nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2017‒10‒29
seventeen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Higher Education Funding Reforms: A Comprehensive Analysis of Educational and Labor Market Outcomes in England By Azmat, Ghazala; Simion, Stefania
  2. School Infrastructure Spending and Educational Outcomes in Northern Italy By Marco Modica; Alessandro Belmonte; Vincenzo Bove; Giovanna D’Inverno
  3. Leveraging Technology to Engage Parents at Scale: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial By Peter Leopold S. Bergman; Eric W. Chan
  4. Understanding the Impact of Tuition Fees in Foreign Education: the Case of the UK. By Lionel Ragot; Michel Beine; Marco Delogu
  5. The Persistent Effects of Short-Term Peer Groups in Higher Education By Thiemann, Petra
  6. School District Reform in Newark: Within- and Between-School Changes in Achievement Growth By Mark J. Chin; Thomas J. Kane; Whitney Kozakowski; Beth E. Schueler; Douglas O. Staiger
  7. The Unequal Distribution of Economic Education : A Report on the Race, Ethnicity, and Gender of Economics Majors at US Colleges and Universities By Amanda S. Bayer; David W. Wilcox
  8. The Context-Bound University Selectivity Premium By Milla, Joniada
  9. The Effect of Immigrant Peers in Vocational Schools By Frattini, Tommaso; Meschi, Elena
  10. Emergent structures in faculty hiring networks and the effects of mobility on academic performance By Robin Cowan; Giulia Rossello
  11. How Do Latin American Migrants in the U.S. Stand on Schooling Premium? What Does It Reveal about Education Quality in Their Home Countries? By Alonso-Soto, Daniel; Nopo, Hugo R.
  12. Progressing Pakistan should ensure Quality Education for All By Mamoon, Dawood
  13. Can financial incentives reduce the baby gap? Evidence from a reform in maternity leave benefits By Raute, Anna
  14. The 'Gravity' of Quality: Research Quality and Universities' Attractiveness in Italy By Bratti, Massimiliano; Verzillo, Stefano
  15. Migration, Education and Work Opportunities By Girsberger, Esther Mirjam
  16. Neonatal Health of Parents and Cognitive Development of Children By Kreiner, Claus T.; Sievertsen, Hans Henrik
  17. Childhood circumstances, personality traits and adult-life economic outcomes in developing countries: Evidence from STEP By Michal Brzezinski

  1. By: Azmat, Ghazala; Simion, Stefania
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of changes in the funding of higher education in England on students' choices and outcomes. Over the last two decades - through three major reforms in 1998, 2006 and 2012 - undergraduate university education in public universities moved from being free to students and state funded to charging substantial tuition fees to all students. This was done in conjunction with the government offering generous means-tested maintenance grants and loans. Using detailed longitudinal micro-data that follows all students attending state schools in England (more than 90 percent of all school-aged children) from lower education to higher education, we document the socio-economic distributional effects of the 2006 and 2012 policy reforms on a comprehensive set of outcomes, including enrolment, relocation decisions, selection of institution, program of study, and performance within university. For a subset of students, we track them after completing higher education, allowing us to study the labor market effects of the policy reforms. Despite the substantial higher education funding reforms, we do not find large aggregate effect on student enrolment or on other margins. Moreover, the small negative impacts found on the enrolment were largely borne on those in higher parts of the wealth distribution – reducing the enrolment gap across socio-economic groups.
    Keywords: career choices; career outcomes; Higher education; means-tested support; tuition fees
    JEL: I22 I23 I29 J30
    Date: 2017–10
  2. By: Marco Modica (CNR IRCrES); Alessandro Belmonte (IMT Lucca); Vincenzo Bove (University of Warwick); Giovanna D’Inverno (IMT Lucca)
    Abstract: We explore whether investment in public school infrastructure affects students’ achievement. We use data on extra funding to public high schools after the 2012 Northern Italy earthquake and apply a quasi-experimental design and an instrumental variable strategy. We find that spending on school infrastructure increases standardized test scores in mathematics and Italian language, and the effect is stronger for lower-achieving students and in mathematics.These results provide evidence in favor of a positive impact of capital spending in improving the learning environment and performances of high school students.
