nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2016‒08‒14
23 papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. The Attitudes of Boys and Girls towards Science and Mathematics as They Progress through School in Australia By Chris Ryan
  2. The impact of upper-secondary voucher school attendance on student achievement - Swedish evidence using external and internal evaluations By Tyrefors Hinnerich, Björn; Vlachos, Jonas
  3. STEM Graduates and Secondary School Curriculum: Does Early Exposure to Science Matter? By Marta De Philippis
  4. The Role of Fees in Foreign Education: evidence from Italy and the UK By Michel Beine; Marco Delogu; Lionel Ragot
  5. Social Origin Effects on Educational Mobility and Labor Market Outcomes: A closer look at technical educational enrollment in Mexico. By Paola Vela de la Garza Evia
  6. Elements of a Sound Online Education Program: A Blueprint for a Food Industry Management Administration Certificate By Tavernier, Edmund M.
  7. Bride Price and Female Education By Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
  8. Impact of the More Education programme on educational indicators By Luís Felipe Batista de Oliveira; Rafael Terra
  9. Dynamic Effects of Teacher Turnover on the Quality of Instruction By Eric A. Hanushek; Steven G. Rivkin; Jeffrey C. Schiman
  10. The Economic Impact of Universities: Evidence from Across the Globe By Anna Valero; John Van Reenen
  11. Transfer Students from Community Colleges to an Ontario University: Graduation Rates and Degrees Awarded By Felice Martinello; Jo Stewart
  12. The effects of conditionality monitoring on educational outcomes: evidence from Brazil?s Bolsa Família programme By Luis Henrique Paiva; Fábio Veras Soares; Flavio Cireno; Iara Azevedo Vitelli Viana; Ana Clara Duran
  13. Cognitive Performance and Labor Market Outcomes By Dajun Lin; Randall Lutter; Christopher J. Ruhm
  14. The Measurement of Student Ability in Modern Assessment Systems By Brian Jacob; Jesse Rothstein
  15. Do cognitive skills Impact Growth or Levels of GDP per capita? By Sarid, Assaf; Eckstein, Zvi; Tamir, Yuli (Yael)
  16. Determinants of Social Progress and its Scenarios under the role of Macroeconomic Instability: Empirics from Pakistan By Ali, Amjad; Bibi, Chan
  17. Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments By Lergetporer, Philipp; Schwerdt, Guido; Werner, Katharina; Woessmann, Ludger
  18. Science, university-firm R&D collaboration and innovation across Europe By Barra, Cristian; Maietta, Ornella Wanda; Zotti, Roberto
  19. Naturalisation and Investments in Children's Human Capital: Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Friedericke von Haaren-Giebel
  20. Desigualdad de oportunidad en educación e ingresos laborales en México. By Juan Javier Santos Ochoa
  21. Education, Participation, and the Revival of U.S. Economic Growth By Dale W. Jorgenson; Mun S. Ho; Jon D. Samuels
  22. Human Capital Formation during the First Industrial Revolution: Evidence from the Use of Steam Engines By Pleijt, Alexandra M. de; Nuvolari, Alessandro; Weisdorf, Jacob
  23. The Gap within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Student Achievement By Katherine Michelmore; Susan Dynarski

  1. By: Chris Ryan (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, and; ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course)
    Abstract: Differences between boys and girls in their attitudes towards mathematics are apparent among students in Year 4 in Australia. While not more engaged in their classes, boys indicate that they like mathematics and are more confident about their ability in it than girls. These differences increase between Year 4 and Year 8, while differences in similar directions in reported attitudes towards science develop. In Year 8, these differences in attitudes exist across all school sectors, social backgrounds and student levels of achievement, aspirations about future levels of completed education, language backgrounds and the genders of their teachers. These differences at Year 8 exist within schools, not between schools of different types or who cater for different types of students. There appears to be one exception to this statement: girls in single sex schools are more likely to like and be as confident about mathematics and science as boys in single sex schools.
