nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2019‒05‒27
four papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Explaining Gaps in Educational Transitions Between Migrant and Native School Leavers By Zimmermann, Markus
  2. Let’s tweet again? The impact of social networks on literature achievement in high school students: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial. By Gian Paolo Barbetta; Paolo Canino; Stefano Cima
  3. Violence and Human Capital Investments By Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner; Lívia Menezes
  4. Ability to Sustain Test Performance and Remedial Education: Good News for Girls By Marianna Battaglia; Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo

  1. By: Zimmermann, Markus (HU Berlin)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the reasons for the large and persistent gaps in transitions after secondary school between native pupils compared to second- and third generation immigrant pupils in Germany. I first document that differences in parental background, skills (such as school degrees or test scores), and school fixed effects explain part of the migrant-native gaps, but are not sufficient. Conditional on these factors, there is a \"polarization\" of educational choices: migrants are more likely to attend tertiary education, less likely to attend vocational education, and more likely to end without qualified training than their background and skills would predict. I then show that this polarization is driven by the migrant pupils\' more academically oriented career aspirations and expectations before leaving school. On the one hand, these higher ambitions allow higher skilled migrants to hieventertiary education despite their less favourable background characteristics. On the other hand, less skilled migrants who in Germany\'s tracked school system do not have the option to enter academic education, may be diverted from vocational training as a more viable alternative. These patterns are stronger for boys than for girls. Finally, I discuss various possible explanations for the migrants\' different career plans, including expected labour market returns to education, expected discrimination, the intention to leave Germany, overconfidence, or information deficits.
    Keywords: migrant youth; vocational education; tertiary education; aspirations; expectations;
    JEL: I24 I21 J24 J15
    Date: 2019–05–24
  2. By: Gian Paolo Barbetta (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Paolo Canino; Stefano Cima
    Abstract: The availability of cheap wi-fi internet connections has stimulated schools to adopt Web 2.0 platforms for teaching. Using social networks and micro-blogs, teachers aim to stimulate students’ participation in school activities and their achievement. Although anecdotal evidence shows a high level of teacher satisfaction with these platforms, only a small number of studies has produced rigorous estimates of their effects on students’ achievement. We contribute to the knowledge in this field by analyzing the impact of using micro-blogs as a teaching tool on the reading and comprehension skills of students. Thanks to a large-scale randomized controlled trial, we find that using Twitter to teach literature has an overall negative effect on students’ average achievement, reducing performance on a standardized test score by about 25 to 40% of a standard deviation. The negative effect is heterogeneous with respect to some students’ characteristics. More specifically, the use of this Web 2.0 application appears to have a stronger detrimental effect on students who usually perform better.
    Keywords: ICT, education, literature performance, RCT.
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2019–05
  3. By: Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner; Lívia Menezes
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the effect of exposure to homicides on the educational performance and human capital investments of students in Brazil. We combine extremely granular information on the location and timing of homicides with a number of very large administrative educational datasets, to estimate the effect of exposure to homicides around schools, students' residence, and on their way to school on these outcomes. We show that violence has a detrimental effect on school attendance, on standardised test scores in math and Portuguese language and increases dropout rates of students substantially. The effects are particularly pronounced for boys, indicating important heterogeneous effects of violence. We use exceptionally rich information from student- and parent-background questionnaires to investigate the effect of violence on the aspirations and attitudes towards education. In line with the effects on dropout and the longer-term human capital accumulation of students, we find that boys systematically report lower educational aspiration towards education. Making use of the very rich information from the homicides and education data, we explore a number of underlying transmission channels, including mechanisms related to school supply, bereavement and incentives for human capital investments.
    Keywords: Homocides, human capital investments, education, Brazil
    JEL: I25 K42 O12
    Date: 2019–04
  4. By: Marianna Battaglia (Dpto. Fundamentos del Análisis Económico); Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: Growing evidence shows that skills other than cognitive are crucial to understand labor market and other outcomes in life and that these skills are more malleable than the cognitive ones at later ages. However, little is known about the role of education in improving these abilities for disadvantaged teenagers in developed countries. In this paper we address two questions: (i) Can educational interventions aimed at teenagers improve skills other than cognitive? (ii) Can we expect heterogeneous e¿ects depending on the students’ gender? We take advantage of a remedial education program for under-performing students implemented in Spain between 2005 and 2012, and, following recent literature, we consider testing and survey behaviors as measures of non-cognitive skills. We use external evaluations of the schools (PISA 2012) and exploit the variation in the question ordering of the test to compute students’ ability to sustain performance throughout it. We ¿nd that the program had a positive e¿ect on girls’ ability to sustain test performance but no impact for boys.
    Keywords: remedial education, test performance, program evaluation, PISA
    JEL: H52 I23 I28 J24
    Date: 2019–05

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