nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2018‒01‒22
eighteen papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Management Quality in Public Education: Superintendent Value-Added, Student Outcomes and Mechanisms By Victor Lavy; Adi Boiko
  2. Education Reform in General Equilibrium: Evidence from California's Class Size Reduction By Michael Gilraine; Hugh Macartney; Robert McMillan
  3. Incentives and the Supply of Effective Charter Schools By Singleton, John
  4. Economic efficiency of public secondary education expenditure: how different are developed and developing countries? By Juliana Arias Ciro; Alejandro Torres Garci?a
  5. Student Loan Nudges: Experimental Evidence on Borrowing and Educational Attainment By Benjamin M. Marx; Lesley J. Turner
  6. Are School-Provided Skills Useful at Work? Results of the Wiles Test By Liwiński, Jacek; Pastore, Francesco
  7. The short- and long-term effects of student absence: evidence from Sweden By Sarah Cattan; Daniel A. Kamhöfer; Martin Karlsson; Therese Nilsson
  8. More teachers, smarter students? Potential side effects of the German educational expansion By Westphal, Matthias
  9. The Effect of School Starting Age on Special Needs Incidence and Child Development into Adolescence By Balestra, Simone; Eugster, Beatrix; Liebert, Helge
  10. Are Teacher Pensions "Hazardous" for Schools? By Patten Priestley Mahler
  11. School Performance, Score Inflation and Economic Geography By Battistin, Erich; Neri, Lorenzo
  12. Do Boys Benefit from Male Teachers in Elementary School? Evidence from Administrative Panel Data By Puhani, Patrick A.
  13. Intergenerational Education Mobility and the Level of Development: Evidence from Turkey By Aydemir, Abdurrahman; Yazici, Hakki
  14. Housing Disease and Public School Finances By Matthew Davis; Fernando V. Ferreira
  15. Ordering History Through the Timeline By Garibaldi, Eugenio; Garibaldi, Pietro
  16. The End of the American Dream? Inequality and Segregation in US cities By Veronica Guerrieri; Alessandra Fogli
  17. What does teaching look like?: A new video study By OECD
  18. Changes across Cohorts in Wage Returns to Schooling and Early Work Experiences By Jared Ashworth; V. Joseph Hotz; Arnaud Maurel; Tyler Ransom

  1. By: Victor Lavy; Adi Boiko
    Abstract: We present evidence about the ways that school superintendents add value in Israel’s primary and middle schools. Superintendents are the CEOs of a cluster of schools with powers to affect the quality of schooling, and we extend the approach used in recent literature to measure teachers’ value added, to assess school superintendents. We exploit a quasi-random matching of superintendent and schools, and estimate that superintendent value added has positive and significant effects on primary and middle school students’ test scores in math, Hebrew, and English. One standard deviation improvement in superintendent value added increases test scores by about 0.04 of a standard deviation in the test score distribution. The effect doesn’t vary with students’ socio-economic background, is highly non-linear, increases sharply for superintendents in the highest-quartile of the value added distribution, and is larger for female superintendents. We explore several mechanisms for these effects and find that superintendents with higher value added are associated with more focused school priorities and more clearly defined working procedures, but no effect on school resources and no effect on total teachers’ on the job and external training, although there is a significant effect on the composition of the former. Another important effect is that schools with higher quality superintendents are more likely to address school climate, violence and bullying, and implement related interventions which lead to lower violence in school. A new superintendent is also associated with a higher likelihood that the school principal is replaced.
    JEL: I0 I21
    Date: 2017–11
  2. By: Michael Gilraine; Hugh Macartney; Robert McMillan
    Abstract: This paper sheds new light on general equilibrium responses to major education reforms, focusing on a sorting mechanism likely to operate whenever a reform improves public school quality significantly. It does so in the context of California's statewide class size reduction program of the late-1990s, and makes two main contributions. First, using a transparent differencing strategy that exploits the grade-specific roll-out of the reform, we show evidence of general equilibrium sorting effects: Improvements in public school quality caused marked reductions in local private school shares, consequent changes in public school demographics, and significant increases in local house prices -- the latter indicative of the reform's full impact. Second, using a generalization of the differencing approach, we provide credible estimates of the direct and indirect impacts of the reform on a common scale. These reveal a large pure class size effect of 0.11 SD (in terms of mathematics scores), and an even larger indirect effect of 0.16 SD via induced changes in school demographics. Further, we show that both effects persist positively, giving rise to an overall policy impact estimated to be 0.4 SD higher after four years of treatment (relative to none). The analysis draws attention, more broadly, to conditions under which the indirect sorting effects of major reforms are likely to be first order.
