mid-1960s and early-1980s) and find evidence that the premium for a good degree has risen over time as the proportions of cohorts participating in higher education have increased.
    Keywords: Graduate returns; higher education participation; ability composition
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2015–11
  7. By: Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner
    Abstract: Students in Brazil are typically assigned to classes based on the age ranking in their cohort. I exploit this rule to estimate the effects on maths achievement of being in class with older peers for students in fifth grade. I find that being assigned to the older class leads to a drop in Math scores of about 0.4 of a standard deviation for students at the cut-off. I provide evidence that heterogeneity in age is an important factor behind this effect. Information on teaching practices and student behaviour sheds light on how class heterogeneity harms learning.
    Keywords: Primary education, group effects, group heterogeneity, regression discontinuity, Brazil.
    JEL: I20 I21
    Date: 2016–05
  8. By: Andreason, Stuart (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
    Abstract: Workforce development financing has changed significantly over the last 25 years. In 2008, federal funding for the traditional workforce development system was 83 percent lower in real terms than it had been in 1980. As the federal system plays a smaller role in workforce development financing, the job training landscape better represents a "marketplace" where students and job seekers use federal training vouchers and grant and student loan money from various sources, primarily the Higher Education Act's Pell Grant and Federal Student Loan programs. Additionally, increasing volatility in the labor market has changed the relationship between employer and employee, leading to the need for a very different workforce development delivery and financing system than currently exists. These trends mark changes in the way that the broad workforce development financing system is consumer driven rather than driven by government or institutional priorities. Also, federal workforce development financing often carries significant restrictions on its use, limiting access to funding for innovative workforce development programs. {{p}} In the context of less centralized decision making, declining federal formula funding for workforce development financing, and increasingly complex and changing training needs, workforce development programs and state and local governments often find themselves responsible for developing and funding training. Devolution of responsibility for workforce funding has led to nascent innovation in state and local financing of workforce training, but many of the models have not been widespread. This paper examines the potential for some of these newer models of financing, such as bonding incremental payroll tax and social impact bonds as well as several prospective training models, including income-share agreements.
    Keywords: workforce development; workforce development finance; workforce development funding; social impact bonds; workforce development bonds; income-share agreements
    JEL: H30 J08 J20 J28
    Date: 2016–05–03
  9. By: C. Kirabo Jackson
    Abstract: This paper extends the traditional test-score value-added model of teacher quality to allow for the possibility that teachers affect a variety of student outcomes through their effects on both students’ cognitive and noncognitive skill. Results show that teachers have effects on skills not measured by test-scores, but reflected in absences, suspensions, course grades, and on-time grade progression. Teacher effects on these non-test-score outcomes in 9th grade predict effects on high-school completion and predictors of college-going—above and beyond their effects on test scores. Relative to using only test-score measures of teacher quality, including both test-score and non-test-score measures more than doubles the predictable variability of teacher effects on these longer-run outcomes.
    JEL: I21 J00
    Date: 2016–05
  10. By: Harounan Kazianga; Leigh Linden; Cara Orfield; Ali Protik; Matt Sloan
    Abstract: Less than half of the girls living in Burkina Faso in 2004 attended primary school. In the same year, only a quarter of all girls were enrolled in the last grade of primary school.
    Keywords: BRIGHT, CIPRE, evaluation, impact, school, “girl-friendly†, enrollment, achievement, education
    JEL: F Z
    Date: 2016–02–25
  11. By: Matthew Johnson; Eric Lundquist; Alicia Demers; Cleo Jacobs Johnson; Claudia Gentile
    Abstract: The Kauffman School is a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri that opened in 2011 to serve middle and high school students from the city’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. This report evaluates the effectiveness of the school at improving student achievement, attendance, and suspension outcomes during its first three years of operation.
    Keywords: Charter School Evaluation
    JEL: I
    Date: 2016–03–02
  12. By: Anger, Silke (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Schnitzlein, Daniel D. (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: This paper estimates sibling correlations in cognitive and non-cognitive skills to evaluate the importance of family background for skill formation. Based on a large representative German dataset including IQ test scores and measures of non-cognitive skills, a restricted maximum likelihood model indicates a strong relationship between family background and skill formation. Sibling correlations in non-cognitive skills range from 0.22 to 0.46; therefore, at least one-fifth of the variance in these skills results from shared sibling-related factors. Sibling correlations in cognitive skills are higher than 0.50; therefore, more than half of the inequality in cognition can be explained by shared family background. Comparing these findings with those in the intergenerational skill transmission literature suggests that intergenerational correlations capture only part of the influence of family on children's cognitive and non-cognitive skills, as confirmed by decomposition analyses and in line with previous findings on educational and income mobility.
