nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2017‒02‒19
seventeen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Stratified higher education,social mobility at the top and efficiency: The case of the French ‘Grandes écoles’ By Hellier, Joël
  2. University Selectivity and the Graduate Wage Premium: Evidence from the UK By Walker, Ian; Zhu, Yu
  3. Denial of academic freedom exposed: the case of academics for peace in Turkey By Ugur, Mehmet
  4. Cohort Changes in Educational Pathways and Returns to Education By Zimmermann, Markus; Fitzenberger, Bernd; Osikominu, Aderonke
  5. Market Reform and School Competition: The Lesson from Sweden By Wennström, Johan
  6. Denominational Schools and Returns to Education - Gender Socialization in Multigrade Classrooms? By Gerhardts, Ilka; Sunde, Uwe; Zierow, Larissa
  7. Student Academic Performance and Professional Training Year By Panagiotis Arsenis; Miguel Flores
  8. Additional Career Assistance and Educational Outcomes for Students in Lower Track Secondary Schools By Fitzenberger, Bernd; Licklederer, Stefanie
  9. Measuring Loan Outcomes at Postsecondary Institutions: Cohort Repayment Rates as an Indicator of Student Success and Institutional Accountability By Tiffany Chou; Adam Looney; Tara Watson
  10. The Youngest Get the Pill: ADHD Misdiagnosis and the Production of Education in Germany By Wuppermann, Amelie; Schwandt, Hannes
  11. Quality in Early Years Settings and Children’s School Achievement By Jo Blanden; Kistine Hansen; Sandra McNally
  12. The fall and rise of inequality By Schäfer, Andreas; Prettner, Klaus
  13. Gender Bias in Education During Conflict Evidence from Assam By Prakarsh Singh; Sutanuka Roy
  14. Parents and Peers: Parental Neighbourhood- and School-Level Variation in Individual Neighbourhood Outcomes over Time By de Vuijst, Elise; van Ham, Maarten
  15. Pathways from school to work in the developing world By Marco Manacorda; Furio Camillo Rosati; Marco Ranzani; Giuseppe Dachille
  16. Combining Behavioral Economics and Field Experiments to Reimagine Early Childhood Education By John List; Anya Samek; Dana Suskind
  17. Changes in Financial Aid and Student Enrollment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities After the Tightening of PLUS Credit Standards: An Update for the 2013/14 School Year By Matthew Johnson; Julie Bruch; Brian Gill

  1. By: Hellier, Joël
    Abstract: We show that the system of ‘Grandes écoles’ (GEs) is a key determinant of social stratification, low intergenerational mobility at the top and low educational efficiency in France. A stylised model of the French higher education system is constructed. This system is composed of two types of establishment, the GEs and the universities, which differ (i) in the strictness and shape of their admission, and (ii) in their per-student expenditures. The GE system is compared with a unified system in which there is one type of establishment only with two successive levels and two admission procedures. The GE system favours family background at the detriment of personal aptitudes, which lessens intergenerational mobility. Rising expenditure on the highest education level favours skill upgrading of the population in the unified system whereas it insulate a narrow elite in the GE system. With similar education expenditures, the unified system results in higher human capital accumulation than the GE system in both the upper skill group and the whole population. Consequently, the GE system hurts both social mobility at the top and human capital accumulation. The simulations show that the former effect is larger than the latter. The US and the UK display tertiary education systems which are close to the GE system in terms of selective admission and results. Our approach provides theoretical bases for the analysis of selective versus comprehensive education systems (Turner, 1960) and a demonstration that highly stratified and selective systems reinforce family backgrounds and reduce mobility (Kirckhoff, 1995).
    Keywords: Education efficiency; Family background; Grandes écoles; Higher education; Intergenerational mobility.
    JEL: I21 I23 I28 J24 J62
    Date: 2017–02
  2. By: Walker, Ian (Lancaster University); Zhu, Yu (University of Dundee)
    Abstract: We study the relative labour market wage outcomes of university graduates in the UK using the Labour Force Survey (LFS), matched to mean standardised admission scores at the institution*subject*cohort level using data on high school achievement scores of students admitted to these courses. Unlike earlier UK studies, we are able to consider the effect of differences in undergraduate degree subjects, degree class, and in particular the selectivity of the subject at the Higher Education Institution (HEI) attended. Our results show that selectivity of undergraduate degree programmes plays an important role in explaining the variation in the graduate wage premium across HEIs and subjects. In fact, much of the observed differential in relative wage outcomes across institutions*subjects is due to the quality of students that HEIs select.