    Keywords: Gender attitudes, science, mathematics, achievement
    JEL: I29 J71
    Date: 2016–08
  2. By: Tyrefors Hinnerich, Björn (Department of economics, Stockholm University); Vlachos, Jonas (Department of economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Sweden has a school voucher system with universal coverage and full acceptance of corporate providers. Using a value added approach, we find that students at upper-secondary voucher schools on average score 0.06 standard deviations lower on externally graded standardized tests in first year core courses. The negative impact is larger among lower achieving students (but not among immigrant students), the same students who are most prone to attend voucher schools. For high achieving students, the voucher school impact is around zero. Comparing internal and external evaluations of the same standardized tests, we find that voucher schools are 0.14 standard deviations more generous than municipal schools in their internal test grading. The greater leniency in test grading is relatively uniform across different groups, but more pronounced among students at academic than vocational programs. The findings are consistent with voucher schools responding more to differences in educational preferences than municipal schools.
    Keywords: voucher schools; student achievement; granding standards
    JEL: H40 I21 I22
    Date: 2016–05–30
  3. By: Marta De Philippis
    Abstract: Increasing the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) university graduates is considered a key element for long-term productivity and competitiveness in the global economy. Still, little is known about what actually drives and shapes students' choices. This paper focusses on secondary school students at the very top of the ability distribution and explores the effect of more exposure to science on enrolment and persistence in STEM degrees at the university and on the quality of the university attended. The paper overcomes the standard endogeneity problems by exploiting the different timing in the implementation of a reform that induced secondary schools in the UK to offer more science to high ability 14 year-old children. Taking more science in secondary school increases the probability of enrolling in a STEM degree by 1.5 percentage point and the probability of graduating in these degrees by 3 percentage points. The results mask substantial gender heterogeneity: while girls are as willing as boys to take advanced science in secondary school - when offered -, the effect on STEM degrees is entirely driven by boys. Girls are induced to choose more challenging subjects, but still the most female-dominated ones.
    Keywords: university education, high school curriculum, STEM
    JEL: J16 J24 I28 I21
    Date: 2016–08
  4. By: Michel Beine (CREA, Université du Luxembourg); Marco Delogu (CREA, Université du Luxembourg); Lionel Ragot (Université de Paris Ouest)
    Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of international students mobility at the university level, focusing specifically on the role of tuition fees. We derive a gravity model based on a Random Utility Maximization model of location choice for international students. The last layer of the model is estimated using new data on students migration flows at the university level for Italy and the UK. The particular institutional setting of the two destinations countries allows to control for the potential endogeneity of tuition fees. We obtain evidence for a clear and negative effect of fees on international student mobility and confirm the positive impact of quality of education. The estimations find also support for an important role of additional destination-specific variables such as host capacity, expected return of education and cost of living in the vicinity of the university.
    Keywords: Foreign Students, Tuition fees, Location choice, University quality
    JEL: F22 H52 O16
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Paola Vela de la Garza Evia (Division of Economics, CIDE)
    Abstract: Educational decisions may have a distinctive social origin pattern when an educational system offers parallel branches of study, a phenomenon termed as class inequality in educational attainment. In Mexico, the educational system allows students to choose between obtaining technical or academic degrees at both lower and upper secondary educational levels. The present study aims at analyzing 1) the effect of the social origin on educational track choice and 2) the relationship between type of educational attainment and labor market outcomes in Mexico. A two-part multinomial logit model is used to identify the effect of social origin on educational track decisions. Our results show that the social origin does have an effect on the type of education students opt for. Individuals with more favorable social origin characteristics are less likely to pursue technical educational programs; evidence confirming the presence of class inequality in educational enrollment in Mexico. An OLS regression was then used to analyze the effect of type of educational attainment on labor market outcomes. Once we control for the non-random allocation process by including as additional regressors the predicted probabilities of the multinomial stages we find that there’s no statistically significant effect of technical educational track selection on hourly income nor labor market participation; suggesting that although the Mexican educational system generates class inequality in educational attainment, no real labor market advantage is gained or lost from obtaining a distinct type of education.
    Keywords: educational mobility, labor market, México, vocational training
    JEL: I21 I26 H52 D63 I24
    Date: 2016–06
  6. By: Tavernier, Edmund M.
    Abstract: Internet technologies are making online education the fastest form of education delivery system in the U.S. While the delivery structures for offering online courses or programs often vary, the rationale for doing so centers around the need to mitigate costs of education delivery, enhancing educational quality, granting greater access to university courses to non-traditional students, accommodating the demands of the changing student population, and providing an alternative source of revenue for universities. This paper examines the elements that are crucial to successful online educational programs and proposes a blueprint for an online certificate program.