    Keywords: sibling correlations, family background, non-cognitive skills, cognitive skills, intergenerational mobility
    JEL: J24 J62
    Date: 2016–04
  13. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Jens Ruhose; Ludger Woessmann
    Abstract: There is limited existing evidence justifying the economic case for state education policy. Using newly-developed measures of the human capital of each state that allow for internal migration and foreign immigration, we estimate growth regressions that incorporate worker skills. We find that educational achievement strongly predicts economic growth across U.S. states over the past four decades. Based on projections from our growth models, we show the enormous scope for state economic development through improving the quality of schools. While we consider the impact for each state of a range of educational reforms, an improvement that moves each state to the best-performing state would in the of long-run economic gains of over four times current GDP.
    Date: 2016–04
  14. By: Stephen Machin; Sandra McNally; Martina Viarengo
    Abstract: Significant numbers of people have very low levels of literacy in many OECD countries and, because of this, face significant labour market penalties. Despite this, it remains unclear what teaching strategies are most useful for actually rectifying literacy deficiencies. The subject remains hugely controversial amongst educationalists and has seldom been studied by economists. Research evidence from part of Scotland prompted a national change in the policy guidance given to schools in England in the mid-2000s about how children are taught to read. We conceptualise this as a shock to the education production function that affects the technology of teaching. In particular, there was phasing in of intensive support to some schools across Local Authorities: teachers were trained to use a new phonics approach. We use this staggered introduction of intensive support to estimate the effect of the new 'teaching technology' on children's educational attainment. We find there to be effects of the teaching technology ('synthetic phonics') at age 5 and 7. However, by the age of 11, other children have caught up and there are no average effects. There are long-term effects only for those children with a higher initial propensity to struggle with reading.
    Keywords: Literacy, phonics
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2016–04
  15. By: Raihan, Selim; Ahmed, Mansur
    Abstract: This paper addresses the issue of spatial divergence in educational performances in primary education sector through the construction of education development index (EDI). The paper uses principal component analysis to generate weights for indicators used in the construction of multidimensional general EDI. The paper finds that upazilas are, in general, performing poorly in terms of school access, school infrastructure, and school outcome. While upazilas from metropolitan areas perform very well and remain at the high range of each EDIs; upazilas from the ‘haor’ region, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), the coastal region and the regions along the Jamuna River perform poorly and remain at the very bottom range of each EDIs.
    Keywords: Education Development Index (EDI), principal component analysis, spatial divergence
    JEL: I21 I24 I25
    Date: 2016
  16. By: Kerstin Carlson Le Floch Jennifer O'Day; Beatrice Birman; Steven Hurlburt; Michelle Nayfack; Clare Halloran; Andrea Boyle; Seth Brown; Diana Mercado-Garcia; Rose Goff; Linda Rosenberg; Lara Hulsey
    Abstract: The Study of School Turnaround (SST) examines the change process in a diverse, purposive sample of schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) from 2010–11 to 2012–13.
    Keywords: Building Human Capital in SIG Schools, Change and Sustainability, Study of School Turnaround Codebook, 2010–13, Technical Approach to Qualitative Analyses, Details of Teacher Survey Analyses, Leading Indicators of School-Level Capacity
    JEL: I
  17. By: OECD
    Abstract: The education sector performs well for information and communication technology (ICT) and problem-solving skills, although it still lags behind the professional, scientific and technical activities sector. Primary and secondary teachers have better ICT and problem-solving skills than the general population, and similar skills to other tertiary-educated adults. In Japan and Korea, however, primary and secondary teachers are over 40 percentage points more likely than other tertiary graduates to have good skills when age is taken into account. On average, across the countries participating to the TALIS survey, 59% of lower secondary teachers expressed a need for professional development in ICT skills for teaching.
