nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2018‒10‒22
five papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Can equity in education foster social mobility? By Daniel Salinas
  2. Tracking and specialization of high schools: heterogeneous effects of school choice By De Groote, Olivier; Declercq, Koen
  3. The Market Value of Public Education By Sergei Soares
  4. Inequality in socioemotional skills: a cross-cohort comparison By Orazio Attanasio; Richard Blundell; Gabriella Conti; Giacomo Mason
  5. Infant Health, Cognitive Performance and Earnings: Evidence from Inception of the Welfare State in Sweden By Karlsson, Martin; Schwarz, Nina; Bhalotra, Sonia; Nilsson, Therese

  1. By: Daniel Salinas
    Abstract: Equity is a fundamental value and guiding principle of education policy and practice, but it is not necessarily actualised in schools and education systems around the world. There are large variations across PISA-participating countries and economies in the magnitude of the difference that socio-economic status makes in students’ learning, well-being and post-secondary educational attainment. This suggests that policy and practice have a key role to play in reducing socio-economic inequalities in education.Equity does not mean that all students obtain equal education outcomes, but rather that differences in students’ outcomes are unrelated to their background or to economic and social circumstances over which the students have no control. Equity in education means that students of different socio-economic status achieve similar levels of academic performance, and of social and emotional well-being, and that they are equally likely to earn desirable post-secondary education credentials, such as university degrees, that will make it easier for them to succeed in the labour market and realise their goals as adult members of society. Education systems need to determine how individual students learn best and tailor learning opportunities to meet their needs.The newly released PISA report, Equity in Education: Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility, shows that narrowing the differences related to socio-economic status in what students near the end of compulsory schooling can do with what they have learned could offer more opportunities for children and young people born into disadvantaged families to move up the socio-economic ladder.
    Date: 2018–10–23
  2. By: De Groote, Olivier; Declercq, Koen
    Abstract: We analyze the impact of choosing for an elite school on high school graduation in an early tracking system. We apply our analysis to Belgium, where schools can offer one or more tracks, but elite schools offer only the academic track. We derive a non-significant average effect, but there is substantial heterogeneity. Students who self- select into elite schools experience a 4 percentage point drop in their chances to obtain a degree. This can be explained by track switching. Students with a high preference for elite schools do not want to leave this school to sort into a better suited track.
    Keywords: elite schools; early tracking; marginal treatment effects
    JEL: C31 I28
    Date: 2018–09
  3. By: Sergei Soares (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: In this paper, I will compare three methods to value education services and their distributive impact. These methods are: the Cost of Provision approach, according to which public schooling is worth what it costs the state to produce it; the Labor Market approach, according to which a year of schooling is worth the present value of the additional lifetime income it brings; and the Private Educational Market approach, according to which a year in a public school is worth what it would cost in an equivalent private school. For each method, I will calculate the total value of public educational services by level as well as their impact upon income inequality, as measured by the Gini Coefficient of per capita household income. I will apply each method to Brazil, a country for which educational, expenditure, and income distribution data are both good quality and easily available. The results are surprisingly invariant across methods: (i) the value of all public schooling varies from 6% to 7% of incomes with the Cost of Provision providing the lowest estimates and the Labor Market Method the highest; and (ii) with the exception of higher education, public schooling is highly distributive and all public educational services reduce the Gini Coefficient by about 3 to 4 Gini points.
    Keywords: valuation of educational services, value of public education, distributional aspect of public education, hedonic prices, educational rates of return, costs of education
    JEL: I22 I24
    Date: 2018–09
  4. By: Orazio Attanasio (University College London); Richard Blundell (University College London); Gabriella Conti (University College London); Giacomo Mason (University College London)
    Abstract: We examine changes in inequality in socio-emotional skills very early in life in two British cohorts born 30 years apart. We construct socio-emotional scales comparable across cohorts for both boys and girls, using two validated instruments for the measurement of child behaviour. We identify two dimensions of socio-emotional skills for each cohort: ‘internalising’ and ‘externalising’, related to the ability of children to focus their concentration and to engage in interpersonal activities, respectively. Using recent methodological advances in factor analysis, we establish comparability in the inequality of these early skills across cohorts, but not in their average level. We document for the first time that inequality in these early skills has increased across cohorts, especially for boys and at the bottom of the distribution. We also document changes in conditional skills gaps across cohorts. We find an increase in the socio- emotional skills gap in the younger cohort for children born to mothers with higher socio-economic status (education and employment), and to mothers who smoked during pregnancy. The increase in inequality in early socio-emotional skills is particularly pronounced for boys. On the other hand, we find a decline in the skills gradient for children without a father figure in the household. Lastly, we document that socio-emotional skills measured at a much earlier age than in most of the existing literature are significant predictors of outcomes both in adolescence and adulthood, in particular health and health behaviours. Our results show the importance of formally testing comparability of measurements to study skills differences across groups, and in general point to the role of inequalities in the early years for the accumulation of health and human capital across the life course.
    Keywords: Inequality, socio-emotional skills, cohort study, measurement invariance
    JEL: J13 J24 I14 I24
    Date: 2018–10
  5. By: Karlsson, Martin; Schwarz, Nina; Bhalotra, Sonia; Nilsson, Therese
    Abstract: We estimate impacts of exposure to an infant health intervention trialled in Sweden in the early 1930s using purposively digitised birth registers linked to school catalogues, census files and tax records to generate longitudinal data that track individuals through four stages of the life-course, from birth to age 71. This allows us to measure impacts on childhood health and cognitive skills at ages 7 and 10, educational choice during young adulthood, employment, earnings and occupation at age 36{40, and pension income at age 71. Leveraging quasi-random variation in eligibility by birth date and birth parish, we estimate that an additional year of exposure was associated with substantial increases in earnings and (public sector) employment among women, alongside no improvements for men. Earnings gains for women were concentrated in the top quintile of the distribution. The earnings results appear to be related to the intervention having made it more likely that primary school test scores for girls were in the top quintile of the distribution and, related, that they attended secondary school. The greater investments of women in education are consistent with their comparative advantage in cognitive tasks, but opportunities are also likely to have played a role. Our sample cohorts were exposed to a massive expansion of the Swedish welfare state, which created unprecedented employment opportunities for women.
    Keywords: Infant health,early life interventions,cognitive skills,education,earnings,occupational choice,programme evaluation,Sweden
    JEL: I15 I18 H41
    Date: 2018

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