    JEL: H40 I21 I22
    Date: 2018–01
  3. By: Singleton, John
    Abstract: Charter school funding is typically set by formulas that provide the same amount for all students regardless of advantage or need. In this paper, I present evidence that this policy skews the distribution of students served by charters towards low-cost populations by influencing where charter schools decide to open and whether they survive. I develop and estimate an empirical model of charter school supply and competition to evaluate the effects of funding policies that aim to correct these incentives. To do this, I recover estimates of cost differentials across student populations by linking charter school effectiveness at raising student achievement with unique records of charter school expenditures gathered from Florida. I then leverage revealed preference with the exit and location choices of charter schools in an entry game to uncover how charter schools respond to competitive and financial incentives. The results indicate that a cost-adjusted funding formula would significantly increase the share of charter schools serving disadvantaged students with little reduction in the aggregate effectiveness of the sector.
    Keywords: charter schools, school choice, school finance
    JEL: H3 I2 L1
    Date: 2017–09–25
  4. By: Juliana Arias Ciro; Alejandro Torres Garci?a
    Abstract: This study measures the efficiency of public secondary education expenditure in 35 developing and developed countries using a two-step semi-parametric DEA (data envelopment analysis) methodology. First, we implement two cross-country frontier models for the 2009-2012 period: one using a physical input (i.e., teacher-pupil ratio) and one using a monetary input (i.e., government expenditure per secondary student). These results are corrected by the effects of GDP per capita and adult educational attainment as non-discretionary inputs. We obtain four important results: (i) developed and developing countries have the same education production processes when they are compared using physical inputs but not when compared using monetary inputs; (ii) developing countries could increase their enrollment rates and PISA scores by approximately 9% and 5%, respectively, by maintaining the same teacher-pupil ratios and public spending levels as developed countries; (iii) Ireland, Japan and Korea are efficient countries in the two frontier models (Colombia is also included in this category when the teacher-pupil ratio is used as input); and (iv) robust empirical evidence indicates that both income and parental educational attainment positively affect the efficiency of public education in both models.
    Keywords: Secondary education, government expenditure, efficiency, DEA.
    JEL: H52 I22
    Date: 2017–12–14
  5. By: Benjamin M. Marx; Lesley J. Turner
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of student loan “nudges” on community college students' borrowing and provide the first experimental evidence of the effect of student loans on educational attainment. Nonbinding loan offers listed in students' financial aid award letters, that do not alter students' choice sets, significantly affect borrowing. Students randomly assigned to receive a nonzero loan offer were 40 percent more likely to borrow than those who received a $0 loan offer. Nudge-induced borrowing increased both GPA and credits earned by roughly 30 percent in the year of the intervention, and in the following year, increased transfers to four-year colleges by 10 percentage points (nearly 200 percent). We predict that the average student would be better off receiving a nonzero loan offer for any discount rate below 12.4 percent. Students' borrowing responses to the nudge are most consistent with a model in which nonzero offers provide information about loan eligibility, suggesting that for most students, nonzero offers are welfare enhancing. Given that over 5 million U.S. college students receive $0 loan offers, our results indicate the potential to achieve large gains in educational attainment through changes to the choice architecture around borrowing.
    JEL: D12 D14 D91 I22
    Date: 2017–11
  6. By: Liwiński, Jacek (University of Warsaw); Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli)
    Abstract: We test for the signalling hypothesis versus human capital theory using the Wiles test (1974) in a country which has experienced a dramatic increase in the supply of skills. For this purpose, we construct a job match index based on the usefulness of the school-provided skills and the relevance of the job performed to the field of study. Then we regress the first earnings of graduates on this index using OLS and Heckit to control for omitted heterogeneity of the employed. The data we use come from a representative tracer survey of Poles who left secondary schools or graduated from HEIs over the period of 1998-2005. We find that only the HEI graduates obtain a wage premium from skills acquired in the course of formal education. This finding is robust to a large number of robustness checks with different indicators of the educational mismatch and instrumental variables.
    Keywords: education, skills, signalling, job matching, wages, Heckman correction
    JEL: J24 J31
    Date: 2017–11
  7. By: Sarah Cattan (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies); Daniel A. Kamhöfer (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Martin Karlsson (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Therese Nilsson (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
    Abstract: Instructional time is seen as an important determinant of school performance, but little is known about the effects of student absence. Combining historical records and administrative data for Swedish individuals born in the 1930s, we examine the impacts of absence in elementary school on short-term academic performance and long-term socio-economic outcomes. Our siblings and individual fi xed effects estimates suggest absence has a moderate adverse effect on academic performance. The detrimental effect fades out over time. While absence negatively correlates with fi nal education, income and longevity, we only fi nd robust evidence that it lowers the probability of employment at age 25-30.
