nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2018‒08‒20
eight papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Elitism in Higher Education and Inequality: Why Are the Nordic Countries So Special? By Elise S. Brezis
  2. Education-job mismatches and their impacts on job satisfaction: An analysis among university graduates in Cambodia By Vichet Sam
  3. Who Teaches the Teachers? A RCT of Peer-to-Peer Observation and Feedback in 181 Schools By Richard Murphy; Felix Weinhardt; Gill Wyness
  4. The PISA Shock, Socioeconomic Inequality, and School Reforms in Germany By Davoli, Maddalena; Entorf, Horst
  5. A Machine Learning Approach for Detecting Students at Risk of Low Academic Achievement By Sarah Cornell-Farrow; Robert Garrard
  6. Testing a Social Innovation in Financial Aid for Low-Income Students: Experimental Evidence from Italy By Azzolini, Davide; Martini, Alberto; Rettore, Enrico; Romano, Barbara; Schizzerotto, Antonio; Vergolini, Loris
  7. The impact of mental problems on mortality and how it is moderated by education By Bijwaard, G.E.;; Tynelius, P.;
  8. The Making of a Constitutionalist: James Buchanan on Education By Jean-Baptiste Fleury; Alain Marciano

  1. By: Elise S. Brezis (Bar-Ilan University)
    Abstract: This paper shows that countries with high levels of ‘elitism’ in higher-education are the countries displaying high levels of inequality. In other words, a higher level of ‘elitism’, i.e., large gap in quality of universities, and tight selection in top universities leads to a wider gap in wages between the tradable and service sectors, which leads also to a higher Gini index. This paper shows that the Nordic countries display lower elitism in higher education as well as lower inequality than most of the other OECD countries.
    Keywords: Ability, elitism, inequality, Gini index, higher education, human capital, wage differential.
    JEL: F12 F16 J24 O14
    Date: 2018–03
  2. By: Vichet Sam (IREGE - Institut de Recherche en Gestion et en Economie - USMB [Université de Savoie] [Université de Chambéry] - Université Savoie Mont Blanc)
    Abstract: Education-job mismatches, especially overeducation or vertical mismatch, are generally found to lower the worker's job satisfaction, which may generate the counter-productive behaviors such as high rates of absenteeism and turnover in developed countries. The purpose of this article is to examine the impacts of educational mismatches from their both forms and dimensions (match, overeducation, horizontal mismatch and double mismatch) on the job satisfaction among university graduates in Cambodia. To deal with the sample selection bias owing to the unobserved job satisfaction of unemployed graduates, this study applies the Heckman probit model on a survey conducted with nineteen higher education institutions in Cambodia. Results indicate that the both forms of mismatches adversely affect the job satisfaction and the consequence is stronger if graduates suffer both vertical and horizontal mismatches. This suggests that the literature has to focus on all forms and dimensions of mismatches when examining their impacts on the individual outcomes in the labor market. The findings also underline the importance of improvement in the quality of education-job matching in Cambodia because the possible counter-productive behaviors due to inadequate education-employment may affect the firm productivity and thus limit their development.
    Keywords: vertical and horizontal educational mismatches, job satisfaction, sample selection bias, Heckman probit regression, higher education
    Date: 2018–07–15
  3. By: Richard Murphy; Felix Weinhardt; Gill Wyness
    Abstract: It is well established that teachers are the most important in-school factor in determining student outcomes. However, to date there is scant robust quantitative research demonstrating that teacher training programs can have lasting impacts on student test scores. To address this gap, we conduct and evaluate a teacher peer-to-peer observation and feedback program under Randomized Control Trial (RCT) conditions. Half of 181 volunteer primary schools in England were randomly selected to participate in the two year program. We find that students of treated teachers perform no better on national tests a year after the program ended. The absence of external observers and incentives in our program may explain the contrast of these results with the small body of work which shows a positive influence of teacher observation and feedback on pupil outcomes.
    Keywords: education, teachers, RCT, peer mentoring
    JEL: I21 I28 M53
    Date: 2018–08
  4. By: Davoli, Maddalena (Goethe University Frankfurt); Entorf, Horst (Goethe University Frankfurt)
    Abstract: In Germany, the poor performance in PISA 2000 stimulated a heated public debate and a strong policy response. The government reacted to the low average and remarkable disparities registered by the test, and spurred reforms led to a significant improvement in the country's educational performance and to a reduction of the gap between children from advantaged and disadvantaged educational backgrounds. Still, between‐group achievement inequalities persist within the country. This paper, first, informs about important policy reforms following the PISA shock in 2000. It further gives a description of the current situation and persisting inequalities at secondary schools, with particular attention paid to students with migratory backgrounds.
