nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2019‒05‒06
four papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Girls, Boys, and High Achievers By Cools, Angela; Fernández, Raquel; Patacchini, Eleonora
  2. Distance Learning in Higher Education: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment By Cacault, M. Paula; Hildebrand, Christian; Laurent-Lucchetti, Jérémy; Pellizzari, Michele
  3. Does Evaluating Teachers Make a Difference? By Briole, Simon; Maurin, Eric
  4. Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives? By Jerrim, John; Parker, Phil; Shure, Nikki

  1. By: Cools, Angela (Cornell University); Fernández, Raquel (New York University); Patacchini, Eleonora (Cornell University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of exposure to female and male "high-achievers" in high school on the long-run educational outcomes of their peers. Using data from a recent cohort of students in the United States, we identify a causal effect by exploiting quasi-random variation in the exposure of students to peers with highly-educated parents across cohorts within a school. We find that greater exposure to "high-achieving" boys, as proxied by their parents' education, decreases the likelihood that girls go on to complete a bachelor's degree, substituting the latter with junior college degrees. It also affects negatively their math and science grades and, in the long term, decreases labor force participation and increases fertility. We explore possible mechanisms and find that greater exposure leads to lower self-confidence and aspirations and to more risky behavior (including having a child before age 18). The girls most strongly affected are those in the bottom half of the ability distribution (as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test), those with at least one college-educated parent, and those attending a school in the upper half of the socioeconomic distribution. The effects are quantitatively important: an increase of one standard deviation in the percent of "high-achieving" boys decreases the probability of obtaining a bachelor's degree from 2.2-4.5 percentage points, depending on the group. Greater exposure to "high-achieving" girls, on the other hand, increases bachelor's degree attainment for girls in the lower half of the ability distribution, those without a college-educated parent, and those attending a school in the upper half of the socio-economic distribution. The effect of "high-achievers" on male outcomes is markedly different: boys are unaffected by "high-achievers" of either gender.
    Keywords: gender, education, cohort study, high achievers, peers
    JEL: I21 J16
    Date: 2019–04
  2. By: Cacault, M. Paula (University of Geneva); Hildebrand, Christian (University of St. Gallen); Laurent-Lucchetti, Jérémy (University of Geneva); Pellizzari, Michele (University of Geneva)
    Abstract: Using a randomized experiment in a public Swiss university, we study the impact of online live streaming of lectures on student achievement and attendance. We find that (i) students use the live streaming technology only punctually, apparently when random events make attending in class too costly; (ii) attending lectures via live streaming lowers achievement for low-ability students and increases achievement for high-ability ones and (iii) offering live streaming reduces in-class attendance only mildly. These findings have important implications for the design of education policies.
    Keywords: EduTech, distance learning, live streaming
    JEL: I20 I21 I23
    Date: 2019–04
  3. By: Briole, Simon (Paris School of Economics); Maurin, Eric (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: In France, secondary school teachers are evaluated every six or seven years by senior experts of the Ministry of education. These external evaluations mostly involve the supervision of one class session and a debriefing interview, but have nonetheless a direct impact on teachers' career advancement. In this paper, we show that these evaluations contribute to improving students' performance, especially in math. This effect is seen not only for students taught by teachers the year of their evaluations but also for students taught by the same teachers the subsequent years, suggesting that evaluations improve teachers' core pedagogical skills. These positive effects persist over time and are particularly salient in education priority schools, in contexts where teaching is often very challenging. Overall, a system of light touch evaluations appears to be much more cost-effective than more popular alternatives, such as class size reduction.
    Keywords: teacher quality, evaluation, feedback, teaching practices, supervision, education
    JEL: I20 I28 J24
    Date: 2019–04
  4. By: Jerrim, John (University College London); Parker, Phil (Australian Catholic University); Shure, Nikki (University College London)
    Abstract: 'Bullshitters' are individuals who claim knowledge or expertise in an area where they actually have little experience or skill. Despite this being a well-known and widespread social phenomenon, relatively few large-scale empirical studies have been conducted into this issue. This paper attempts to fill this gap in the literature by examining teenagers' propensity to claim expertise in three mathematics constructs that do not really exist. Using Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data from nine Anglophone countries and over 40,000 young people, we find substantial differences in young people's tendency to bullshit across countries, genders and socio-economic groups. Bullshitters are also found to exhibit high levels of overconfidence and believe they work hard, persevere at tasks, and are popular amongst their peers. Together this provides important new insight into who bullshitters are and the type of survey responses that they provide.
    Keywords: PISA, overclaiming, bullshit
    JEL: I24 J16
    Date: 2019–04

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