    Keywords: Absence in school, educational performance, long-term effects, register data
    JEL: C23 I14 I21
    Date: 2017–10–05
  8. By: Westphal, Matthias
    Abstract: In this paper, I evaluate potential side effects of the educational expansion in Germany on the learning outcomes of today's students. The educational expansion was a demand shock in the labor market of teachers, which could have thus encouraged individuals with different teaching abilities to eventually become teachers. I find that replacing a non-affected teacher with an educational expansion teacher leads to a 2 percent reduction in students' test scores. Explorative analyses suggest that these teachers are more extrinsically rather than intrinsically motivated. The results highlight that monitoring and investing in quality is important for future extensions of public institutions.
    Keywords: human capital acquisition,teacher effectiveness,educational expansion
    JEL: H75 I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Balestra, Simone; Eugster, Beatrix; Liebert, Helge
    Abstract: Children starting school at older ages consistently exhibit better educational outcomes. In this paper, we underscore child development as a mechanism driving this effect. We study the causal effect of school starting age on a child's probability of developing special educational needs in early grades. We find that starting school at a relatively older age decreases the probability of developing special needs by approximately 6 percentage points. This decrease is due to a lower incidence of various behavioral and learning impairments. Importantly, the effect is not driven by non-expert over-referrals of relatively younger children to special needs services. The effect is persistent throughout compulsory schooling, resulting in higher test scores in grade eight. Although these performance differentials are significant, they do not affect labor market entry.
    Keywords: child development; school starting age; special needs
    JEL: I14 I21 J13
    Date: 2017–12
  10. By: Patten Priestley Mahler (Centre College)
    Abstract: I use a detailed panel of data and a unique modeling specification to explore how public schoolteachers respond to the incentives embedded in North Carolina’s retirement system. Like most public-sector retirement plans, North Carolina’s teacher pension implicitly encourages teachers to continue working until they are eligible for their pension benefits, and then leave soon afterward. I find that teachers with higher levels of quality, as measured by a teacher’s value-added to her students’ achievement test scores, are more responsive to the “pull” of teacher pensions. Younger teachers, those with higher salaries, and nonwhite teachers are also more likely to stay during the pension “pull.” All teachers show a strong response to the pension “push,” with about a quarter of teachers leaving every year once they become eligible for their pension. I depart from other models of teacher retirement by using a Cox proportional hazard model. Given that salaries are generally fixed by the state, I find that the number of years a teacher must work before she is eligible for her full pension benefit is the major driver of variation in pension wealth. This specification has the benefit of a flexible baseline hazard that can easily capture the sharp incentives driving a teacher’s retirement decision that are dependent on her proximity to retirement eligibility, and can flexibly account for differences driven by local labor market conditions. These analyses highlight important unintended effects that inform education policies going forward to ensure the retention of high-quality teachers in all types of schools.
    Keywords: Teacher Retirement, Teacher Pensions, Public Expenditure, Public Pensions, State Finance, Nonwage Benefits
    JEL: H55 H72 H75 J26 J32 I21
    Date: 2017–12
  11. By: Battistin, Erich (Queen Mary, University of London); Neri, Lorenzo (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: We show that grading standards for primary school exams in England have triggered an inflation of quality indicators in the national performance tables for almost two decades. The cumulative effects have resulted in significant differences in the quality signaled to parents for otherwise identical schools. These differences are as good as random, with score inflation resulting from discretion in the grading of randomly assigned external markers. We find large housing price gains from the school quality improvements artificially signaled by inflation as well as lower deprivation and more businesses catering to families in local neighborhoods. The design ensures improved external validity for the valuation of school quality with respect to boundary discontinuities and has the potential for replication outside of our specific case study.
