nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2017‒07‒16
eleven papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Essays on the impact evaluation of education policies in Mexico By Cabrera Hernández, Francisco-Javier
  2. Echoes of rising tuition in students’ borrowing, educational attainment, and homeownership in post-recession America By Bleemer, Zachary; Brown, Meta; Lee, Donghoon; Strair, Katherine; Van der Klaauw, Wilbert
  3. The Effect of Teachers' Unions on Student Achievement: Evidence from Wisconsin's Act 10 By Eric J. Baron
  4. Gender score gaps of Colombia students in pisa test By Luz Karime Abadía Alvarado
  5. Using Goals to Motivate College Students: Theory and Evidence from Field Experiments By Damon Clark; David Gill; Victoria Prowse; Mark Rush
  6. What Happens When Econometrics and Psychometrics Collide? An Example Using the PISA Data By Jerrim, John; Lopez-Agudo, Luis Alejandro; Marcenaro-Gutierrez, Oscar D.; Shure, Dominique
  7. English Proficiency and Test Scores of Immigrant Children in the US By Aparicio Fenoll, Ainhoa
  8. Education, Governance, Trade and Distance: Impact on Technology Diffusion and the East Asia-Latin America Productivity Gap By Schiff, Maurice
  9. Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment By Postepska, Agnieszka
  10. Patterns and trends in horizontal inequality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo By Isaac Kalonda Kanyama
  11. POPULATION STRUCTURE AND THE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX By Carmen Herrero; Ricardo Martínez; Antonio Villar

  1. By: Cabrera Hernández, Francisco-Javier
    Abstract: This thesis gathers research on three impact evaluations of interventions at the school and student level in Mexico. The first chapter evaluates the effects of a School Breakfast Program (SBP) on children’s outcomes such as cognitive skills, illness, height and weight and grade repetition in the period 2002 to 2005. Quasi-experimental estimations provide evidence of positive effects on children’s weight; however, such gains push children over their ’ideal’ standardized average causing them overweight. This effect is significantly higher in the case of poorer children. The second chapter evaluates a Full-Time Primary Schools Program implemented in 2007, to work out if changing the time pupils spend at school can enhance skills in language and mathematics. Differences in Differences regressions point to a significant improvement of 0.11 standard deviations in mathematics and Spanish test scores after four years of treatment. These gains are three times higher in schools located in deprived areas and do not seem to be driven by students self-selection. The last chapter focuses on an exogenous policy change in Mexico which eliminates enforced grade repetition for all first to third grade students. This reform helped schools to reduce repetition rates from varying higher levels to almost zero in one academic year. Estimations coming from two-way fixed effects models using a panel of schools show an average reduction in dropout rates after reform implementation of 0.3% points along with no seeming effects on pupil’s performance. General findings from the three chapters are of strong significance when placed into the broader debate about what works best in schools for improving children’s academic performance and general education outcomes in Mexico.
    Date: 2016–09
  2. By: Bleemer, Zachary (University of California at Berkeley); Brown, Meta (Stony Brook University); Lee, Donghoon (Federal Reserve Bank of New York); Strair, Katherine (Federal Reserve Bank of New York); Van der Klaauw, Wilbert (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
    Abstract: State average enrollment-weighted public college tuition and fees per school year rose by $3,843 (or 81 percent) between 2001 and 2009. How are recent cohorts absorbing this surge in college costs, and what effect is it having on their post-schooling consumption? Our analysis of tuition, educational attainment, and debt patterns for nine youth cohorts across all fifty states indicates that the tuition hike accounted for $1,628, or about 30 percent, of the increase in average student debt per capita among 24-year-olds between 2003 and 2011. However, estimates indicate no meaningful response to tuition on college enrollment, years of post-high school schooling, and BA degree attainment rates. Our findings are consistent with American youth having accommodated tuition shocks not by forgoing schooling, but instead by amassing more debt. They signal an active role for the U.S. student loan system in shielding young Americans’ human capital investments against shocks to (students’) education costs. Further analysis demonstrates that the tuition hike and student debt increase, despite leaving higher educational attainment unchanged, can explain between 11 and 35 percent of the observed approximate eight-percentage-point decline in homeownership for 28-to-30-year-olds over 2007-15 for these same nine cohorts. The results suggest that states that increase college costs for current student cohorts can expect to see a response not through a decline in workforce skills, but instead through weaker spending and wealth accumulation among young consumers in the years to come.
