nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2017‒07‒02
twenty-one papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Does grade configuration matter for school performance? Short- and long-run effects of school reorganisation By Holmlund, Helena; Böhlmark, Anders
  2. Health effects of instruction intensity: Evidence from a natural experiment in German high-schools By Quis, Johanna Sophie; Reif, Simon
  3. Health Effects of Instruction Intensity: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in German High-Schools By Johanna Sophie Quis; Simon Reif
  4. What a difference a good school makes! Persistence in academic performance and the impact of school quality By Marisa von Fintel; Servaas van der Berg
  5. Meet the need – The role of vocational education and training for the youth labour market By Thomas Bolli; Maria Esther Egg; Ladina Rageth
  6. Do migrants prefer academic to vocational education? The role of rational factors vs. social status considerations in the formation of attitudes toward a particular type of education in Switzerland. By Aurelien Abrasiert; Marius R. Busemeyer; Maria A. Cattaneo; Stefan C. Wolter
  7. Using Machine Learning To Model Interaction Effects In Education: A Graphical Approach By Fritz Schiltz; Chiara Masci; Tommaso Agasisti; Daniel Horn
  8. The Effects of Policies Concerning Teachers’ Wages on Students’ Performance By Julia Varga
  9. Enhancing employability and skills to meet labour market needs in Italy By Paula Garda
  10. The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory High School Math Coursework By Joshua Goodman
  11. Does teacher gender matter in Europe? Evidence from TIMSS data By Zoltán Hermann; Alfa Diallo
  12. Access to and returns from unpaid graduate internships By Holford, Angus
  13. School Management and Public-Private Partnerships in Uganda By Crawfurd, Lee
  14. Can increased education help reduce the political opportunity gap? By Lindgren, Karl-Oskar; Oskarsson, Sven; Persson, Mikael
  15. Community Education Circles in the Lawrence Public Schools: evaluation design and baseline survey data By Bradbury, Katharine L.; Brown, John C.; Burke, Mary A.; Graves, Erin; Triest, Robert K.
  16. Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful? By Dustmann, Christian; Ku, Hyejin; Kwak, Do Won
  17. Grade Expectations: Rationality and Overconfidence By Jan R. Magnus; Anatoly A. Peresetsky
  18. Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC): Descriptive Study of Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (TQRIS) By Gretchen Kirby; Pia Caronongan; Andrea Mraz Esposito; Lauren Murphy; Megan Shoji; Patricia Del Grosso; Wamaitha Kiambuthi; Melissa Clark
  19. Assessment of the Export Potential of the Russian Higher Education System in the Long Term By Krasnova, Gulnara
  20. Education, norms, and gender equality By Ralsmark, Hilda
  21. Italy’s New Requirements for Academic Careers: The New Habilitation and its Worthiness By Giulio Marini

  1. By: Holmlund, Helena (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Böhlmark, Anders (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of school organisation on short- and long-run pupil outcomes, exploiting a policy change that reorganised Swedish middle school education. The reorganisation induced pupils to remain in small local schools throughout grades 1–9, as opposed to making a transition to large middle schools between grades 6 and 7. We find that the reorganisation had large consequences for pupils, who came to attend smaller schools closer to home, whose teachers had lower qualifications. Despite that the previous literature has found that school transitions and school size are important inputs in the education production function, we find no evidence that remaining in a small local school and avoiding a transition to a large middle school had effects on educational outcomes. We reconcile our evidence with the previous literature using a survey which shows that Swedish pupils do not perceive large differences in the school environment between schools of different grade configurations.
    Keywords: grade configuration; educational production; school transitions; school size
    JEL: H52 I21 I28
    Date: 2017–05–18
  2. By: Quis, Johanna Sophie; Reif, Simon
    Abstract: A large literature aims to establish a causal link between education and health using changes in compulsory schooling laws. It is however unclear how well more education is operationalized by marginal increases in school years. We shed a new light on this discussion by analyzing the health effects of a reform in Germany where total years of schooling for students in the academic track were reduced from nine to eight while keeping cumulative teaching hours constant by increasing instruction intensity. The sequential introduction of the reform allows us to implement a triple difference-in-differences estimation strategy with data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. We find that increased weekly instruction time has negative health effects for females while they are still in school. However, after graduation, females even seem to benefit from reduced school years. We find no effects on males' health.
