nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2017‒11‒19
twelve papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. An Impact Evaluation of Mass Replacement of School Principals in Georgia By Zurab Abramishvili
  2. Impact of school feeding programmes on educational outcomes: Evidence from dry cereals in schools in Burkina Faso By Pouirkèta Rita Nikiema
  3. Do Boys Benefit from Male Teachers in Elementary School? Evidence from Administrative Panel Data By Puhani, Patrick A.
  4. Fiscal decentralization and the performance of higher education institutions: the case of Europe. By Julien Jacqmin; Mathieu Lefebvre
  5. The impact of peer personality on academic achievement By Bart H.H. Golsteyn; Arjan Non; Ulf Zölitz
  6. The ‘Martha Effect’: The compounding female advantage in South African higher education By Hendrik van Broekhuizen; Nic Spaull
  7. Static versus Dynamic Deferred Acceptance in School Choice: Theory and Experiment By Joana Pais; Flip Klijn; Marc Vorsatz
  8. Polarized Education Levels and Civil War By Gustavo Javier Canavire-Bacarreza; Michael Jetter; Alejandra Montoya-Agudelo
  9. The impact of Ethiopian Productive Safety-net Program on children’s educational aspirations By Aregawi G. Gebremariam; Elisabetta Lodigiani; Giacomo Pasini
  10. Training to teach science: experimental evidence from Argentina By Facundo Albornoz; María Victoria Anauati; Melina Furman; Mariana Luzuriaga; María Eugenia Podestá; Inés Taylor
  11. Misperceptions and mismeasurements: An analysis of subjective economic inequality By Aboozar Hadavand
  12. The effect of peer gender on major choice By Ulf Zölitz; Jan Feld

  1. By: Zurab Abramishvili (International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how a unique education policy positively affected university enrollment rates of public school students in Georgia. In 2007, the Georgian government enacted legislation mandating the replacement of all public school principals under the assumption that the replacement of the principals with randomly assigning qualified candidates to public schools would fairly decentralize and improve school governance across Georgia. About half of public school principals were actually replaced with new candidates and a majority of them were assigned through a random allocation mechanism. Therefore, the standard difference-indifferences methodology is used to compare treated public schools with private schools that are not affected by the policy in order to identify how this reform impacted education outcomes. Using the National Assessment and Examination Center university admissions data, the public schools with replaced principals increased university enrollment more than the control schools by an average of 4%. The largest part of this increase comes from schools with randomly assigned principals. The positive findings herein could tenably impact education policy in developing (and perhaps developed) countries and elicits further research where applicable. The statistically significant and strong effects of this type of reform could cause a positive domino effect in the developing world, especially in countries with similar characteristics and predicaments in their education system.
    Keywords: School principals, university enrollment rate, education reform, random assignment
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Pouirkèta Rita Nikiema
    Abstract: Food for Education (FFE) programmes have been implemented in developing countries since the 1960s. This paper examines the impact of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) school feeding programme on pupils’ attendance and girls’ enrolment rate within primary schools in northern Burkina Faso. Using difference-in-difference (DID) estimation with the data set on the Beoog Biiga programme, we find that take-home rations (THRs) increased school attendance for both boys and girls. Moreover, the findings show that girls’ enrolment rate within schools increased by 3.2 per cent. This is driven by the increase in the number of newly enrolled girls compared with boys. We conclude that THRs have the potential to increase girls’ educational attainment and gender equality within schools.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Puhani, Patrick A.
    Abstract: With girls having overtaken boys in many education indicators, the "feminization" of elementary school teaching is causing debates about disadvantages for male students. Using administrative panel data on the universe of students, teachers and schools for a German state, I exploit within school and within teacher variation to determine teacher characteristics' effects on students' tracking outcomes. Germany tracks students at age 10 into more or less academic school types. I find hardly any effects of teacher's gender, age, pay level, qualifications, or working hours on boys' or girls' school track recommendations or school choice. Even when following students into middle school, no effects of elementary-school teacher gender on school type change or grade repetition can be detected.
