nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2016‒12‒11
23 papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Studying science: the impact of school curriculum on degree choice By Marta De Philippis
  2. Do good primary schools perform even better as academies? By Joe Regan-Stansfield
  3. How universities boost economic growth By Anna Valero; John Van Reenen
  4. France’s Almost Public Private Schools. By Bertola, Giuseppe
  5. Education Politics, Schooling Choice and Public School Quality: The Impact of Income Polarisation By Majda Benzidia; Michel Lubrano; Paolo Melindi-Ghidi
  6. Price Regulation, Price Discrimination, and Equality of Opportunity in Higher Education: Evidence from Texas By Rodney Andrews; Kevin Stange
  7. Making the One Percent: The Role of Elite Universities and Elite Peers By Seth D. Zimmerman
  8. Exploring the effect of financial literacy courses on student achievement: a cross-country approach using PISA 2012 data By Cordero, José Manuel; Gil, María; Pedraja Chaparro, Francisco
  9. Parental Beliefs and Investment in Children: The Distortionary Impact of Schools By Josh Kinsler; Ronni Pavan
  10. Primary academies in England By Andrew Eyles; Stephen Machin; Sandra McNally
  11. Fostering entrepreneurial education in Agribusiness through experiential learning By Cavicchi, Alessio; Rinaldi, Chiara; Santini, Cristina
  12. On the Interpretation of Non-Cognitive Skills: What Is Being Measured and Why It Matters By Humphries, John Eric; Kosse, Fabian
  13. PISA 2015 Results in Focus By OECD
  14. (Non)Randomization: A Theory of Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of School Quality By Yusuki Narita
  15. Determinants of Job Search Success of German Agricultural Sciences Graduates By Anonymous
  16. Performance Information and Personnel Decisions in the Public Sector: The Case of School Principals By Julie Berry Cullen; Eric A. Hanushek; Gregory Phelan; Steven G. Rivkin
  17. Regular Information and Health: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Undergraduate Students. By Marianne Bernatzky; José María Cabrera; Alejandro Cid
  18. Which degrees do students prefer during recessions? By Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Goulas, Sofoklis
  19. Educational Expenditure of Large States in India : A normative approach By Brahmachari, Deborshi
  20. Free Primary Education, Schooling, and Fertility: Evidence from Ethiopia By Chicoine, Luke E.
  21. The Effect of Early Education on Social Preferences By Alexander W. Cappelen; John A. List; Anya Samek; Bertil Tungodden
  22. The Effects of Computers on Children's Social Development and School Participation: Evidence from a Randomized Control Experiment By Fairlie, Robert W.; Kalil, Ariel
  23. To Stay or Leave? Migration decisions of foreign students in Japan By LIU Yang

  1. By: Marta De Philippis
    Abstract: An educational reform in England in 2004 that entitled higher ability school students to take the so-called 'triple science'course contributed a third of the increased share of STEM graduates in England 2005-10. That is the central finding of research by Marta De Philippis, which explores whether greater exposure to science at secondary school can encourage more young people to study for degrees in STEM subjects. She finds that taking more science courses at school does indeed encourage students to enrol in STEM degrees. But the effect of stronger school science preparation on STEM degrees is concentrated among boys.
    Keywords: university education, high school curriculum, stem
    JEL: J16 J24 I28 I21
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Joe Regan-Stansfield
    Abstract: A current English education policy is to encourage all state primary schools to become academies: state-funded, non-selective, and highly autonomous establishments. Primary schools have been able to opt-in to academy status since 2010 and academies now account for twenty-one per-cent of the primary sector. This paper investigates the causal effect of voluntary academy conversion on primary school assessment outcomes, and on entry-year intake composition. Unlike existing evidence focused on earlier academies formed from failing secondary schools, no evidence is found of an academy conversion effect on attainment for the average pupil, although pupils with special educational needs do perform better in reading tests after academy conversion. There is no evidence that academy conversion affects the composition of the entry-year intake.