    Keywords: education and health,instruction intensity,natural experiment,SOEP
    JEL: I19 I21 I28
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Johanna Sophie Quis; Simon Reif
    Abstract: A large literature aims to establish a causal link between education and health using changes in compulsory schooling laws. It is however unclear how well more education is operationalized by marginal increases in school years. We shed a new light on this discussion by analyzing the health effects of a reform in Germany where total years of schooling for students in the academic track were reduced from nine to eight while keeping cumulative teaching hours constant by increasing instruction intensity. The sequential introduction of the reform allows us to implement a triple difference-in-differences estimation strategy with data from the German Socio-Economic Panel. We find that increased weekly instruction time has negative health effects for females while they are still in school. However, after graduation, females even seem to benefit from reduced school years. We find no effects on males’ health.
    Keywords: education and health; instruction intensity; natural experiment; SOEP
    JEL: I19 I21 I28
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Marisa von Fintel (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Servaas van der Berg (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: In this paper we utilise a unique longitudinal school dataset from the Western Cape province of South Africa. We first explore the degree of persistence in the academic performance of learners over time in order to illustrate the importance of early detection of poor performance within the system. Thereafter, we make use of the longitudinal nature of the dataset in order to estimate the impact of school quality on academic performance following a fixed effects approach. We find that moving from a weaker school to a top performing school (a school within the top 20% of the performance distribution) is associated with an increase of 28% of a standard deviation in performance in mathematics, which translates to almost 1 additional year of education. For language, the impact is smaller at 6% of a standard deviation. However, this grows to 12% of a standard deviation for the sample of black learners, who might benefit the most from moving to a high performing school where the language used for instruction in all other subjects is taught well. These findings have important policy conclusions within the South African context, where school quality is heterogeneous and the weak performance of schools at the bottom of the performance distribution contribute to the perpetuation of poverty over time.
    Keywords: School quality, school choice, longitudinal data, South Africa
    JEL: I21 I24 I28 J13 O15
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Thomas Bolli (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Maria Esther Egg (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Ladina Rageth (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Abstract: To fight negative trends in the youth labour market, policymakers around the world foster vocational education and training programmes (VET). We therefore investigate how the share of three upper secondary education programmes, i.e. general education, school-based VET, and dual VET, affect the labour market of 15-to24-year-olds. We complement the existing literature by analysing non-linear effects that might arise due to general equilibrium effects. Furthermore, we include ten labour market indicators for integration and job quality. To address unobserved heterogeneity across countries, we run ?xed effects regressions on unbalanced panel data of 35 countries from 2004 to 2014. We ?nd that school-based VET hinders youth labour market integration. In contrast, dual VET improves not only labour market integration but also job quality. However, the positive and negative effects of VET programmes diminish with increasing enrolment rates. Thus, policymakers should consider these different effects in their educational reforms.
    Date: 2017–03
  6. By: Aurelien Abrasiert (University of Bern); Marius R. Busemeyer (University of Konstanz); Maria A. Cattaneo (Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education); Stefan C. Wolter (CESifo, IZA)
    Abstract: Using a unique and original dataset measuring attitudes toward vocational and academic education in Switzerland, we explored differences between Swiss natives and immigrants with regard to individual preferences for these different types of education, and their perceived labor market value and social status. More particularly, we tested the hypothesis that migrants exhibit stronger preferences for academic education and attribute a higher labor market value and social status to this form of education compared to Swiss natives as a result of rational calculations and cultural expectations. As our results indicate, first-generation immigrants do exhibit stronger preferences for academic education and assign a higher labor market value to it, but not necessarily a higher social status, although important differences across distinct groups of migrants can be observed. In general, the rational aspects of distinct types of education as measured by their perceived labor market value appear more relevant for the understanding of the formation of attitudes toward vocational vs. academic education, although the variation across groups of migrants indicates that cultural aspects also matter to a certain extent.