    Keywords: homeownership; student loans; household formation
    JEL: D14 E24 R21
    Date: 2017–07–01
  3. By: Eric J. Baron (Department of Economics, Florida State University)
    Abstract: In this study, I estimate the causal impact of a weakening of teachers' unions on student achievement. I do so by exploiting a quasi-experiment that took place in Wisconsin following the passage of Act 10, a measure that significantly limited the bargaining power of teachers' unions in the state. Specifically, I exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the length of pre-Act 10 collective bargaining agreements among school districts that led to differences in the timing of exposure to Act 10. I find that test scores on the state's standardized exam decreased by approximately 30% of a standard deviation in initially low-performing schools, but find no evidence that the law impacted students in initially high-performing schools. Lastly, I show that the reduction in test scores was at least partially driven by a combination of teacher retirements and a decrease in the quality of the teaching workforce.
    Keywords: Public Sector Unions, Collective Bargaining, Student Achievement, Economics of Education
    JEL: I20 I28 J45 J50
    Date: 2017–07
  4. By: Luz Karime Abadía Alvarado
    Abstract: Abstract This paper measures the math and reading gender score gap of Colombian students in the Pisa test. Estimations confirm that on average, when comparing boys and girls with similar individual, family and school characteristics boys outperform girls in math and the opposite happens in reading. Moreover, using Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition I find that observables favor girls and they account for the 22% and 34% of the gap in math and reading respectively. This effect is due mainly to individual factors, that is, if girls were not in a greater proportion in the last scholar grades of secondary education and she had not a lower repetition grade the math gap would be grater and lower in reading. Resumen Este trabajo mide la brecha de género académica en matemáticas y lectura de los estudiantes colombianos en las pruebas PISA. Los resultados de las estimaciones confirman que en promedio, cuando se compararan niños y niñas con similares características individuales, familiares y escolares los niños obtienen mejores puntajes que las niñas en matemáticas y lo contrario sucede en lectura. Adicionalmente, usando la descomposición de Blinder-Oaxaca se encuentra que las características observables favorecen a las niñas y éstas explican el 22% y el 34% de la brecha en matemáticas y lectura respectivamente. Este efecto se debe principalmente a las características individuales, es decir, si las niñas no estuvieran en mayor proporción en los últimos grados del bachillerato y adicionalmente una menor tasa de repitencia escolar en comparación con los niños la brecha en matemáticas sería mayo y la de lenguaje menor.
    Keywords: Keywords: PISA, gender score gap, performance, math, reading, inequality. Palabras clave: PISA, brecha de género escolar, desempeño, matemáticas, lectura, desigualdad.
    JEL: I21 I24 J16 O15
    Date: 2017–04–27
  5. By: Damon Clark; David Gill; Victoria Prowse; Mark Rush
    Abstract: Will college students who set goals for themselves work harder and achieve better outcomes? In theory, setting goals can help present-biased students to mitigate their self-control problem. In practice, there is little credible evidence on the causal e ects of goal setting for college students. We report the results of two eld experiments that involved almost four thousand college students in total. One experiment asked treated students to set goals for performance in the course; the other asked treated students to set goals for a particular task (completing online practice exams). Task-based goals had large and robust positive e ects on the level of task completion, and task-based goals also increased course performance. Further analysis indicates that the increase in task completion induced by setting task-based goals caused the increase in course performance. We also nd that performance-based goals had positive but small e ects on course performance. We use theory that builds on present bias and loss aversion to interpret our results. Since task-based goal setting is low-cost, scaleable and logistically simple, we conclude that our ndings have important implications for educational practice and future research.
    Keywords: Goal; Goal setting; Higher education; Field experiment; Self-control; Present bias; Time inconsistency; Commitment device; Loss aversion; Reference point; Task-based goal; Performance-based goal; Self-set goal; Performance uncertainty; Overcon dence; Student e ort; Student performance; Educational attainment.
    JEL: I23 C93
    Date: 2017–05
  6. By: Jerrim, John (University College London); Lopez-Agudo, Luis Alejandro (University of Malaga); Marcenaro-Gutierrez, Oscar D. (University of Malaga); Shure, Dominique (University College London)
    Abstract: International large-scale assessments such as PISA are increasingly being used to benchmark the academic performance of young people across the world. Yet many of the technicalities underpinning these datasets are misunderstood by applied researchers, who sometimes fail to take their complex sample and test designs into account. The aim of this paper is to generate a better understanding amongst economists about how such databases are created, and what this implies for the empirical methodologies one should (or should not) apply. We explain how some of the modelling strategies preferred by economists seem to be at odds with the complex test design, and provide clear advice on the types of robustness tests that are therefore needed when analyzing these datasets. In doing so, we hope to generate a better understanding of international large-scale education databases, and promote better practice in their use.