    Keywords: School Type, School Autonomy, Primary Education
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Anna Valero; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: The expansion of higher education has helped to fuel economic growth around the world, according to research by Anna Valero and John Van Reenen. Analysing data on 15,000 universities in 78 countries for the period since 1950, they find that there is a strong positive impact of university expansion on regional economic growth. Doubling the number of universities in a region raises future GDP per capita by 4%. Focusing on the immediate challenges for the UK, they note that the benefits of university expansion far outweigh the costs, but Brexit poses significant risks. Until now, UK universities have thrived in a climate of openness to international students, academics and collaboration.
    Keywords: universities, growth, human capital, innovation
    JEL: I23 I25 J24 O10 O31
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Bertola, Giuseppe (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper uses a large and detailed dataset to characterize the enrolment and educational performance of regulated and subsidized French private schools. Individual ability reduces the probability of private secondary schooling. Structural models indeed find that both observable and unobservable initial ability matter less in private than in State schools for successful secondary school completion and access to tertiary education.
    Date: 2016–12
  5. By: Majda Benzidia (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Michel Lubrano (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales); Paolo Melindi-Ghidi (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)
    Abstract: Do communities with the same level of inequality but a different level of income polarisation perform differently in terms of public schooling? To answer this question, we extend the theoretical model of schooling choice and voting developed by de la Croix and Doepke (2009), introducing a more general income distribution characterised by a three-member mixture instead of a single uniform distribution. We show that not only income inequality, but also income polarisation, matters in explaining disparities in public education quality across communities. Public schooling is an important issue for the middle class, which is more inclined to pay higher taxes in return for better public schools. Contrastingly, poorer households may be less concerned about public education, while rich parents are more willing to opt-out of the public system, sending their children to private schools. Using micro-data covering 724 school districts of California and introducing a new measure of income polarisation, we find that school quality in low-income districts depends mainly on income polarisation, while in richer districts it depends mainly on income inequality.
    Keywords: schooling choice,income polarisation,probabilistic voting,education politics,Bayesian inference
    Date: 2016–11
  6. By: Rodney Andrews; Kevin Stange
    Abstract: This paper assesses the importance of price regulation and price discrimination to low-income students' access to opportunities in public higher education. Following a policy change in the state of Texas that shifted tuition-setting authority away from the state legislature to the governing board of each public university, most institutions raised sticker prices and many began charging more for high-return undergraduate majors, such as business and engineering. We use administrative data on Texas public university students from 2000 to 2009 matched to earnings records, financial aid, and new measures of tuition and resources at a program level to assess how deregulation affected the representation of disadvantaged students in high-return institutions and majors in the state. We find that poor students actually shifted towards higher-return programs following deregulation, relative to non-poor students. Deregulation facilitated more price discrimination by increasing grant aid for low-income students and also enabled supply-side enhancements such as more spending per student, which may have partially offset the detrimental effects of higher sticker price. The Texas experience suggests that providing institutions more autonomy over pricing and increasing sticker prices need not diminish the opportunities available to disadvantaged students.
    JEL: I21 I22 I24 I26 I28
    Date: 2016–12
  7. By: Seth D. Zimmerman
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of elite college admission on students' chances of attaining top positions in the economy, and explores the importance of peer ties as an underlying mechanism. I combine administrative data on income and the census of directors and top managers at publicly traded firms with a regression discontinuity design based on admissions rules at elite business-focused degree programs in Chile. Admission to elite programs raises the number of firm leadership positions students hold by 50% and the share with incomes in the top 0.1% of the distribution by 45%. Effects are larger for students from high-tuition private high school backgrounds and near zero for students from other backgrounds. Consistent with the hypothesis that peer ties play an important role in driving the observed effects, private high school students admitted to top universities become more likely to work in leadership roles with peers from similar backgrounds, but no more likely to work with non-peers from the same program in different cohorts or different programs in the same field.
    JEL: I24 I26
    Date: 2016–12
  8. By: Cordero, José Manuel; Gil, María; Pedraja Chaparro, Francisco
    Abstract: The aim of this research is to explore whether the deployment of specialized courses on basic financial concepts at schools has a significant impact on how able students are to apply the knowledge and skills that they learn to real-life situations involving financial issues and decision making. To do this, we exploit the rich set of comparative data about the countries participating in the PISA 2012 financial literacy assessment. This includes 18 of the 70 countries participating in this wave of PISA. Our empirical analysis is based on a difference-in-differences approach comparing the results of the same students across two subjects (financial literacy and reading). We assume that the distribution of students across schools does not depend on the provision of financial education. Thus we can estimate the effect of the treatment as the difference between the performance of students at schools that offer or do not offer financial education courses. Our results suggest that such courses have a significant and positive effect on student achievement regardless of the strategy applied to teach financial concepts.