    Keywords: migrants, preferences, educational system, vocational education, academic education, rational action theory, cultural heritage
    Date: 2017–06
  7. By: Fritz Schiltz (Leuven Economics of Education Research, University of Leuven, Belgium); Chiara Masci (Modelling and Scientific Computing, Department of Mathematics, Politecnico di Milano, Italy); Tommaso Agasisti (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy); Daniel Horn (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Educational systems can be characterized by a complex structure: students, classes and teachers, schools and principals, and providers of education. The added value of schools is likely influenced by all these levels and, especially, by interactions between them. We illustrate the ability of Machine Learning (ML) methods (Regression Trees, Random Forests and Boosting) to model this complex ‘education production function’ using Hungarian data. We find that, in contrast to ML methods, classical regression approaches fail to identify relevant nonlinear interactions such as the role of school principals to accommodate district size policies. We visualize nonlinear interaction effects in a way that can be easily interpreted.
    Keywords: machine learning, education production function, interaction effects, non-linear effects
    JEL: C5 C18 C49 I21 H75
    Date: 2017–06
  8. By: Julia Varga (Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
    Abstract: Using country panel data of student achievement from PISA, 2003-2012 combined with national-level teacher salary data from the OECD; this study investigates if relatively short term -5-years - changes in the level and structure of statutory teacher salaries affect student performance in the European countries. Our results show that there are marked differences between subjects and by the experience of teachers. Higher statutory teacher salaries and larger growth of teacher salaries at the first part of teachers’ career increase students’ maths and science performance, while the effect was less pronounced on reading performance and at the second part of teacher career. Nevertheless, the reason for the lack of the effect of teacher salaries at the second part of teachers’ career may be the result of the lack of data on teachers’ actual salaries.
    Keywords: teacher salaries, student performance, international, PISA, random effect, two-step method
    JEL: I20 J31 J45 C23
    Date: 2017–01
  9. By: Paula Garda (OECD)
    Abstract: The various deficiencies of the labour market and the educational system have resulted in high unemployment, low labour force participation, low skills levels and high skill mismatch. Job creation is key to tackling the high unemployment rates, especially for the young and long-term unemployed. Promoting jobs without paying attention to their quality and to the skills required by employers may have adverse impact on welfare and productivity. The Jobs Act and Good School (“Buona Scuola”), two major reforms of the labour market and the educational system, are good steps in the right direction. The Jobs Act and the temporary social security contribution exemptions have contributed to raise employment. By strengthening job search and training policies, the Jobs Act can enhance jobseekers’ employability. Increasing the effectiveness of public employment services, given the low spending level, remains a challenge. The Good School reform has the potential to improve school outcomes and provide more aligned skills to the job market. Increasing employability by upgrading skills that match employer needs remains a priority. Business involvement in education and training institutions at all educational levels will be paramount to ensure the provision of relevant skills, the availability of traineeship and apprenticeship places and provide on-the-job training. The adaptability of skills could be encouraged by lowering barriers to labour mobility and boosting work-based learning. This Working Paper relates to the 2017 OECD Economic Survey of Italy ( y-italy.htm).
    Keywords: education, labour market, skills, unemployment
    JEL: I20 I28 J21 J24 J48
    Date: 2017–06–30
  10. By: Joshua Goodman
    Abstract: Despite great focus on and public investment in STEM education, little causal evidence connects quantitative coursework to students? economic outcomes. I show that state changes in minimum high school math requirements substantially increase black students? completed math coursework and their later earnings. The marginal student?s return to an additional math course is 10 percent, roughly half the return to a year of high school, and is partly explained by a shift toward more cognitively skilled occupations. Whites? coursework and earnings are unaffected. Rigorous standards for quantitative coursework can close meaningful portions of racial gaps in economic outcomes.
    Date: 2017–01
  11. By: Zoltán Hermann (Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Alfa Diallo (Regional Centre of Energy Policy Research)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of teacher gender on student achievement in 20 European countries. We employ a student fixed effect approach to account for unobservable subject-invariant student ability and non-random student-teacher sorting. Our results show that female teachers tend to increase students’ test scores, especially for girls. However, this effect is far from universal; it is present in half of the countries in our sample. The female effect is likely to reflect selection into the teaching profession, as it is stronger in countries where the teacher wages relative to graduate wages are higher for women than for men. Having a teacher of the same gender also benefits students in Western Europe. We further find that the female teacher effect is more pronounced for low achievers, and in Western Europe for students with an immigrant background.