    Keywords: sample design, test design, PISA, weights, replicate weights, plausible values
    JEL: I20 C18 C10 C55
    Date: 2017–06
  7. By: Aparicio Fenoll, Ainhoa (Collegio Carlo Alberto)
    Abstract: Immigrant children in the US tend to perform worse in reading, mathematics, and science compared to native children. This paper explores how much of such differences in achievement can be accounted for by a lack of English proficiency. To identify the causal effect of English proficiency on cognitive test scores, I use the fact that language proficiency is closely linked to age at arrival, and that migrant children arrive at different ages from different countries of origin. In particular, I instrument English proficiency by comparing children from English-speaking countries to children from non-English-speaking countries who migrated to the US at different ages. Using data from the New Immigrant Survey, I find that speaking English very badly or badly can explain 27–33% of the achievement gap between native and immigrant children in standardized language-related tests. However, I find no significant language effects for applied maths problems or calculations.
    Keywords: standardized tests, English proficiency, immigrant children, age at arrival, English-speaking countries
    JEL: J13 J15 I20
    Date: 2017–06
  8. By: Schiff, Maurice (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of education, trade, governance and distance on technology diffusion and TFP in Latin America – specifically South America and Mexico (SAM) – and East Asia, over the 32 years preceding the Great Recession (1976–2007). Findings are: i) TFP rises with education, trade, governance (ETG) and trade's R&D content, and falls with distance to the (closest) North; ii) the East Asia – SAM education gap's impact equals that of trade plus governance; iii) an increase in SAM's ETG to East Asia's level raises TFP by over 100 percent and fully accounts for its TFP gap with East Asia; and iv) South America's TFP loss relative to Mexico due to its greater distance to 'US–Canada' (Europe and Japan) is 9.30 (0.02) percent.
    Keywords: East Asia and LAC, technology diffusion, productivity, education, trade, governance, distance
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2017–06
  9. By: Postepska, Agnieszka (Georgetown University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the role of ethnicity in the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment. Relying on heteroskedasticity to identify parameters in the presence of endogenous regressors, I revisit Borjas ethnic capital hypothesis. I find evidence that the OLS estimates of the effect of ethnic capital on intergenerational transmission of education are biased upwards due to the transfer of unobserved ability. I find that while the role of parental capital has declined over time, ethnic capital has a relatively constant effect on intergenerational transmission of educational attainment. I also find that only women benefit from the quality of the ethnic environment and that the intergenerational transfer of ethnic capital is most prevalent in communities with strong ties measured with endogamy rates.
    Keywords: ethnic capital, human capital formation, intergenerational transmission
    JEL: J15 J62 D1 Z1
    Date: 2017–06
  10. By: Isaac Kalonda Kanyama
    Abstract: We analyse horizontal inequality in wealth and in years of education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the period 2001–13. We find that the trend in horizontal inequality is similar to the trend in vertical inequality over the period of analysis. In addition, horizontal inequality in years of formal education is higher among geographical, gender and linguistic groups, and lower among religious and ethnic groups. More specifically, horizontal inequality between genders is higher among individuals aged 25 years and over compared with the full sample of individuals aged 15 years and over. Based on a regression analysis, we find that household size, economic status and rural residence have a significant effect on gender-based inequality in years of education. We also find that gender-based horizontal inequality in years of education is higher in conflict-affected zones.
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Carmen Herrero (Universidad de Alicante & IVIE); Ricardo Martínez (Universidad de Granada); Antonio Villar (Universidad Pablo de Olavide & IVIE)
    Abstract: This paper provides an alternative way of measuring human development that takes explicitly into account the differences in the countries' population structures. The interest of this proposal stems from two complementary elements. First, that there is an enormous diversity in the population structures of those countries analysed in the Human Development Reports, particularly the shares of old people in the population. Second, that demographic characteristics are relevant in the evaluation of development possibilities. We propose to change the way of measuring health, education and material wellbeing, in order to take into account those differences in the population structures. We analyse empirically the effect induced by these changes in the evaluation of human development by comparing this way of measurement with the conventional HDI for 168 countries.
    Keywords: Human development, health, education, income, life potential, education potential
    JEL: C78 D61 D63
    Date: 2017–07

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