    Keywords: Living standards; Wages; Multipliers; High-technology; Cities; Inequality
    Date: 2017–10
  3. By: Peter Leopold S. Bergman; Eric W. Chan
    Abstract: While leveraging parents has the potential to increase student performance, programs that do so are often costly to implement or they target younger children. We partner text-messaging technology with school information systems to automate the gathering and provision of information to parents at scale. In a field experiment across 22 middle and high schools, we used this technology to send automated text-message alerts to parents about their child’s missed assignments, grades and class absences. We pre-specified five primary outcomes. The intervention reduces course failures by 38% and increases class attendance by 17%. Students are more likely to be retained in the district. The positive effects are particularly large for students with below-average GPA and students in high school. There are no effects on standardized test scores however. We randomly chose either the mother or the father to receive the alerts, but there were no differential effects across these subgroups. As in previous research, the intervention appears to change parents’ beliefs about their child’s performance and increases parent monitoring. Our results show that this type of automated technology can improve student effort relatively cheaply and at scale.
    Keywords: education, information, experiments
    JEL: I20 I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Lionel Ragot; Michel Beine; Marco Delogu
    Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of international students mobility at the university level, focusing specifically on the role of tuition fees. We first develop an original Random Utility Maximization model of location choice for international students in the presence of capacity constraints of the hosting institutions. The last layer of the model gives rise to a gravity equation. This equation is estimated using new data on student migration flows at the university level for the U.K. We control for the endogeneity of tuition fees by taking benefit of the institutional constraints in terms of tuition caps applied in the UK to European students at the bachelor level. The estimations support a negative impact of tuition fees and stress the need to account for the endogenous nature of the fees in the empirical identification of their impact. The estimations also support an important role of additional destination-specific variables such as host capacity, the expected return of education and the cost of living in the vicinity of the university.
    Keywords: Foreign students; Tuition fees; Location choice; University Quality.
    JEL: F22 H52 I23 O15
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Thiemann, Petra (Lund University)
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates that short-term peer exposure can generate achievement effects which persist for several months and years. I study a mandatory freshmen week for first-year undergraduates and exploit the random assignment of students to freshmen teams. I find that the freshmen week contributes to the formation of persistent social ties. Furthermore, peers' observable characteristics impact college achievement for up to three years. Ability peer effects are non-linear, i.e. very high or low levels of average peer ability in a group harm students' grades. These effects are most pronounced for low-ability students.
    Keywords: peer effects, higher education, natural experiment, gender, region of origin, ability
    JEL: I21 I23 J24
    Date: 2017–09
  6. By: Mark J. Chin; Thomas J. Kane; Whitney Kozakowski; Beth E. Schueler; Douglas O. Staiger
    Abstract: In 2011-12, Newark launched a set of educational reforms supported by a gift from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Using data from 2009 through 2016, we evaluate the change in Newark students’ achievement growth relative to similar students and schools elsewhere in New Jersey. We measure achievement growth using a “value-added” model, controlling for prior achievement, demographics and peer characteristics. By the fifth year of reform, Newark saw statistically significant gains in English and no significant change in math achievement growth. Perhaps due to the disruptive nature of the reforms, growth declined initially before rebounding in recent years. Aided by the closure of low value-added schools, much of the improvement was due to shifting enrollment from lower- to higher-growth district and charter schools. Shifting enrollment accounted for 62 percent of the improvement in English. In math, such shifts offset what would have been a decline in achievement growth.
    JEL: H41 H43 I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2017–10
  7. By: Amanda S. Bayer; David W. Wilcox
    Abstract: The distribution of economic education among US college graduates is quite unequal: female and underrepresented minority undergraduates, collectively, major in economics at 0.36 the rate that white, non-Hispanic male students do. This paper makes a four-part contribution to address this imbalance. First and foremost, we provide detailed comparative data at the institution level to provoke and inform the attention of economists and senior administrators at colleges and universities, among others. Second, we establish a definition of full inclusion in economic education on college and university campuses and use that definition to evaluate the status quo and to compare institutions. Third, we illuminate the reasons why the need to improve the distribution of economic education is urgent, including the imperative to support economic policymaking. Lastly, we point the way forward, identifying both currently available resources and reasonable next steps for all involved parties to take.
