nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2019‒09‒09
five papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Instruction Time, Information, and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Andersen, Simon Calmar; Guul, Thorbjørn Sejr; Humlum, Maria Knoth
  2. Inequalities in Student to Course Match: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data By Stuart Campbell; Lindsey Macmillan; Richard Murphy; Gill Wyness
  3. What Limits College Success? A Review and Further Analysis of Holzer and Baum's 'Making College Work' By Oreopoulos, Philip
  4. Education and Prosocial Behavior: Evidence from Time Use Survey By Akar, Betul; Akyol, Pelin; Okten, Cagla
  5. Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Truancy Notifications By Lasky-Fink, Jessica; Robinson, Carly; Chang, Hedy; Rogers, Todd

  1. By: Andersen, Simon Calmar (Aarhus University); Guul, Thorbjørn Sejr (Aarhus University); Humlum, Maria Knoth (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: Prior research has shown that time spent in school does not close the achievement gap between students with low and high socioeconomic status (SES). We examine the effect of combining increased instruction time with information to teachers about their students' reading achievements by using a randomized controlled trial. We find that the teachers' baseline beliefs are more important for low-SES students' academic performance, that the intervention makes the teachers update these beliefs, and—not least—that the intervention improves the reading skills of low-SES students and thereby reduces the achievement gap between high- and low-SES students. The results are consistent with a model in which the teachers' beliefs about the students' reading skills are more important to low- than high-SES students, while at the same time, the teachers' beliefs are subject to information friction and Bayesian learning.
    Keywords: information, learning, field experiment
    JEL: I24 I28 D83
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Stuart Campbell; Lindsey Macmillan; Richard Murphy; Gill Wyness
    Abstract: This paper examines inequalities in the match between student quality and university quality using linked administrative data from schools, universities and tax authorities. We analyse two measures of match at the university-subject (course) level, based on student academic attainment, and graduate earnings. We find that students from lower socio-economic groups systematically undermatch for both measures across the distribution of attainment, with particularly stark socio-economic gaps for the most undermatched. While there are negligible gender gaps in academic match, high-attaining women systematically undermatch in terms of expected earnings, largely driven by subject choice.
    Keywords: higher education, educational economics, college choice, mismatch, undermatch
    JEL: I22 I23 I28
    Date: 2019–08
  3. By: Oreopoulos, Philip (University of Toronto)
    Abstract: Holzer and Baum's recent book, 'Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students,' provides an excellent up-to-date review of higher education. My review first summarizes its key themes: 1) who gains from college and why? 2) mismatch and the need for more structure; 3) problems with remediation; 4) financial barriers and 5) the promise of comprehensive support. I then critique the book's proposed solutions using some of my own qualitative and quantitative data. Some recommendations are worth considering, while others are too expensive or unlikely to make a meaningful difference without addressing the underlying lack of preparedness and motivation of college students. I argue that making mandatory some existing services, such as application assistance and advice, proactive tutoring and advising, and greater career transition support, has the most immediate potential.
    Keywords: college student achievement, returns to college, higher education policy, signaling
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2019–08
  4. By: Akar, Betul (Bilkent University); Akyol, Pelin (Bilkent University); Okten, Cagla (Bilkent University)
    Abstract: We use the extension of compulsory education from five to eight years in Turkey as an instrument for educational attainment to investigate the causal effects of education on prosocial behavior by utilizing Turkish Time Use Survey data. Ours is the first paper that investigates the causal effect of education on volunteering. We find that the education reform increased the education levels significantly, and increased education had a causal negative and significant impact on prosocial behavior of men as time spent in volunteering and helping others decreased. We also investigate the causal channels through which education decreases prosocial behavior. We find that schooling increased the likelihood of earning higher wages and work hours, which suggests that men substituted hours worked for time spent in prosocial activity as a result of an exogenous increase in their education levels. Our findings also suggest that education might have enhanced individualism and self-centrism as we find that time spent in leisure and sport activity increased. We do not find any significant effects of education on female prosocial behavior in Turkey, where female labor force participation rate at 32 percent has remained low and stagnant across the years.
    Keywords: prosocial behavior, volunteering, helping, education, externalities
    JEL: I21 D01 D64
    Date: 2019–08
  5. By: Lasky-Fink, Jessica (University of California, Berkeley); Robinson, Carly (Harvard University); Chang, Hedy (Attendance Works); Rogers, Todd (Harvard Kennedy School)
    Abstract: Many states mandate districts or schools notify parents when students have missed multiple unexcused days of school. We report a randomized experiment (N = 131,312) evaluating the impact of sending parents truancy notifications modified to target behavioral barriers that can hinder effective parental engagement. Modified truancy notifications that used simplified language, emphasized parental efficacy, and highlighted the negative incremental effects of missing school reduced absences by 0.07 days compared to the standard, legalistic, and punitively-worded notification--an estimated 40% improvement. This work illustrates how behavioral insights and randomized experiments can be used to improve administrative communications in education.
    Date: 2019–08

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