    Keywords: online environment, food administration, student retention, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Agricultural Finance, Crop Production/Industries, Farm Management, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Food Security and Poverty, Labor and Human Capital, Livestock Production/Industries, Production Economics, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2016–07
  7. By: Nava Ashraf; Natalie Bau; Nathan Nunn; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: Traditional cultural practices can play an important role in development, but can also inspire condemnation. The custom of bride price, prevalent throughout sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia as a payment by the groom to the family of the bride, is one example. In this paper, we show a perhaps surprising economic consequence of this practice. We revisit one of the best-studied historical development projects, the INPRES school construction program in Indonesia, and show that previously found small effects on female enrollment mask heterogeneity by bride price tradition. Ethnic groups that traditionally engage in bride price payments at marriage increased female enrollment in response to the program. Within these ethnic groups, higher female education at marriage is associated with a higher bride price payment received, providing a greater incentive for parents to invest in girls' education and take advantage of the increased supply of schools. However, we see no increase in education following school construction for girls from ethnicities without a bride price tradition. We replicate these findings in Zambia, where we exploit a similar school expansion program that took place in the early 2000s. While there may be significant downsides to a bride price tradition, our results suggest that any change to this cultural custom should likely be considered alongside additional policies to promote female education.
    JEL: I21 I25 O53 O55 Z1 Z13
    Date: 2016–07
  8. By: Luís Felipe Batista de Oliveira (IPC-IG); Rafael Terra (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "There are many particularities to public policies required to reduce educational disparities among students. They comprise issues related to infrastructure, remuneration and training of education professionals, debates regarding unifying content at the national level and on forms of public service provision and delivery. While there are many initiatives that focus on all of these aspects, their impacts are not always subject to a causal analysis capable of providing the information necessary to improve these interventions. This One Pager seeks to summarise the evidence found in a larger Working Paper (de Oliveira and Terra 2016) regarding the impact of the extended school days implemented under the 'More Education' programme (Programa Mais Educação?PME), an initiative of the Brazilian federal government. The PME transfers funds directly to educational institutions, which purchase educational materials and fund monitoring grants so that students may take part in extracurricular activities". (?)
    Keywords: Impact, More Education Programme, educational indicator
    Date: 2016–08
  9. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Steven G. Rivkin; Jeffrey C. Schiman
    Abstract: It is widely believed that teacher turnover adversely affects the quality of instruction in urban schools serving predominantly disadvantaged children, and a growing body of research investigates various components of turnover effects. The evidence at first seems contradictory, as the quality of instruction appears to decline following turnover despite the fact that most work shows higher attrition for less effective teachers. This raises concerns that confounding factors bias estimates of transition differences in teacher effectiveness, the adverse effects of turnover or both. After taking more extensive steps to account for nonrandom sorting of students into classrooms and endogenous teacher exits and grade-switching, we replicate existing findings of adverse selection out of schools and negative effects of turnover in lower-achievement schools. But we find that these turnover effects can be fully accounted for by the resulting loss in experience and productivity loss following the reallocation of some incumbent teachers to different grades.
    JEL: H4 I20 J45
    Date: 2016–07
  10. By: Anna Valero; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: We develop a new dataset using UNESCO source materials on the location of nearly 15,000 universities in about 1,500 regions across 78 countries, some dating back to the 11th Century. We estimate fixed effects models at the sub-national level between 1950 and 2010 and find that increases in the number of universities are positively associated with future growth of GDP per capita (and this relationship is robust to controlling for a host of observables, as well as unobserved regional trends). Our estimates imply that doubling the number of universities per capita is associated with 4% higher future GDP per capita. Furthermore, there appear to be positive spillover effects from universities to geographically close neighbouring regions. We show that the relationship between growth and universities is not simply driven by the direct expenditures of the university, its staff and students. Part of the effect of universities on growth is mediated through an increased supply of human capital and greater innovation (although the magnitudes are not large). We find that within countries, higher historical university presence is associated with stronger pro-democratic attitudes.