    Date: 2016–04–22
  18. By: Mo, Di; Zhang, Linxiu; Luo, Renfu; Qu, Qinghe; Huang, Weiming; Wang, Jiafu; Qiao, Yajie; Boswell, Matthew; Rozelle, Scott
    Abstract: Recent attention has been placed on whether computer assisted learning (CAL) can effectively improve learning outcomes. However, the empirical evidence of its impact is mixed. Previous studies suggest that the lack of an impact in developed countries may be attributable to substitution of effort/time away from productive, in-school activities. However, there is little empirical evidence on how effective an in-school program may be in developing countries. In order to explore the impact of an in-school CAL program, we conducted a clustered randomized experiment involving over 4000 third and fifth grade students in 72 rural schools in China. Our results indicate that the in-school CAL program has significantly improved the overall math scores by 0.16 standard deviations. Both the third graders and the fifth graders benefited from the program.
    Keywords: Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2015
  19. By: Hendrik van Broekhuizen (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: The emerging consensus regarding high and rising levels of graduate unemployment in South Africa in recent years has primarily been based on a select number of studies, all of which have serious shortcomings ranging from deficient definitions of “graduates” to the use of outdated, incomplete, or unrepresentative data. Moreover, given the heterogeneity in the quality of higher education in South Africa, existing findings regarding aggregate graduate unemployment in the country, even if accurate, mask the substantial variation in labour market outcomes which are likely to be faced by graduates from different higher education institutions. This paper attempts to address these issues by examining graduate unemployment and employment in South Africa with specific emphasis on the type and quality of higher education using multiple labour force survey and administrative datasets. Its primary contribution is to incorporate the effect of potential measures of higher education institution type and quality on the likelihood of graduate unemployment and employment by probabilistically linking graduates that are observed in labour force survey data to the institutions from which they are likely to have graduated given their time-invariant observable characteristics and the known demographic composition of the graduates produced by each of South Africa’s formal higher education institutions every year. The analysis shows that graduate unemployment in South Africa is not only low in relation to overall unemployment in the country, but that much of the racially-delineated differentials in graduate unemployment and employment outcomes can likely be attributed to heterogeneity in the quality and type of higher education institutions commonly attended by individuals from different racial backgrounds.
    Keywords: graduates, unemployment, higher education
    JEL: J64 I23 I26
    Date: 2016
  20. By: Richard Akresh; Emilie Bagby; Damien de Walque; Harounan Kazianga
    Abstract: Using data we collected in rural Burkina Faso, the authors examine how children’s cognitive abilities influence households’ decisions to invest in their education.
    Keywords: Fetal origins hypothesis, Education, Child Labor, Sibling Rivalry, International
    JEL: F Z
  21. By: Contini, Dalit; Cugnata, Federica (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Evaluating the effect of institutional features by exploiting cross-country variability with crosssectional data is difficult. Difference-in-difference strategies are sometimes employed to reach identification. In this paper, we discuss the difference-in-difference strategies adopted in the literature to evaluate the effect of early tracking on learning inequalities using surveys administered to children of different grades. In their seminal paper: “Does educational tracking affect performance and inequality? Differences-in-differences evidence across countries” Economic Journal (2006), Hanushek, and Woessmann analyze the effect of early tracking on inequalities with two-step analysis. Other scholars, instead, focus on the social background regression coefficient, using individual-level models applied to pooled data from all countries. We demonstrate that since test scores are measured on different scales at different surveys, pooled data strategies may yield to completely uninformative results. Against this background, we use data on reading literacy in PIRLS 2006 and PISA 2012 and carry out two-step difference-in-difference analyses on the effect of early tracking on social background learning inequalities.
    Date: 2016–04
  22. By: Maury Gittleman; Kristen Monaco; Nicole Nestoriak
    Abstract: The Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) is a new survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics which collects data on the educational, cognitive, and physical requirements of jobs, as well as the environmental conditions in which the work is performed. Using pre-production data, we provide estimates of a subset of elements by broad industry and occupation and examine the relationship between the cognitive elements and measures of education and training. We exploit the overlap between ORS and the National Compensation Survey to estimate models of the returns to different occupational requirements. Finally, we examine the relationship between occupational requirements and occupational safety measures and outline potential research uses of the Occupational Requirements Survey.
    JEL: J24 J28 J31
    Date: 2016–05

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