    Keywords: Education ; Ethnicity ; Race
    Date: 2017–10–19
  8. By: Milla, Joniada (Saint Mary’s University)
    Abstract: In this paper I present a selective survey of the empirical literature on wage premium to university selectivity focusing mainly on the context of the country under analysis and the identification strategies employed. I then estimate the wage premium to university selectivity using Canadian data and two popular methods to correct for non-random selection in universities of different quality: matching methods and instrumental variables (IV). I estimate a wage premium of 7% using the matching estimator, and a premium of 14.8% using the IV estimator for alumni of selective Canadian universities 4–6 years after graduation. My findings are in line with the literature on countries with a moderately differentiated higher education system that has low variation in tuition fees and is well supported by public funds.
    Keywords: university selectivity, wage premium, context
    JEL: C21 I23 J30
    Date: 2017–09
  9. By: Frattini, Tommaso (University of Milan); Meschi, Elena (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia)
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on how the presence of immigrant peers in the classroom affects native student achievement. The analysis is based on longitudinal administrative data on two cohorts of vocational training students in Italy's largest region. Vocational training institutions provide the ideal setting for studying these effects because they attract not only disproportionately high shares of immigrants but also the lowest ability native students. We adopt a value added model, and exploit within-school variation both within and across cohorts for identification. Our results show small negative average effects on maths test scores that are larger for low ability native students, strongly non-linear and only observable in classes with a high (top 20%) immigrant concentration. These outcomes are driven by classes with a high average linguistic distance between immigrants and natives, with no apparent role played by ethnic diversity.
    Keywords: immigration, education, peer effects, vocational training, language
    JEL: I20 J15
    Date: 2017–09
  10. By: Robin Cowan; Giulia Rossello
    Abstract: This paper is about the South African job market for PhDs. PhD to first job mobility involves the preferences of both the hiring institution and the candidate. Both want to make the best choice and here institutional prestige plays a crucial role. A university’s prestige is an emergent property of the hiring interactions, so we use a network perspective to measure it. Using this emergent ordering, we compare the subsequent scientific performance of scholars with different changes in the prestige hierarchy. We ask how movements between universities of different prestige from PhD to first job correlates with academic performance. We use data of South African scholars from 1970 to 2004 and we find that those who make large movements in terms of prestige have lower research ratings than those wo do not. Further, those with higher prestige PhD or first job have high research ratings throughout their careers.
    Keywords: Academia, South Africa, faculty hiring network, institutional prestige, institutional stratification, scholars research performance, university system, matched pair analysis.
    JEL: D7 I2 J15 O3 Z13
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Alonso-Soto, Daniel (OECD); Nopo, Hugo R. (GRADE)
    Abstract: Indicators for quality of schooling are not only relatively new in the world but also unavailable for a sizable share of the world's population. In their absence, some proxy measures have been devised. One simple but powerful idea has been to use the schooling premium for migrant workers in the U.S. (Bratsberg and Terrell, 2002). In this paper we extend this idea and compute measures for the schooling premium of immigrant workers in the U.S. over a span of five decades. Focusing on those who graduated from either secondary or tertiary education in Latin American countries, we present comparative estimates of the evolution of such premia for both schooling levels. The results show that the schooling premia in Latin America have been steadily low throughout the whole period of analysis. The results stand after controlling for selective migration in different ways. This contradicts the popular belief in policy circles that the education quality of the region has deteriorated in recent years. In contrast, schooling premium in India shows an impressive improvement in recent decades, especially at the tertiary level.
    Keywords: schooling premium, returns to education, wage differentials, immigrant workers
    JEL: J31 J61
    Date: 2017–09
  12. By: Mamoon, Dawood
    Abstract: The paper analyses the dynamics of education sector in Pakistan in comparison to other developing countries in larger Asia and Latin America. The lessons of history in these regions suggest that those countries have been able to develop on sustainable basis that have invested in education for all and also ensured quality by allocating sufficient funds to all levels of education.