    Keywords: universities, growth, human capital, innovation
    JEL: I23 I25 J24 O10 O31
    Date: 2016–08
  11. By: Felice Martinello (Department of Economics, Brock University); Jo Stewart (Yukon College)
    Abstract: This research note updates the tentative, four year graduation results of Martinello and Stewart (2015). After six years, transfer students from community colleges were more likely than non-transfer students to have graduated earlier and with Pass (rather than Honours) Bachelors level degrees. Overall, however, college transfer students had lower six year university graduation rates than non-transfer students.
    Keywords: Post Secondary Education; Transfer Students; Graduation Rates; Degrees Awarded; Ontario
    JEL: I23
    Date: 2016–08
  12. By: Luis Henrique Paiva (IPC-IG); Fábio Veras Soares (IPC-IG); Flavio Cireno (IPC-IG); Iara Azevedo Vitelli Viana (IPC-IG); Ana Clara Duran (IPC-IG)
    Abstract: "Conditional cash transfer programmes have been increasingly adopted by several lowand middle-income countries. Despite this overall acceptance, conditionalities remain under scrutiny regarding their possible independent effects on educational and health indicators. This paper is an ecological study of conditionalities in Brazil's Bolsa Família programme. As programme coverage (taken as a proxy of cash transfers) and monitoring and enforcement of the educational conditionalities (proxy of conditionalities) are not correlated at the municipal level, this study fits a number of different ordinary least square (OLS) and growth-curve models to explain variations in drop-out rates and school progression in basic education in public schools across municipalities". (?)
    Keywords: effects, conditionality, monitoring, educational outcomes, evidence, Brazil, Bolsa Família programme
    Date: 2016–06
  13. By: Dajun Lin; Randall Lutter; Christopher J. Ruhm
    Abstract: We use information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and supplementary data sources to examine how cognitive performance, measured at approximately the end of secondary schooling, is related to the labor market outcomes of 20 through 50 year olds. Our estimates control for a wide array of individual and family background characteristics, a limited set of non-cognitive attributes, survey year dummy variables and, sometimes, geographic place effects. The analysis reveals five main findings. First, cognitive performance is positively associated with future labor market outcomes at all ages. The relationship is attenuated but not eliminated by the addition of controls for non-cognitive characteristics, while the inclusion of place effects does not change the estimated associations. Second, the returns to cognitive skill increase with age. Third, the effect on total incomes reflects a combination of positive impacts of cognitive performance for both hourly wages and annual work hours. Fourth, the returns to cognitive skill are greater for women than men and for blacks and Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites, with differential effects on work hours being more important than corresponding changes in hourly wages. Fifth, the average gains in lifetime incomes predicted to result from greater levels of cognitive performance are only slightly above those reported in prior studies but the effects are heterogeneous, with larger relative and absolute increases, in most models, for nonwhites or Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites, and higher relative but not absolute returns for women than men.
    JEL: J23 J24 J31 J38
    Date: 2016–07
  14. By: Brian Jacob; Jesse Rothstein
    Abstract: Economists often use test scores to measure a student’s performance or an adult’s human capital. These scores reflect non-trivial decisions about how to measure and scale student achievement, with important implications for secondary analyses. For example, the scores computed in several major testing regimes, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), depend not only on the examinees’ responses to test items, but also on their background characteristics, including race and gender. As a consequence, if a black and white student respond identically to questions on the NAEP assessment, the reported ability for the black student will be lower than for the white student—reflecting the lower average performance of black students. This can bias many secondary analyses. Other assessments use different measurement models. This paper aims to familiarize applied economists with the construction and properties of common cognitive score measures and the implications for research using these measures.
    JEL: C8 I2
    Date: 2016–07
  15. By: Sarid, Assaf; Eckstein, Zvi; Tamir, Yuli (Yael)
    Abstract: Incredible policy attention has been given to the claim that an increase in the quality of education as measuredby international tests (e.g. PISA tests) has a significant impact on the GDP long-run growth rate (Hanushek and Woessmann, 2015). This study is based mostly on aggregate data from the second half of the century, and never addresses the question of the current paper, which is whether the impact of the quality of cognitive skills affects the level of GDP per capita or the long run growth rate. Focusing on this question, we construct a variant standard growth model in which cognitive skills have theoretically both a level and growth rate effects by assumption. Estimating this model using standard cross-country data and panel data, cognitive skills measured by the methodology of Hanushek and Woessmann (2015) have a significant level effect on GDP but not a growth effect. Therefore, the cognitive skills improvement impact economic growth is bounded.