    Keywords: Education policy, Cross-country study, Financial literacy, Difference-in-differences
    JEL: C40 C55 I21
    Date: 2016–12
  9. By: Josh Kinsler (University of Georgia); Ronni Pavan (Rochester University)
    Abstract: Parental investments in early childhood have been shown to have a large impact on skill acquisition. In this paper, we examine how beliefs about a child's relative skill influences investment and how these beliefs are determined. Using data from the ECLS-K, we first show that parental beliefs about a child's skill relative to children of the same age is distorted by a child's skill relative to children in the same school. In other words, parents of children attending schools with high (low) average skills tend to believe their child is lower (higher) in the overall skill distribution. We then show that beliefs about a child's skill relative to children of the same age affects parental investments such as helping with homework or hiring a tutor. Thus, parents are making important investment decisions using inaccurate information. Building off our descriptive findings, we develop a model of parental investment that incorporates uncertainty about the average skill level of similarly aged children. We estimate the model using indirect inference and perform a set of counterfactuals where parents are fully informed about the average skill level in the population. We find that investment and achievement rise by a considerable amount for students at the bottom of the skill distribution. The mechanism behind this result is that parents of children in relatively low achieving schools revise upward their beliefs about the average child in the population, inducing an investment response.
    Keywords: parental investments, skill development, parental bias
    JEL: J13 D10 J24
    Date: 2016–11
  10. By: Andrew Eyles; Stephen Machin; Sandra McNally
    Abstract: Attendance at a primary academy leads to no discernible improvement in pupils' test scores, according to research by Andrew Eyles, Stephen Machin and Sandra McNally. This suggests that further extension of the academies programme into primary schools is unlikely to improve education in England. The researchers note that since a majority of secondary schools in England are now academies, any further 'academisation' will be concentrated in the primary sector. So the time is ripe for this first comprehensive evaluation of primary academies' effectiveness at raising pupils' achievement. The evidence suggests that primary academies have been less effective than the disadvantaged secondary schools that thrived in the first wave of academies.
    Keywords: academies, pupil performance, primary education
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2016–12
  11. By: Cavicchi, Alessio; Rinaldi, Chiara; Santini, Cristina
    Abstract: This work examines the relationship between experiential learning and entrepreneurial education in the Agribusiness field. After having outlined the challenges that higher education has to meet business and students’ needs, the work outlines emerging insights from research that contributse to underline how effective could be an academic approach focused on experience. An overview of the latest development in the methodological field is presented; the paper, finally introduces the measures and initiative undertaken at the European level for promoting entrepreneurial education and initiatives by implementing experiential learning methods.
    Keywords: Agribusiness,
    Date: 2015–05
  12. By: Humphries, John Eric (University of Chicago); Kosse, Fabian (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Across academic sub-fields such as labor, education, and behavioral economics, the measurement and interpretation of non-cognitive skills varies widely. As a result, it is difficult to compare results on the importance of non-cognitive skills across literatures. Drawing from these literatures, this paper systematically relates various prototypical non-cognitive measures within one data set. Specifically, we estimate and compare several different strategies for measuring non-cognitive skills. For each, we compare their relative effectiveness at predicting educational success and decompose what is being measured into underlying personality traits and economic preferences. We demonstrate that the construction of the non-cognitive factor greatly influences what is actually measured and what conclusions are reached about the role of non-cognitive skills in life outcomes such as educational attainment. Furthermore, we demonstrate that, while sometimes difficult to interpret, factors extracted from self-reported behaviors can have predictive power similar to well established taxonomies, such as the Big Five.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills, personality, preferences, educational success
    JEL: J24 I20 D03 D90
    Date: 2016–11
  13. By: OECD
    Abstract: Over the past decade, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, has become the world’s premier yardstick for evaluating the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems. This special issue of the PISA in Focus series highlights the results of the first two volumes of the PISA 2015 initial report: Excellence and Equity in Education; and Policies and Practices for Successful Schools.