    Keywords: college selectivity, graduate wage premium
    JEL: I23 I26
    Date: 2017–01
  3. By: Ugur, Mehmet
    Abstract: Lack of academic freedom has always been a hallmark of the Turkish higher education system. Any de facto respect for it has been wrenched from the Turkish state apparatus (including the government, the military and the YÖK) as a result of resistance by academics and students alike. A salient fact about Turkish higher education is that universities that have toed the government line have remained poor performers, whereas those where staff and students showed resistance to state intrusion have done better in terms of research quality, graduate employability and international recognition. Nevertheless, successive AKP governments since 2003, with Erdoğan as prime minister or president, have been determined to maintain the long-standing state tutelage over Turkey’s higher education system. The expected prize is the production of graduates disposed to submit to authority – particularly state authority – without much questioning.
    Keywords: Academic freedom; higher education; Turkey
    Date: 2016–05
  4. By: Zimmermann, Markus; Fitzenberger, Bernd; Osikominu, Aderonke
    Abstract: This paper analyzes educational pathways of West German birth cohorts 1957 to 1986. We use a new data set including survey data with detailed information on educational biographies linked to administrative social security records. We find a strong expansion of higher secondary school degrees over time, which is mostly driven by changes in social-background characteristics, in particular rising parental education and a decrease in family size. Moreover, a sizeable share of those pupils that had a lower or middle secondary degree as their first degree upgrade to the next school degree, suggesting that the German education system provides ``second chances" to revise decisions made after early tracking at age 10. However, these upgraders are less likely to continue with university education, and they also tend to have lower earnings premia than students who obtained the degree on the direct path. Finally, concerning labour market returns, we find rising inequality in employment and earnings at the bottom of the education distribution, i.e. between lower and middle secondary graduates, as well as rising returns to tertiary compared to vocational education.
    JEL: I20 I26 J24
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Wennström, Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: In a radical school choice reform in 1992, Sweden’s education system was opened to private competition from independent for-profit and non-profit schools funded by vouchers. Competition was expected to produce higher-quality education at lower cost, in both independent and public schools. This article analyzes whether the school choice reform was institutionally secured against school competition based on phenomena that are unrelated with educational quality. Interviews with key personalities reveal that the architects of the reform overemphasized the virtues of market reforms and therefore did not deem it necessary to establish appropriate rules and institutions for school competition. Instead, ill-conceived grading and curriculum reforms paved the way for moral hazard resulting in grade inflation and other forms of unintended school competition. The lesson from Sweden’s experience is that market reforms of public services production, particularly those that introduce for-profit producers, must account for how institutions and incentive structures affect behaviour.
    Keywords: School choice; grade inflation; institutions; hazardous adjustment
    JEL: D02 D62 I28
    Date: 2016–12–05
  6. By: Gerhardts, Ilka; Sunde, Uwe; Zierow, Larissa
    Abstract: Denominational schools are an important provider of education in many countries around the world. Due to their focus, these schools often operate with multigrade classes, in which more than one age cohort is taught in one classroom. Multigrade classes are a cost-effective way to provide education and play a crucial role in education policy in the context of demographic change. This paper presents estimates of the causal effect of attending denominational schools with multigrade classes on schooling and short-run labor market outcomes. The analysis combines administrative records of schools with comprehensive population census data, and exploits the abolition of denominational schools in the Saarland, a German state, in 1969, for identification of the effect. The findings document significantly detrimental effects on final grade attainment, labor market participation and socioeconomic mobility. Notably, the negative impact is most pronounced in the outcomes of girls. Disentangling the confounding role of variation between Catholic and Protestant schools suggests that this effect might be driven by socialization early in life.
    JEL: I26 I28 I21
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Panagiotis Arsenis (University of Surrey); Miguel Flores (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between students' academic performance and work experience during their undergraduate studies. The econometric analysis based on a sample of students from the School of Economics at the University of Surrey shows that the average of rst-year marks is positively related to securing a placement year. The mean predicted probability of obtaining a placement position is approximately 50% if a student's average rst-year grade is 50, and the probability rises to 67% and 80% if the student achieves an average of 60 and 70, respectively. Other relevant factors that a ect the likelihood of securing a placement are the type of programme of studies, the student's nationality and ethnic group. On the other hand, school type and A- levels scores in mathematics or in economics have no e ect on the chances of securing a placement year.