    Keywords: Education and Economic Development; Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Human Capital
    JEL: I20 I25 O15 O47
    Date: 2016–08
  16. By: Ali, Amjad; Bibi, Chan
    Abstract: This study has analyzed the determinants of social progress in the presence of macroeconomic instability in Pakistan over the period of 1980 to 2015. Under-five survival rate is used for measuring social progress and a comprehensive macroeconomic instability index is constructed by incorporating inflation rate, unemployment rate, budget deficit and trade deficit. Augmented Dickey-Fuller (ADF), Philips-Perron (PP) and Dickey-Fuller Generalized Least Square (DF-GLS) unit root tests are used for examining the stationarity of the variables. ARDL bound testing approach is used for co-integration among the variables of the model. Granger causality test is used for causal relationship among variables of the model. The estimated results of the study show that macroeconomic instability has negative and significant impact on under-five survival rate in Pakistan. The results reveal that female education, family planning & health cares and availability of food have positive and significant impact on under-five survival rate in Pakistan. Hence, for increasing social progress there is dire need of stable macroeconomic environment. Moreover, for increasing social progress much attention should be paid on female education, family planning & health cares and availability of food in Pakistan.
    Keywords: social progress, macroeconomic instability, Pakistan
    JEL: A13 E60
    Date: 2016
  17. By: Lergetporer, Philipp (University of Munich); Schwerdt, Guido (University of Konstanz); Werner, Katharina (University of Munich); Woessmann, Ludger (University of Munich)
    Abstract: The electorates’ lack of information about the extent of public spending may cause misalignments between voters’ preferences and the size of government. We devise a series of representative survey experiments in Germany that randomly provide treatment groups with information on current spending levels. Results show that such information strongly reduces support for public spending in various domains from social security to defense. Data on prior information status on school spending and teacher salaries shows that treatment effects are strongest for those who initially underestimated spending levels, indicating genuine information effects rather than pure priming effects. Information on spending requirements also reduces support for specific education reforms. Preferences on spending across education levels are also malleable to information.
    Keywords: public spending, information, preferences, education spending, survey experiment JEL Classification: H11, D83, D72, H52, I22, P16
    Date: 2016
  18. By: Barra, Cristian; Maietta, Ornella Wanda; Zotti, Roberto
    Abstract: According to the National Innovation System (NIS) approach, the innovative capabilities of a firm are explained by its interactions with other national agents involved in the innovation process and by formal and informal rules that regulate the system. This paper intends to verify how product and process innovation in the European food and drink industry are affected by: i) the NIS structure in terms of universities vs public research labs, faculties/department mix and size; ii) the NIS output in terms of WoS indexed publications vs the supply of graduates; iii) the NIS fragmentation and coordination and iv) the NIS scientific impact and specialisation.The source of data on firm innovation is the EU-EFIGE/Bruegel-UniCredit dataset supplemented by information from the International Handbook of Universities, Eurostat and the bibliometric analysis of academic research quality. The results obtained suggest that large size of public research institutions are detrimental to interactions between university and industry and the indicators used for public research assessment are not appropriate proxies of local knowledge spillovers.
    Keywords: university–industry interaction, firm R&D collaboration, product and process innovation, academic research quality, university education, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, O3, I23, D22, R1,
    Date: 2016–06–17
  19. By: Friedericke von Haaren-Giebel
    Abstract: This paper assesses educational attainment of immigrant children, in particular evaluating whether naturalised parents invest more in their children’s human capital than non-naturalised parents. Findings of the literature indicate that citizenship is associated with lower return migration probability. Since the returns to investments in (country-specific) human capital increase with the duration of residence, naturalised parents may have more incentives to invest in the educational success of their children. I exploit a natural experiment that took place in Germany in the year 2000 that reduced the required years of residence for naturalisation from 15 to 8 and therefore exogenously increased naturalisation. Multivariate estimations (based on the German Socio-Economic Panel) show a positive and significant correlation between parents’ citizenship status and their children’s educational attainment. Results of difference-in-differences and instrumental variable models are also positive but not significant.