    Keywords: house prices, school quality, score inflation
    JEL: C26 C31 I2
    Date: 2017–11
  12. By: Puhani, Patrick A. (Leibniz University of Hannover)
    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: fixed effects, identification, gender, education, teacher quality
    JEL: I21 J45 J71 J78
    Date: 2017–11
  13. By: Aydemir, Abdurrahman (Sabanci University); Yazici, Hakki (Sabanci University)
    Abstract: This paper provides two contributions to the study of intergenerational mobility. First, we render a thorough characterization of education mobility in Turkey at the national level, including a three-generation mobility analysis. We find that the education mobility is significantly lower in Turkey compared to developed economies. Second, by exploiting large regional variation in the level of economic development across Turkey, we find that intergenerational education persistence is lower for females who grow up in more developed regions. The evidence is mixed for males. Interestingly, the development level of place of residence during earlier stages of childhood has much stronger association with education mobility compared to development level of place of residence during later stages.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility, education, economic development, three generations
    JEL: J6 I2 R0
    Date: 2017–11
  14. By: Matthew Davis; Fernando V. Ferreira
    Abstract: Median expenditure per student in U.S. public schools grew 41% in real terms from 1990 to 2009. We propose a new mechanism to explain part of this increase: housing disease, a fiscal externality from local housing markets in which unexpected booms generate extra revenues that schools administrators have incentives to spend, independent of local preferences for provision of public goods. We establish the importance of housing disease by: (i) assembling a novel microdata set containing the universe of housing transactions for a large sample of school districts; and (ii) using the timelines of school district housing booms to disentangle the effects of housing disease from reverse causality and changes in household composition. We estimate housing price elasticities of per-pupil expenditures of 0.16-0.20, which accounts for approximately half of the rise in public school spending. School districts did not boost administrative costs with those additional funds. Instead, they primarily increased spending on instruction and capital projects, suggesting that the cost increase was accompanied by improvements in the quality of school inputs.
    JEL: H0 I0 J0 R0
    Date: 2017–12
  15. By: Garibaldi, Eugenio; Garibaldi, Pietro
    Abstract: History is a key subject in most educational system in Western countries, and there is ongoing concern about the the degree of historical knowledge and historical sensibility that students obtain after their high school graduation. This paper proposes a simple linetime test for quantitatively measuring a human sense of history. The paper reports the results of the test administered to approximately 250 Italian university students. There are two empirical results. First, students have remarkable difficulties in ordering basic events over the time line, with the largest mistakes observed around the events that took place in the Middle Age. Second, the paper uncovers a statistical regularity in the test performance across gender, with female subjects featuring a statistical significant and quantitatively sizable downward score. The gender difference is surprising, since existing literature on differences in cognitive abilities across gender suggests that female subjects outperform male subjects in memory related tests. The paper shows also that the gender difference survives to a variety of sub periods, and falls by only 20 percent when we distinguish between violent and non violent events.
    Keywords: Gender Difference; Sense of Time
    JEL: I12
    Date: 2017–12
  16. By: Veronica Guerrieri (University of Chicago); Alessandra Fogli (Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank)
    Abstract: Over the last 40 years, the US has experienced a large increase in inequality. At the same time there has been a substantial increase in residential segregation by income and education. What is the link between inequality and residential and educational choice? We first document a strong correlation between inequality and residential segregation at the MSA level, especially in MSA with higher percentage of families with children. Then we develop a general equilibrium overlapping generations model where parents choose the neighborhood where they live with their children. The key ingredient of the model is that there is a spillover effect: children's future wage is expected to be higher if they live in richer neighborhoods. We model such a spillover effect as a black box that can be explained by different quality of public schools, peer effect, learning from neighbors' experience and so forth. This generates a general equilibrium effect through which the residential choice amplifies future inequality: the higher is inequality, the higher is residential segregation which, due to the spillover effect, generates higher inequality. Is this the end of the American dream? We then calibrate the model, using the elasticities found in Chetty and Hendren (2016) and quantify how much residential segregation has contributed to increase inequality. (We attach slides of a preliminary version of the paper, as the current version is still on progress).
    Date: 2017
  17. By: OECD
    Abstract: While teachers can make a great difference to student outcomes, we know little about how they teach and what makes “good” teaching. The TALIS Video Study is a new OECD project that aims at understanding what teaching practices are used, how they are interrelated, and which ones are most related to students’ cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes. It will use video observation to capture, literally, what teaching looks like in different countries, along with surveys of teachers and students, student assessments, and other instructional materials, to obtain as complete a picture as possible of teaching and learning. The study unpacks teaching into different domains to depict a wide range of approaches in a systematic, detailed and consistent way across the eight participating school systems.
    Date: 2018–01–17
  18. By: Jared Ashworth; V. Joseph Hotz; Arnaud Maurel; Tyler Ransom
    Abstract: This paper investigates the wage returns to schooling and actual early work experiences, and how these returns have changed over the past twenty years. Using the NLSY surveys, we develop and estimate a dynamic model of the joint schooling and work decisions that young men make in early adulthood, and quantify how they affect wages using a generalized Mincerian specification. Our results highlight the need to account for dynamic selection and changes in composition when analyzing changes in wage returns. In particular, we find that ignoring the selectivity of accumulated work experiences results in overstatement of the returns to education.
    JEL: C33 I21 J22 J24
    Date: 2017–12

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