    Keywords: migration background, school reforms, inequality, PISA shock
    JEL: I24 I28 I21
    Date: 2018–08
  5. By: Sarah Cornell-Farrow; Robert Garrard
    Abstract: We aim to predict whether a primary school student will perform in the `below standard' band of a standardized test based on a set of individual, school-level, and family-level observables. We exploit a data set containing test performance on the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN); a test given annually to all Australian primary school students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. Students who perform in the `below standard' band constitute approximately 3% of the sample, with the remainder performing at or above standard, requiring that a proposed classifier be robust to imbalanced classes. Observations for students in grades 5, 7, and 9 contain data on previous achievement in NAPLAN. We separate the analysis into students in grade 5 and above, for which previous achievement may be used as a predictor; and students in grade 3, which must rely on family and school-level predictors only. On each subset of the data, we train and compare a set of classifiers in order to predict below standard performance in reading and numeracy learning areas respectively. The best classifiers for grades 5 and above achieve an area under the ROC curve of approximately 95%, and for grade 3 achieve an AUC of approximately 80%. Our results suggest that it is feasible for schools to screen a large number of students for their risk of obtaining below standard achievement a full two years before they are identified as achieving below standard on their next NAPLAN test.
    Date: 2018–07
  6. By: Azzolini, Davide (FBK-IRVAPP); Martini, Alberto (University of Piemonte Orientale); Rettore, Enrico (University of Trento); Romano, Barbara (ASVAPP); Schizzerotto, Antonio (IRVAPP); Vergolini, Loris (IRVAPP)
    Abstract: This paper presents the results of a randomized controlled trial aimed at testing the effectiveness of an innovative intervention of asset building (Percorsi) on high school students' transition to the university. Contrary to most traditional forms of financial aid, the tested intervention is expected to enhance an active involvement of the families and imposes a strong conditionality in the use of the benefits. The experiment, called ACHAB (Affording College with the Help of Asset Building) has been carried out in the province of Torino (Northwest Italy) between 2014 and 2017. For the evaluation purpose, an ad hoc survey has been carried out to collect longitudinal information on enrolment decisions and academic performances (number of exams and persistence) during the first semester and at the beginning of the second year. External data and applicant baseline information were used to perform a multidimensional targeting strategy aimed at identifying the 'target population', i.e. those students who were at risk of giving up their university enrolment decisions because of economic reasons. The experimental results point to the existence of positive and significant effects of the program on university enrolment and sizeable and significant positive effects on academic performance and university persistence. The effects of the program are significantly larger for students coming from vocational schools than for students who completed technical or general secondary schools.
    Keywords: higher education, social inequality, financial aid, asset building, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: C90 D04 I22 I24
    Date: 2018–06
  7. By: Bijwaard, G.E.;; Tynelius, P.;
    Abstract: Mental disorders have a large impact on invalidity and mortality. Poor mental health is associated with low education, which is also associated with poor health and higher mortality. The association between mental health and mortality may, therefore, be partly explained by the increased incidence of mental problems of the low educated. An important issue is that mental health problems, education attainment and mortality may all depend on the same observed and unobserved individual factors. Such confounding renders both the incidence of mental health problems and education endogenous in the mortality analysis. We account for both the selective incidence of mental health problems and selective educational attainment by using a correlated multistate model for the mental health (hospitalization) process (both admittance an discharge) and mortality with a re-weighting technique (inverse propensity weighting) based on the probability to attain higher education. We use Swedish Military Conscription Data (1951-1960), linked to the administrative Swedish death and National Hospital Discharge registers. We observe the timing of admittance and discharge from mental hospitals, the moment and cause of death and the education level. We estimate the effect of mental hospitalization and education on the morality rate and how the effect of mental hospitalization is moderated by education. Our empirical results indicate a strong effect of both mental hospitalization and education on mortality. Mental hospitalization affects mortality due to external causes of death in particular. Only for the low educated improving education moderates the impact of mental hospitalization on mortality. We also found that ignoring confounding would overestimate the impact of mental hospitalization on mortality. Accounting for confounding in mental hospitalization seems to be more important than accounting for selective educational attainment.
    Keywords: Mental health; Education; Mortality; Timing-of-events; Inverse propensity weighting;
    JEL: C41 I14 I24
    Date: 2018–08
  8. By: Jean-Baptiste Fleury (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - UCP - Université de Cergy Pontoise - Université Paris-Seine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Alain Marciano (MRE - Montpellier Recherche en Economie - UM - Université de Montpellier)
    Abstract: This article studies the few works James Buchanan wrote on education from the end of the 1950s to the early 1970s. These neglected works tell us important things about how Buchanan's ideas on constitutions evolved through time, because they provided Buchanan with the opportunity to apply his ideas about constitutions and, in return, nurture his theoretical thinking. Two historical developments were of importance in the evolution of Buchanan's thinking: the Southern reactions to the Supreme Court's injunction to desegregate public schools in the late 1950s, and, in the late 1960s, university unrest. We argue that Buchanan moved from a rather optimistic conception that constitutions complement market mechanisms, and constitutional manipulation can be tolerated if market mechanisms were sufficiently important to nonetheless let individuals do what they want, to a really pessimistic view – a constitution is absolutely necessary to control and even coerce behaviors. Behind these claims stands Buchanan's conception of what is a " good society " and of the role of the economist in its defense.
    Keywords: Warren Court, Liberalism, University, Education, Constitutional economics,James Buchanan,Brown vs Board of education,History of Economic Thought,History of Political Economy
    Date: 2018

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