    Keywords: Citizenship, integration, education, SOEP
    JEL: J15 J24 I24
    Date: 2016
  20. By: Juan Javier Santos Ochoa (Division of Economics, CIDE)
    Abstract: En este trabajo se calcula el grado de desigualdad de oportunidades en educación e ingresos laborales en México, esto es, la parte de la desigualdad total que puede considerarse injusta porque se debe a circunstancias que los individuos no tienen bajo su control. Se usan datos de personas entre 25 y 64 años provenientes de la Encuesta de Movilidad Social de México 2011 y se construyen índices que miden la desigualdad entre grupos de personas que tienen diferentes características de origen social. Los resultados obtenidos indican que un poco más de la tercera parte de la desigualdad en los años de escolaridad y la quinta parte de la desigualdad en los ingresos laborales observados en los datos se debe a la desigualdad de oportunidades. En general, el grado de desigualdad de oportunidades es más alto en las mujeres que en los hombres.
    Keywords: desigualdad, desigualdad económica, educación, ingreso laboral, México
    JEL: D31 I21 I24 J62
    Date: 2016–06
  21. By: Dale W. Jorgenson; Mun S. Ho; Jon D. Samuels
    Abstract: Labor quality growth captures the upgrading of the labor force through higher educational attainment and greater experience. Our first finding is that average levels of educational attainment of new entrants will remain high, but will no longer continue to rise, so that growing educational attainment will gradually disappear as a source of U.S. economic growth. Our second finding is that the investment boom of 1995-2000 drew many younger and less-educated workers into employment. Participation rates for these workers declined during the recovery of 2000-2007 and dropped further during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. In order to assess the prospects for recovery of participation as a potential source U.S. economic growth, we project the participation rates of each age-gender-education group. Our third finding is that the recovery of participation rates will provide an important opportunity for the revival of U.S. economic growth. Participation rates for less-educated workers are unlikely to recover the peak levels that followed the investment boom of 1995-2000. However, these rates can achieve the levels that preceded the Great Recession. While labor quality will grow more slowly, hours worked will grow much faster.
    JEL: E01 E24 O4 O47
    Date: 2016–07
  22. By: Pleijt, Alexandra M. de (London School of Economics and Utrecht University); Nuvolari, Alessandro (Sant’ Anna School of Advanced Studies); Weisdorf, Jacob (University of Southern Denmark, CEPR and CAGE)
    Abstract: This paper explores the effect of technological change on human capital formation during the early phases of England’s Industrial Revolution. Following the methodology used in Franck and Galor (2016), we consider the adoption of steam engines as an indicator of technical change, examining the correlation between industrialisation and human capital by performing cross-sectional regression analyses using county-level variation in the number of steam engines installed in England by 1800. Using exogenous variation in carboniferous rock strata as an instrument for the regional distribution of steam engines, we find that technological change as captured by steam technology significantly improved the average working skills of the labour force. In particular, places with more steam engines had lower shares of unskilled workers and higher shares of highly-skilled mechanical workmen deemed important by Mokyr (2005) in the Industrial Revolution. Technological change was, however, not conducive to elementary education. Literacy rates and school enrollment rates were not systematically different in places with more steam engines. This diverse response to new technology highlights the ambiguous effects of early industrialisation on the formation of human capital.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Education, Human Capital, Industrialisation, Technological Progress, Steam Engines JEL Classification: J82, N33, O14, O33
    Date: 2016
  23. By: Katherine Michelmore; Susan Dynarski
    Abstract: Gaps in educational achievement between high- and low-income children are growing. Administrative datasets maintained by states and districts lack information about income but do indicate whether a student is eligible for subsidized school meals. We leverage the longitudinal structure of these datasets to develop a new measure of persistent economic disadvantage. Half of 8th graders in Michigan are eligible for a subsidized meal, but just 14 percent have been eligible for subsidized meals in every grade since kindergarten. These children score 0.94 standard deviations below those never eligible for subsidies and 0.23 below those occasionally eligible. There is a negative, linear relationship between grades spent in economic disadvantage and 8th grade test scores. This is not an exposure effect: the relationship is almost identical in 3rd grade, before children have been differentially exposed to five more years of economic disadvantage. Survey data show that the number of years that a child will spend eligible for subsidized lunch is negatively correlated with her current household income. Years eligible for subsidized meals can therefore be used as a reasonable proxy for income. Our proposed measure can be used in evaluations to estimate heterogeneous effects, to improve value-added calculations, and to better target resources.
    JEL: I24 I28 I32
    Date: 2016–07

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