    Keywords: education; gender; identification; fixed effects; teacher quality
    JEL: I21 J45 J71 J78
    Date: 2017–11
  4. By: Julien Jacqmin; Mathieu Lefebvre
    Abstract: This paper empirically evaluates the impact of fiscal decentralization on the performance of higher education systems. To test this relationship,we build up a panel dataset composed of European countries. Countrylevel performance is measured by an indicator using data from the Shanghai ranking. Using a dynamic panel approach, we find that a higher share of government spending coming from decentralized levels of governmentsleads to an improvement of the performance of research-intensive higher education institutions. This result is confirmed by the use of an instrumental variable approach. We argue that a more decentralized higher education system increases the ability to attract and retain top scholars.
    Keywords: fiscal decentralization, ranking, higher education institutions.
    JEL: I28 H52 H75
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Bart H.H. Golsteyn; Arjan Non; Ulf Zölitz
    Abstract: This paper provides evidence of a novel facet of peer effects by showing how peer personality affects educational achievement. We exploit random assignment of students to university sections and find that students perform better in the presence of more persistent peers and more risk-averse peers. In particular, low-persistence students benefit from highly-persistent peers without devoting additional efforts to studying. However, highly-persistent students are not affected by the persistence of their peers. The personality peer effects that we document are distinct from other observable peer characteristics and suggest that the personality traits of peers causally affect human capital accumulation.
    Keywords: Personality, peer effects, non-cognitive skills
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: Hendrik van Broekhuizen (Research on Socioeconomic Policy (RESEP), Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Nic Spaull (Research on Socioeconomic Policy (RESEP), Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: In this paper we use population-wide panel data to follow every South African student from the 2008 cohort as they enter into and progress through university, following them for six years (N=112,402). We find indisputable evidence of a large female advantage that continues to grow at each hurdle of the higher education process. To be specific, relative to their male counterparts we find 27% more females who qualified for university, 34% more who enroll in university, 56% more who complete any undergraduate qualification and 66% more who attain a bachelor’s degree. This despite there being roughly equal numbers of boys and girls at the start of school. We show that this female advantage remains after controlling for school-level performance, and exists for all subgroups of race, age, socioeconomic status, and province of origin. We examine 19 fields of study and find that females are significantly more likely to get a degree in 12 of the 19 fields (often by substantial margins), and are significantly less likely to get a degree in five of the 19 fields. However, this is almost entirely because they do not access these traditionally ‘male’ programs rather than due to lower completion rates. Irrespective of field of study, race, age, socioeconomic status or location, females are always and everywhere 20% less likely to dropout than their male counterparts (including in traditionally ‘male’ fields like Engineering and Computer Science). Building on the idea of the ‘Matthew Effect’ in reading (the rich get richer), we present evidence of a gendered version of this phenomenon in higher education; what we call the ‘Martha Effect’.
    Keywords: Higher education, matric, gender, female advantage
    JEL: I21 I23 I24 J16
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Joana Pais; Flip Klijn; Marc Vorsatz
    Abstract: In the context of school choice, we experimentally study how behavior and outcomes are affected when, instead of submitting rankings in the student proposing or receiving deferred acceptance (DA) mechanism, participants make decisions dynamically, going through the steps of the underlying algorithms. Our main results show that, contrary to theory, (a) in the dynamic student proposing DA mechanism, participants propose to schools respecting the order of their true preferences slightly more often than in its static version while, (b) in the dynamic student receiving DA mechanism, participants react to proposals by always respecting the order and not accepting schools in the tail of their true preferences more often than in the corresponding static version. As a consequence, for most problems we test, no significant differences exist between the two versions of the student proposing DA mechanisms in what stability and average payoffs are concerned, but the dynamic version of the student receiving DA mechanism delivers a clear improvement over its static counterpart in both dimensions. In fact, in the aggregate, the dynamic school proposing DA mechanism is the best performing mechanism.
