nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2019‒05‒20
four papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Girls, Boys, and High Achievers By Angela Cools; Raquel Fernandez; Eleonora Patacchini
  2. Does Prior Achievement Matter? Early Tracking and Immigrant Children in Europe By ALIEVA Aigul; HILDEBRAND Vincent
  3. Refugee education: Integration models and practices in OECD countries By Lucie Cerna
  4. The political economy of educational policies and inequality of opportunity By Vincenzo Prete; Claudio Zoli

  1. By: Angela Cools (Cornell University); Raquel Fernandez (New York University); Eleonora Patacchini (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 socio- economic 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 out- comes is markedly different: boys are unaffected by “high-achievers” of either gender.
    Keywords: gender, education, cohort study, high achievers, peers
    JEL: I21 J16
    Date: 2019–05
  2. By: ALIEVA Aigul; HILDEBRAND Vincent
    Abstract: Educational tracking is one of the institutional barriers to more equitable societies. Students with a modest social origin and/or an immigration background are underrepresented in the academic programs of secondary schools that would make them eligible later to access tertiary education. Literature on whether track placement reflects a student's aptitude remains largely scarce. We aim to contribute to this research strand and analyze the role of achievement prior to tracking on the odds of placement in an academic program among immigrant students and native peers with a similar level of academic ability. While the overall results suggest no disadvantage among immigrant students, the results by ethnicity and geographic region of origin reveal a large ethnic penalty for those of African, Turkish, Middle Eastern, or South European background. Our paper highlights the pertinence of students' origin on educational trajectories and the persisting bias in tracking policy in European school systems.
    Keywords: academic track; vocational track; immigrant students; Europe; ethnicity and origin
    Date: 2019–05
  3. By: Lucie Cerna (OECD)
    Abstract: The recent refugee crisis has put many OECD countries under considerable pressure to accommodate and integrate large numbers of refugees. Refugee students are a particularly vulnerable group due to their forced displacement, but their needs are not always met by education systems, which can hinder the integration potential of these students. This poses considerable challenges as the integration of refugee students in education systems is important for their academic outcomes as well as their social and emotional well-being. The success (or lack of) integration in schools can also affect the future labour market and social integration potential of these children and youth. While there is a growing body of research on the integration of immigrants, policy-relevant research on refugee children and youth from an educational perspective is rather limited, fragmented and case specific. Detailed surveys and research projects focusing on the current wave of refugees that allow for cross-country comparisons are not yet available. Drawing on research from previous refugee waves, the paper examines key needs of refugee students and factors that promote their integration. It proposes a holistic model of integration in education that responds to the learning, social and emotional needs of refugee students. Furthermore, the paper examines what type of policies and practices are in place in OECD countries that support the integration of refugee students. Nonetheless, evaluations of practices and policies are often missing, which makes it difficult to assess whether they are successful. The paper finishes with some policy pointers on how to promote the integration of refugee students.
    Date: 2019–05–17
  4. By: Vincenzo Prete (Department of Economics, University Of Verona); Claudio Zoli (Department of Economics, University Of Verona)
    Abstract: We propose a political economy model to explain cross-country differences observed in educational policies and to show how such heterogeneity is associated with the level of a country’s development and inequality. Parents, heterogeneous in terms of income and their child’s ability, vote over the educational policy, by deciding the allocation of a given public budget between basic and higher education. Parents can invest in supplemental private education to increase the probability of their children of being admitted to higher education. When the level of development is low and inequality between social classes is sufficiently large, there is low exchange social mobility in the access to higher education, and educational policies are characterized by a large relative per-student expenditure in higher education.
    Keywords: Education, Voting, Development, Inequality, Mobility
    JEL: D31 H52 I24 I25
    Date: 2019

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