    Date: 2017–02
  8. By: Fitzenberger, Bernd; Licklederer, Stefanie
    Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of Additional Career Assistance (ACA) on educational outcomes for students in Lower Track Secondary Schools (LTSS) for the area of Freiburg (Germany). The analysis uses individual data during the late 2000's on grades in LTSS and educational outcomes after leaving LTSS. Compared to LTSS students in the surroundings of Freiburg, students in the City of Freiburg receive more intensive information, counselling, and mentoring regarding the school-to-work transition and vocational training (ACA). The goal of ACA is to foster the transition to the labor market. Many LTSS students with good grades participate in additional teaching during the last two years in LTSS, thus preparing themselves for a higher educational degree after leaving LTSS. We investigate the effect of ACA on grade development in LTSS and on educational upgrading after leaving LTSS. Our empirical analysis shows negligible effects of ACA on educational outcomes, which, however, mask quite heterogeneous effects. In fact, educational outcomes worsen (improve) for German students who (do not) participate in additional teaching. We find no significant effects for students with a migration background.
    JEL: I20 J24 J48
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Tiffany Chou; Adam Looney; Tara Watson
    Abstract: Low- and middle-income college borrowers often struggle with economic opportunity and loan burdens after leaving school. However, some institutions, including some non-selective schools, do a good job of providing economic mobility to low-income students. This implies that there is scope for a policy to redirect loan dollars – and therefore students – from low-performing schools to higher-performing ones. Here we define a particular metric of institutional loan performance, the cohort repayment rate, and describe its distribution. We demonstrate that the cohort repayment rate is correlated with other institutional outcomes of interest, and thus could be used as an institutional accountability tool.
    JEL: H52 I22 I23
    Date: 2017–02
  10. By: Wuppermann, Amelie; Schwandt, Hannes
    Abstract: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a leading diagnosed health condition among children in many developed countries but the causes underlying these high levels of ADHD remain highly controversial. Recent research for the U.S., Canada and some European countries shows that children who enter school relatively young have higher ADHD rates than their older peers, suggesting that ADHD may be misdiagnosed in the younger children due to their relative immaturity. Using rich administrative health insurance claims data from Germany we study the effects of relative school entry age on ADHD risk in Europe's largest country and relate the effects for Germany to the international evidence. We further analyze different mechanisms that may drive these effects, focusing on physician supply side and demand side factors stemming from the production of education. We find robust evidence for school-entry age related misdiagnosis of ADHD in Germany. Within Germany and internationally, a higher share of misdiagnoses are related to a higher overall ADHD level, suggesting that misdiagnoses may be a driving factor of high ADHD levels. Furthermore, the effects in Germany seem to be driven by teachers and parents in an attempt to facilitate and improve the production of education.
    JEL: I10 I21 J13
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Jo Blanden; Kistine Hansen; Sandra McNally
    Abstract: Childcare quality is often thought to be important for influencing children's subsequent attainment at school. The English Government regulates the quality of early education by setting minimum levels of qualifications for workers and grading settings based on a national Inspectorate (OfSTED). This paper uses administrative data on over two million children to relate performance on national teacher assessments at ages 5 and 7 to the quality characteristics of the nursery they attended before starting school. Results show that staff qualifications and childcare quality ratings have a weak association with teacher assessments at school, based on comparing children who attended different nurseries but attended the same primary school. Our results suggest that although children's outcomes are related to the nursery they attend, which nurseries are good cannot be predicted by staff qualifications and OfSTED ratings; the measures of quality that Government has focused on.
    Keywords: childcare quality, educational attainment
    JEL: J13 I20
    Date: 2017–02
  12. By: Schäfer, Andreas; Prettner, Klaus
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of higher education on the evolution of inequality. In so doing we propose a novel overlapping generations model with three social classes: the rich, the middle class, and the poor. We show that there is an initial phase in which no social class invests in higher education of their children, such that the evolution of inequality is entirely driven by the level of bequests. Once a certain income threshold is surpassed, the rich start to invest in higher education of their children, which partially crowds out bequests and thereby reduces inequality in the short run. The better educated children of the rich, however, enjoy higher incomes and inequality starts to rise again. As time goes by, the middle class and eventually also the poor start to invest in higher education, but now the increase in inequality is driven by different levels of education. As the economy proceeds towards a balanced growth path, educational differences between social groups and thus inequality decline again. We argue that (1) the proposed mechanism has the potential to explain the u-shaped evolution of inequality in rich countries in the second half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century and (2) the currently observed increase in inequality is rather a transitory phenomenon.