    Keywords: Education, Economic Development
    JEL: I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2017–10–19
  13. By: Raute, Anna
    Abstract: To assess whether earnings-dependent maternity leave positively impacts fertility and narrows the baby gap between high educated (high earning) and low educated (low earning) women, I exploit a major maternity leave benefit reform in Germany that considerably increases the financial incentives for higher educated and higher earning women to have a child. In particular, I use the large differential changes in maternity leave benefits across education and income groups to estimate the effects on fertility up to 5 years post reform. In addition to demonstrating an up to 22% increase in the fertility of tertiary educated versus low educated women, I find a positive, statistically significant effect of increased benefits on fertility, driven mainly by women at the middle and upper end of the education and income distributions. Overall, the results suggest that earnings-dependent maternity leave benefits, which compensate women commensurate with their opportunity cost of childbearing, could successfully reduce the fertility rate disparity related to mothers' education and earnings.
    Keywords: Fertility; fertility gaps; paid maternity leave
    JEL: J13 J16 J18
    Date: 2017–10
  14. By: Bratti, Massimiliano (University of Milan); Verzillo, Stefano (University of Milan)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether or not research quality is significantly associated with a university's ability to attract students from other provinces in Italy. First university enrolments of students over the period 2003–2011 are regressed on several universities' research quality indicators computed from different bibliometric databases (ISI-Thompson, Scopus-Elsevier and Google Scholar) using fixed effects-gravity models. Our estimates suggest that improving research quality may be an effective way of reducing 'brain drain' from southern Italy.
    Keywords: brain drain, research quality, student mobility, university, Italy
    JEL: I23
    Date: 2017–09
  15. By: Girsberger, Esther Mirjam (University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: I study individual location, education and work decisions in a dynamic life-cycle model in a developing country. I estimate the model exploiting panel data on migrants and stayers in Burkina Faso, and cross-sectional data on permanent emigrants. Individuals self-select into migration and locations based on education. Migration to urban centres increases with education, while migrants at the extremes of the education distribution tend to move abroad. Local unemployment rates, skilled work opportunities and returns to education result in differential expected income gains across locations and hereby explain the complex migration pattern observed. Large income gains from migration are partially offset by direct and indirect migration costs, as well as by higher investment in education (for rural migrants). Migration prospects to urban centres drive education choices of rural individuals. Hence, migration policies can be used to stimulate educational attainment in rural regions.
    Keywords: migration, education, life-cycle model, simulated method of moments, Burkina Faso
    JEL: J61 O15 R58
    Date: 2017–09
  16. By: Kreiner, Claus T.; Sievertsen, Hans Henrik
    Abstract: This paper documents a strong relationship between birth endowments of parents and the cognitive development of their children. The association between maternal birth weight and child school test scores corresponds to 80 percent of the association between the child's own birth weight and test scores (both in univariate and multivariate settings). We find a strong relationship, even when controlling for family differences, by looking at birth weight variation between sisters and the test score outcomes of their children, and when controlling for parental education and economic resources. Child test scores are also strongly related to paternal birth weight. To assess external validity, we replicate recent results from the US on the relationship between child birth weight and test scores. Our intergenerational results suggest that inequality in birth endowments may be important for inequality in key outcomes of the next generation.
    Keywords: human capital formation; intergenerational dependency; Neonatal health
    JEL: I12 J13 J24
    Date: 2017–10
  17. By: Michal Brzezinski
    Abstract: This paper studies the associations between childhood circumstances (e.g. parental background, early-life socio-economic status, negative economic shocks during childhood, etc.), personality traits (the Big Five, grit) and adult-life economic outcomes (educational attainment, employment opportunity, wages, life satisfaction, and obesity) in nine developing countries. The data come from the World Bank’s STEP Skills Measurement Survey conducted over 2012-2013. Our results show that childhood circumstances are associated more strongly than personality traits with education and wages. Agreeableness, and neuroticism are relatively strong correlates of life satisfaction in developing countries, as compared with early-life socio-economic status. Grit is not significantly related to adult-life outcomes, when other personality traits are controlled for. Obesity is positively associated with extraversion and neuroticism, while childhood circumstances do not predict it.
    Keywords: childhood circumstances, personality, grit, education, employment, life satisfaction, obesity, developing countries, STEP
    JEL: A12 I20 I31 J24 J31 O12
    Date: 2017–09

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