    Keywords: teacher gender, student achievement, fixed-effect estimation, TIMSS
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2017–01
  12. By: Holford, Angus
    Abstract: We use the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE) to estimate the socio-economic gradient in access to unpaid internships among English and Welsh graduates six months after completing their first degree, and the return to this internship experience 3 years later in terms of salary, occupation, contract type and career satisfaction. We show a significant salary penalty at 3.5 years after graduation compared with those going straight into paid work or further study, but also that graduates from higher socio-economic status have an advantage in accessing internships while being significantly insulated from their negative effects.
    Date: 2017–06–08
  13. By: Crawfurd, Lee
    Abstract: Can the quality of school management explain differences in student test scores? In this paper I present the first internationally benchmarked estimates of school management quality in Africa (based on the “World Management Survey”). The level and distribution of management quality is similar to that found in other low and middle- income countries (India and Brazil). I combine this data with individual student panel data, and demonstrate that differences in school management quality matter for student value-added - a standard deviation difference in management is associated with a 0.06 standard deviation difference in test scores. Finally I contribute to understanding the role of the private sector in education in a low-income setting. Contrary to common perception, I find no difference between the quality of school management in government, private, or public-private partnership (PPP) schools (despite the higher level of autonomy available to them). An exception is an internationally-owned chain of PPP schools, which are as well managed as schools in the UK.
    Keywords: Education, Management, School Quality, Uganda, Private Schools, Public-Private Partnerships, NGO
    JEL: I25 I28 L33 M50 O15
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Lindgren, Karl-Oskar (IFAU; Department of Government, Uppsala University; UCLS); Oskarsson, Sven (Department of Government, Uppsala University; UCLS); Persson, Mikael (Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: It is well documented that voter turnout is lower among persons who grow up in families of low socio-economic status compared to persons from high-status families. This paper examines whether reforms in education can help to reduce the socio-economic gap in voting. We distinguish between reforms of two types that may lead to differences in the exercise of voting; (a) changes in the resources allocated to education between different socio-economic groups (reform effects) and (b) changes in return which relate to the impact of education on turnout in different groups. We use this framework to analyze a reform of the Swedish upper secondary school system in the 1990s. This reform increased the length and amount of social science education on vocational training programs. We find that the reform reduced the gap in voting mainly by means of its stronger influence among individuals from families of low socio-economic status.
    Keywords: political inequality; political participation; voting; education
    JEL: H70 I24
    Date: 2017–06–14
  15. By: Bradbury, Katharine L. (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston); Brown, John C. (Clark University); Burke, Mary A. (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston); Graves, Erin (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston); Triest, Robert K. (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)
    Abstract: This paper describes a plan for evaluating the Community Education Circles (CECs) program that is being implemented in the Lawrence Public Schools as part of an effort to enhance family-school engagement and improve outcomes for both students and parents. The CECs program supports the larger Lawrence Working Families Initiative, which in 2013 was awarded a multiyear grant through the Boston Fed’s Working Cities Challenge. This paper accomplishes several objectives: (1) describe the goals and methods of the CECs program as well as the larger goals of the Lawrence Working Families Initiative; (2) describe the methods that will be used to evaluate the success of the CECs program; (3) describe important features of the survey data and the school administrative data that have been collected so far for the families that are participating in our study. Concerning the last objective, we describe aspects of a family’s structure and employment situation, primary language, demographic information and immigrant status, measures of a family’s financial situation and financial stress, and measures of parents’ satisfaction with the schools and of their involvement in their child’s learning. We also identify relationships between such characteristics that may present barriers to the achievement of the goals of the CECs program across a diverse set of families.
    Keywords: public schools; parental involvement; financial stress; survey data; program evaluation; Lawrence Working Families Initiative
    JEL: I20 I24 I30 I38
    Date: 2017–06–01
  16. By: Dustmann, Christian; Ku, Hyejin; Kwak, Do Won
    Abstract: We exploit two unusual policy features of academic high schools in Seoul, South Korea - random assignment of pupils to high schools within districts and conversion of some existing single-sex schools to the coeducational (coed) type over time - to identify three distinct causal parameters: the between-school effect of attending a coed (versus a single-sex) school; the within-school effect of school-type conversion, conditional on (unobserved) school characteristics; and the effect of class-level exposure to mixed-gender (versus same-sex) peers. We find robust evidence that pupils in single-sex schools outperform their counterparts in coed schools, which could be due to single-sex peers in school and classroom, or unobservable school-level covariates. Focusing on switching schools, we find that the conversion of the pupil gender type from single-sex to coed leads to worse academic outcomes for both boys and girls, conditional on school fixed effects and time-varying observables. While for boys, the negative effect is largely driven by exposure to mixed-gender peers at school-level, it is class-level exposure to mixed-gender peers that explains this disadvantage for girls.