    Keywords: dynamic school choice, deferred acceptance, stability, efficiency
    JEL: C78 C91 C92 D78 I20
    Date: 2017–09
  8. By: Gustavo Javier Canavire-Bacarreza; Michael Jetter; Alejandra Montoya-Agudelo
    Abstract: This paper suggests that societies exhibiting a large degree of educational polarization among its populace are systematically more likely to slip into civil conflict and civil war. Intuitively, political preferences and beliefs of highly educated citizens are likely to differ fundamentally from those of uneducated citizens. We propose an index of educational polarization and test its predictive power in explaining the likelihood of civil conflict and civil war, analyzing 146 countries (equivalent to over 93 percent of the world population) from 1950 to 2014. Our results produce strong evidence for a positive, statistically powerful, and economically sizeable relationship. In our benchmark estimation, a one standard deviation increase in educational polarization is associated with a 4.6 and 3.8 percentage point rise in the chances of civil conflict and civil war, respectively. These results are robust to the inclusion of the conventional control variables, country-fixed effects, and country-specific time trends.
    Keywords: civil conflict, civil war, educational polarization, panel data
    JEL: D63 D74 I24 O15
    Date: 2016
  9. By: Aregawi G. Gebremariam (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Elisabetta Lodigiani (Elisabetta Lodigiani University of Padua; Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milan); Giacomo Pasini (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice; NETSPAR, Le Tilburg)
    Abstract: Children’s educational aspirations are important predictors of educational attainment and of occupational success. However, aspirations can be affected by whether an individual is poor or rich. This paper evaluates the impacts of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), launched by the government of Ethiopia in 2005/06 to support food insecure rural households, on children’s educational aspirations. Using longitudinal data from the Young Lives’ survey in Ethiopia and applying a differences–in-differences methodology, we find that the program increases educational aspirations of children. In our preferred specification, the immediate effect of the program is to increase by 0.73 years of education aspirations of children. Furthermore, we find that aspirations are affected also in the long run, even if the point estimates are sensible to model specification. The results point to broad and long lasting positive effects of a program designed to relieve chronically poor households from food insecurity.
    Keywords: Educational aspirations, PSNP, differences–in-differences, food insecure
    JEL: H43 I38 O12
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Facundo Albornoz; María Victoria Anauati; Melina Furman; Mariana Luzuriaga; María Eugenia Podestá; Inés Taylor
    Abstract: This paper uses a RCT implemented in state schools in Argentina to estimate the learning impact and cost-effectiveness of different teacher training methods: structured curricula and coaching. Our findings suggest that there is a substantial gain in terms of learning for students with teachers being trained using structured curricula and coaching (between 55% and 64% of a standard deviation more than those students in the control group). Coaching teachers does not appear as a cost-effective intervention since the unit cost per 0.1 standard deviation is more than twice the cost of using a structured curriculum only. However, additional coaching is particularly relevant for relatively inexperienced teachers. A structured curriculum and coaching also affect perceptions: teachers enjoyed more teaching Science, they taught more hours of Science and students learned more and developed more skills.
    Keywords: Science education; Teacher training; Experimental study
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Aboozar Hadavand (School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on an important aspect of economic inequality – the question of how people perceive inequality and whether these perceptions deviate in any meaningful way from statistical measures of inequality. Using a novel approach I investigate whether individuals across different countries are able to correctly estimate the shape of income distribution of the country where they reside. I find that perceptions of inequality are frequently shaped by reference groups such as those formed according to educational attainment, age, and gender.
    Keywords: Income inequality, perception, reference groups
    JEL: D31 D83 D63 I30
    Date: 2017–10
  12. By: Ulf Zölitz; Jan Feld
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the peer gender composition in university affects students' major choices and labor market outcomes. Women who are randomly assigned to more female peers become less likely to choose male-dominated majors, they end up in jobs where they work fewer hours and their wage grows at a slower rate. Men become more likely to choose male-dominated majors after having had more female peers, although their labor market outcomes are not affected. Our results suggest that the increasing female university enrolment over recent decades has paradoxically contributed to the occupational segregation among university graduates that persists in today’s labor market.
    Keywords: Peer effects, major choice, gender composition
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2017–11

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.