nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2018‒09‒03
four papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Frictional Labor Markets, Education Choices and Wage Inequality By Manuel Macera; Hitoshi Tsujiyama
  2. Information Frictions in Education and Inequality By Ana Figueiredo
  3. Testing By Annika Barbara Bergbauer; Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Wößmann
  4. Food Norms and Preferences in Schools: is there Pluralistic Ignorance? By albani, viviana; bardsley, nicholas; garcia-gallego, aurora; georgantzis, nikos; nocella, giuseppe

  1. By: Manuel Macera (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella); Hitoshi Tsujiyama (Goethe University Frankfurt)
    Abstract: This paper studies how education choices and labor market frictions interact in shaping wage inequality. The wage premium of college graduates relative to high school graduates (between-group inequality) has tripled since 1980 in the U.S., and the variance of log wages conditional on educational attainments (within-group inequality) has become about 50% larger across the board. To understand the source of this change, we construct a model with schooling investments and labor market frictions that generates supply and demand of skills and frictional wage differentials as equilibrium objects. The model features a two-sided sorting: education sorting of skilled workers into college education and labor market sorting of productive firms into the labor market for college graduates − together implying an assortative matching of high skilled workers to productive firms. A novel model-based wage decomposition of both the between- and within-group inequalities is obtained. Calibrating the model to the U.S. data, we find that the inequality trend is accounted for by worker composition and labor market friction. If there were no skill- biased technological change, the variance of log wages would be smaller, mainly due to lower within-group inequality.
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Ana Figueiredo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Barcelona GSE)
    Abstract: Why does the place where children grow up shape their opportunities in life? This paper explores the role of imperfect information and local information transmission as a novel explanation. First, I uncover a new empirical fact: when the college premium is low, a higher share of college graduates living in a school-district is associated with lower college enrollment of students graduating from that district. While this pattern is hard to reconcile through models with local spillovers in the production of human capital, I show that it is consistent with a model featuring imperfect information and local learning. The key elements are uncertainty about the skill premium and learning through signals of wages earned by nearby college graduates. In this environment, more exposure to highly educated neighbors brings more information about the skill premium. However, this only translates into more education if the observed wages generate the perception of a higher skill premium. Calibrating the model to match micro data from Detroit, I find that this novel mechanism explains more than half of the college enrollment gap between children of parents with a college degree and children from parents with a lower education level. Implementing a disclosure policy that corrects inaccurate perceptions about the skill premium closes this gap substantially.
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Annika Barbara Bergbauer; Eric A. Hanushek; Ludger Wößmann
    Abstract: School systems regularly use student assessments for accountability purposes. But, as highlighted by our conceptual model, different configurations of assessment usage generate performance-conducive incentives of different strengths for different stakeholders in different school environments. We build a dataset of over 2 million students in 59 countries observed over 6 waves in the international PISA student achievement test 2000-2015. Our empirical model exploits the country panel dimension to investigate reforms in assessment systems over time, where identification comes from taking out country and year fixed effects along with a rich set of student, school, and country measures. We find that the expansion of standardized external comparisons, both school-based and student-based, is associated with improvements in student achievement. The effect of school-based comparison is stronger in countries with initially low performance. Similarly, standardized monitoring without external comparison has a positive effect in initially poorly performing countries. By contrast, the introduction of solely internal testing and internal teacher monitoring including inspectorates does not affect student achievement. Our findings point out the pitfalls of overly broad generalizations from specific country testing systems.
    Keywords: student assessment, testing, accountability, student achievement, international, PISA
    JEL: I28 H52 L15 D82 P51
    Date: 2018
  4. By: albani, viviana; bardsley, nicholas; garcia-gallego, aurora; georgantzis, nikos; nocella, giuseppe
    Abstract: We use behavioural games to identify preferences, beliefs about others’ preferences, and higher-order beliefs, amongst adolescents at a UK comprehensive school. Pupils systematically under-rate the attractiveness of ‘healthy’, and over-rate that of ‘unhealthy’, foods. The bias is consistently in the direction of higher-order beliefs. Pluralistic ignorance would explain much of the results and seems clearly instantiated in one case.
    Keywords: social norms, behavioural games, childrens’ diets, experiment
    JEL: C91 C93 Z1
    Date: 2018

This nep-edu issue is ©2018 by Marco Novarese. 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.