    Keywords: Gender; random assignment; school inputs; single sex schools
    JEL: I20 J16
    Date: 2017–06
  17. By: Jan R. Magnus (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands); Anatoly A. Peresetsky (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)
    Abstract: Overconfidence seems to be an essential aspect of human nature, and one way to study overconfidence is to consider students' forecasts of their exam grades. Part of a student's grade expectation is based on the student's previous academic achievements; what remains can be interpreted as (over)confidence. In this paper we study overconfidence using a sample of about five hundred second-year undergraduate students enrolled in a statistics course in Moscow. The course contains three exams and each student produces a forecast for each of the three exams. Students' expectations are not rational and most of students are overconfident, which is in agreement with what most people find. Less obvious findings are that overconfidence is helpful: given the same academic achievement students with larger confidence get higher exam grades. Female students are less overconfident than male students, their forecasts are more rational, and they are also faster learners in the sense that they adjust their expectations more rapidly.
    Keywords: Rational expectations; Classroom experiment; Overconfidence; Gender difference; Persistence
    Date: 2017–06–23
  18. By: Gretchen Kirby; Pia Caronongan; Andrea Mraz Esposito; Lauren Murphy; Megan Shoji; Patricia Del Grosso; Wamaitha Kiambuthi; Melissa Clark
    Abstract: This master data collection protocol describes the data that Mathematica collected for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Study of Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. This study was conducted for the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.
    Keywords: Race to the Top, Early Learning Challenge, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, QRIS
    JEL: I
  19. By: Krasnova, Gulnara (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA))
    Abstract: The paper examines and evaluates the export potential of the Russian higher education system in the long term up to 2030. The main external and internal factors affecting the expansion and development of exports of Russian higher education are described, as well as a package of measures and mechanisms for attracting foreign students to study in Russia.
    Date: 2017–06
  20. By: Ralsmark, Hilda (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Despite major developments in gender equality, differences between men and women’s economic and social behaviors remain. Several studies demonstrate the importance of gender norms in explaining a significant part of the gender gap. But what shapes gender norms? I provide evidence on the role of education, considered to be a key factor to reach gender equality, in influencing attitudes on gender norms in two different domains: the labor market and household. Exploiting educational reforms in Europe, I find that mandatory education and years of education significantly reduces individuals’ level of agreement on the gender norm that the man should be the breadwinner but not on the gender norm that the woman should be the homemaker. The result is consistent with the hypothesis that part of the ”stalled revolution” in gender equality is because norms in the household are more rigid than in the labor market, and that educated women face a dilemma between a career and family, or a double burden where they continue to do the lion’s share of household work.
    Keywords: Gender equality; Education; Gender Norms; Labor market; Household Economics
    JEL: D10 I20 J16
    Date: 2017–06
  21. By: Giulio Marini (Cipes-Centro de Investigação de Políticas do Ensino Superior, Universidade do Porto, Portugal Ceris - Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth,Turin, Italy)
    Abstract: The new habilitation, established in Italy in 2010 and commenced in 2012, was designed (outcomes released commencing December 2013). Its aim is to filter who will be eligible to apply for competitions for the two permanent level professor positions in the universities. The results of the first set of data are 20 scientific sectors representing more than 10% of all sectors analyzed to understand if the outcomes reflected in a worthy way the indicators of productivity and quality of scientific production of candidates. Some legal and statistical framework are fostered before the data analysis in order to have a better understanding of the reform and the context where it operates. The hypothesis of the worthiness is here addressed on the assumption that the current position held by a candidate should not play any role in the attainment of the habilitation. Splitting candidates into two roles and having controlled for age as a variable, the data was used to reveal that the indicators of quality of scientific production (H index for hard sciences and articles in top ranked journals for social sciences and humanities) are more frequently the best predictors. Though some limits of the present analysis are faced and illustrated, some critical points of this new institution are discussed.Length: 30 pages
    Keywords: habilitation, academic career, scientific productivity, rigged competitions, epistemic communities JEL Codes: J44Creation-Date: 2014-03

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