    Date: 2016–12–09
  14. By: Yusuki Narita (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: In centralized school admissions systems, rationing at oversubscribed schools often uses lotteries in addition to preferences. This partly random assignment is used by empirical researchers to identify the effect of entering a school on outcomes like test scores. This paper formally studies if the two most popular empirical research designs successfully extract a random assignment. For a class of data-generating mechanisms containing those used in practice, I show: One research design extracts a random assignment under a mechanism if and almost only if the mechanism is strategy-proof for schools. In contrast, the other research design does not necessarily extract a random assignment under any mechanism.
    Keywords: Matching Market Design, Natural Experiment, Program Evaluation, Random Assignment, Quasi-Experimental Research Design, School Eectiveness
    Date: 2016–12
  15. By: Anonymous
    Abstract: This paper shows how job search success, measured as search duration and entry salary, is affected directly or indirectly by personal and process as well as structural characteristics. A specific focus is on the relevance of practical experience which is claimed to be a key feature of employability. While self‐assessed practical and namely international experience is positively related to salary, but not to search duration, the number and duration of internships does not affect job search success. Results are relevant for higher education institutions to develop their curricula, for students to prepare for job search, and for employers to understand the genesis of employability and their potential means to impact it.
    Keywords: talent management, employability, practical experience, search behaviour, ordinal regression, Agribusiness,
    Date: 2015–05
  16. By: Julie Berry Cullen; Eric A. Hanushek; Gregory Phelan; Steven G. Rivkin
    Abstract: Firms and other organizations establish the criteria under which employees will be judged and the performance measures made available to supervisors, the board of directors and other stakeholders, and these structures almost certainly influence behavior and organization outcomes. Any divergence of the chosen performance metric from an ideal measurement of productivity may lead to suboptimal outcomes, particularly in the public sector where outside interest groups may rely more heavily on easily accessible ratings than better-informed insiders. In the case of public education, federal and state accountability systems provide considerable information about student outcomes and rate schools on that basis. However, the No Child Left Behind accountability legislation’s focus on pass rates rather than learning and achievement growth introduces the possibility that inadequate information and a flawed structure each compromise public school quality. This study of school principal labor market outcomes investigates the relationship between principal labor market success and a set of performance measures that differ on the basis of accessibility to stakeholders and link with true principal productivity. The results from the empirical analysis provide evidence that information and design deficiencies introduce a lack of alignment between incentives and principal productivity and adversely affect the quality of education in Texas public schools.
    JEL: H75 I20 I21 I28 J18 J45
    Date: 2016–12
  17. By: Marianne Bernatzky; José María Cabrera; Alejandro Cid
    Abstract: We run a randomized controlled trial with the aim of evaluating the effects of a health seminar complemented with weekly reminders on health outcomes. Our research design exploits the excess of applicants over the intervention capacity. In this 4-month intervention with undergraduate students, we provide information on preventive behaviors and healthy habits and on how to modify personal behaviors that could derive in chronical illnesses. We find that all students who were subject to the treatment improved their knowledge relative to the control group. But they were not able to translate it into healthier behaviors, neither self-reported nor objectively measured by a physician. We hypothesize that high discount rates, overconfidence and the lack of complementary inputs may explain our findings.
    Keywords: randomized trial; exercise; healthy habits; text message
  18. By: Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Goulas, Sofoklis
    Abstract: We examine how changes in the unemployment rate affect demand for college education, demand for different fields of university study and degrees' admission thresholds. We use panel data for applications submitted to the universe of undergraduate programs in Greece that span seven rounds of admission cohorts combined with a degree-specific job insecurity index, and time series on youth (ages 18-25) unemployment. We find that degree- and major-specific job insecurity turns applicants away from degrees and majors that are associated with poor employment prospects. Results indicate that the steep increase in the unemployment rate that started in 2009 is associated with an increase in the number of college applicants. The effect is heterogeneous across fields, with an increase in the demand for degrees in Psychology as well as for entrance to Naval, Police and Military Academies, and a decrease in the demand for degrees in Business and Management. We also find that the business cycle changes degrees' admission thresholds by affecting their popularity.