    JEL: I24 I25 O11
    Date: 2016
  13. By: Prakarsh Singh; Sutanuka Roy
    Abstract: Using a large-scale novel panel dataset (2005–14) on schools from the Indian state of Assam, we test for the impact of violent conflict on female students’ enrollment rates. We find that a doubling of average killings in a district-year leads to a 13 per cent drop in girls’ enrollment rate with school fixed effects. Additionally, results remain similar when using an alternative definition of conflict from a different dataset. Gender differential responses are more negative for lower grades, rural schools, poorer districts, and for schools run by local and private unaided bodies.
    Keywords: Conflict; Education; Gender Discrimination; Human Capital; India
    JEL: I2 J1 O1
    Date: 2016–05
  14. By: de Vuijst, Elise (Delft University of Technology); van Ham, Maarten (Delft University of Technology)
    Abstract: There is a link between the socio-economic outcomes of parents and their children over the life course. Intergenerational transmissions were repeatedly shown for socioeconomic characteristics and (dis)advantage, but recently also for residential neighbourhood status. Previous research from the Netherlands, Sweden, and the US shows that children from disadvantaged parental neighbourhoods experience long-term exposure to similar neighbourhoods as adults. However, there are multiple parallel socio-spatial contexts besides the residential space to which individuals are exposed on a daily basis, such as households, schools, and places of work and leisure, which may also influence their outcomes. For children and adolescents, the school environment may be especially important. This study contributes to the literature by examining the joint influence of the parental background, the parental neighbourhood, and a compositional measure of the school environment, on the neighbourhood trajectories of Dutch adolescents after leaving the parental home. We use longitudinal register data from the Netherlands to study a complete cohort of school-going home-leavers, who were followed from 1999 to 2012. We fit cross-classified multilevel models, in order to split up the variance components of schools and parental residential neighbourhoods over time. We find that poverty concentration in the parental neighbourhood plays an important role in determining their children's residential outcomes later in life. Some variation in individual neighbourhood outcomes at the level of the secondary school remains unexplained.
    Keywords: intergenerational neighbourhood effects, secondary school, peer effects, contextual effects, register data
    JEL: I30 J60 P46 R23
    Date: 2017–01
  15. By: Marco Manacorda; Furio Camillo Rosati; Marco Ranzani; Giuseppe Dachille
    Abstract: This paper uses novel micro data from the ILO-STWT surveys to provide evidence on the duration, endpoint, and determinants of the transition from school to work in a sample of 23 low- and middle-income countries around the world. The paper analyzes both transition to the first job and to the first stable job. It also illustrates the effects of several correlates, including age of school leaving, gender, work while attending school, and others on the probability of transition and on its duration. The negative effects of low levels of human capital and high levels of population growth on job finding rates are offset by widespread poverty and lack of unemployment insurance, which lead overall to faster transitions in low-income compared to middle-income economies. By lowering reservation wages and speeding transitions, however, these forces lead to worse matches, as measured by the probability of attaining stable employment in the long run, highlighting the trade-off that policy makers face in developing countries
    Keywords: Transition duration Hazard model Youth unemployment Developing countries School-to-work transition
    JEL: J64 O57
    Date: 2017–01–13
  16. By: John List; Anya Samek; Dana Suskind
    Abstract: Behavioral economics and field experiments within the social sciences have advanced well beyond academic curiosum. Governments around the globe as well as the most powerful firms in modern economies employ staffs of behavioralists and experimentalists to advance and test best practices. In this study, we combine behavioral economics with field experiments to reimagine a new model of early childhood education. Our approach has three distinct features. First, by focusing public policy dollars on prevention rather than remediation, we call for much earlier educational programs than currently conceived. Second, our approach has parents at the center of the education production function rather than at its periphery. Third, we advocate attacking the macro education problem using a public health methodology, rather than focusing on piecemeal advances.
    Date: 2017
  17. By: Matthew Johnson; Julie Bruch; Brian Gill
    Abstract: This follow-up study looks at changes in financial aid and enrollment after the summer of 2013, when the Department of Education changed the appeals process for families denied PLUS loans.
    Keywords: PLUS, Black Colleges, Financial Aid, Student Enrollment
    JEL: I

This nep-edu issue is ©2017 by João Carlos Correia Leitão. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.