    Keywords: demand for education, college major, unemployment, job insecurity, admission thresholds
    JEL: I21 I23 I26 J44
    Date: 2016–12–01
  19. By: Brahmachari, Deborshi
    Abstract: Using the panel data for 15 large Indian states over the period of 3 years: 2005-2006 to 2007-08, this analysis employs pooled panel data models to estimate the average (normative) levels of expenditure on primary, secondary and higher education. Pooled panel data regression allows comparison between heterogeneous units. The inclusion of cross section data adds variability there by, reducing collinearity among variables and degrees of freedom are also enhanced. Pooling of time series and cross section data helps estimation of average responses underlining a given relationship. (Dielman, 1989; Rao 2000). The paper proceeds from the supply side (cost) and attempts to estimate the average / normative expenditure levels.
    Keywords: Education Expenditure, Expenditure Function, Pooled regression models
    JEL: H52
    Date: 2016–01
  20. By: Chicoine, Luke E. (DePaul University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal relationship between women's education and fertility by exploiting variation generated by the removal of school fees in Ethiopia. The increase in schooling caused by this reform is identified using both geographic variation in the intensity of the reform's impact and the temporal variation generated by the implementation of the reform. The model finds that the removal of school fees in Ethiopia led to an increase of over 1.5 years of schooling for women affected by the reform. A two-stage least squares approach is used to measure the impact of the exogenous increase in schooling on fertility. Each additional year of schooling led to a reduction in fertility, a delay in sexual activity, marriage, and the timing of at least their first, second, and third births. There is also evidence that the increase in schooling led to improved labor market outcomes, and a reduction in the desired number of children. Additionally, there is evidence of strategic use of hidden forms of contraception, only after family size becomes sufficiently large or after two sons have been born.
    Keywords: free primary education, Ethiopia, schooling, fertility
    JEL: O55 J13 I25 I26
    Date: 2016–11
  21. By: Alexander W. Cappelen; John A. List; Anya Samek; Bertil Tungodden
    Abstract: We present results from the first study to examine the causal impact of early childhood education on social preferences of children. We compare children who, at 3-4 years old, were randomized into either a full-time preschool, a parenting program with incentives, or to a control group. We returned to the same children when they reached 7-8 years old and conducted a series of incentivized experiments to elicit their social preferences. We find that early childhood education has a strong causal impact on social preferences several years after the intervention: attending preschool makes children more egalitarian in their fairness view and the parenting program enhances the importance children place on efficiency relative to fairness. Our findings highlight the importance of taking a broad perspective when designing and evaluating early childhood educational programs, and provide evidence of how differences in institutional exposure may contribute to explaining heterogeneity in social preferences in society.
    JEL: C9 C93 D01
    Date: 2016–12
  22. By: Fairlie, Robert W. (University of California, Santa Cruz); Kalil, Ariel (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: Concerns over the perceived negative impacts of computers on social development among children are prevalent but largely uninformed by plausibly causal evidence. We provide the first test of this hypothesis using a large-scale randomized control experiment in which more than one thousand children attending grades 6-10 across 15 different schools and 5 school districts in California were randomly given computers to use at home. Children in the treatment group are more likely to report having a social networking site, but also report spending more time communicating with their friends and interacting with their friends in person. There is no evidence that computer ownership displaces participation in after-school activities such as sports teams or clubs or reduces school participation and engagement.
    Keywords: computers, ICT, education, social development, school participation, experiment
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2016–11
  23. By: LIU Yang
    Abstract: This study examines the determinants of binary choice with respect to the migration decisions of foreign students in Japan (i.e., whether they choose to remain in the country following graduation). A binary choice model of qualitative choice analysis was employed based on individual-level data obtained from a survey that was distributed to seven Japanese universities. Four groups of determinants regarding migration decisions among foreign students were examined; these addressed economic factors, culture and language, motivation to study abroad, and personal characteristics. Significant effects were not identified for economic factors (i.e., income, living conditions); in contrast, culture contributed significantly to students' migration decisions. Moreover, low levels of Japanese language proficiency proved to be a barrier to retaining foreign students.
    Date: 2016–11

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