nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒01‒27
six papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Effect of Grants on University Drop-Out Rates: Evidence on the Italian Case By Modena, Francesca; Rettore, Enrico; Tanzi, Giulia
  2. K-Returns to Education By Andreas Fagereng; Luigi Guiso; Martin B. Holm; Luigi Pistaferri
  3. Is 'First in Family' a Good Indicator for Widening University Participation? By Adamecz-Völgyi, Anna; Henderson, Morag; Shure, Nikki
  4. Ageing Calls for Shorter Full-Time Tertiary Education and Increased Continuing Education By Vincent Vandenberghe
  5. Month of birth and academic performance: differences by gender and educational stage By Pilar Beneito; Pedro Javier Soria-Espín
  6. The Effect of Parental Educational Expectations on Adolescent Subjective Well-Being and the Moderating Role of Perceived Academic Pressure: Longitudinal Evidence for China By Lu, Haiyang; Nie, Peng; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso

  1. By: Modena, Francesca (Bank of Italy); Rettore, Enrico (University of Padova); Tanzi, Giulia (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: In this paper we evaluate the impact of need-based grants on university drop-out rates in the first year of enrollment, using student-level administrative data from all Italian universities in the period 2003-2013. We exploit the fact that not all eligible students receive financial aid due to limited resources to generate a treatment and a control group. Using this partition, we estimate the average treatment effect, i.e. the average effect on low income students, controlling for a set of observable characteristics by running regressions on blocks defined on the propensity score. Results point towards a sizeable effect of grants in reducing dropping out from higher education: around one third of these students would have left university in the first year in absence of the grants. This evidence is robust to a variety of specifications and sample selection criteria.
    Keywords: human capital, higher education, university dropout, student financial aid, blocking with regression adjustment
    JEL: I22 I23 C21 C35
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: Andreas Fagereng (BI Norwegian Business School); Luigi Guiso (CEPR and EIEF); Martin B. Holm (University of Oslo); Luigi Pistaferri (Stanford University)
    Abstract: We exploit a school reform that increased the length of compulsory schooling in Norway in the 1960s to study the causal effect of formal general education on returns on wealth (k-returns). OLS estimates reveal a strong, positive and statistically significant correlation between education and returns on individual net worth. This effect disappears in IV regressions, implying that general education has no causal effect on individual performance in capital markets, whose heterogeneity largely reflects non-acquired ability. On the contrary, we find that education causes higher returns in the labor market (l-returns). We speculate about possible rationales for this important asymmetry.
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Adamecz-Völgyi, Anna (UCL Institute of Education); Henderson, Morag (UCL Institute of Education); Shure, Nikki (University College London)
    Abstract: Universities use 'first in family' or 'first generation' as an indicator to increase the diversity of their student intake, but little is known about whether it is a good indicator of disadvantage. We use nationally representative, longitudinal survey data linked to administrative data from England to provide the first comprehensive analysis of this measure. We employ parametric probability (logit) and non-parametric classification (random forest) models to look at its relative predictive power of university participation and graduation. We find that being first in family is an important barrier to university participation and graduation, over and above other sources of disadvantage. This association seems to operate through the channel of early educational attainment. Our findings indicate that the first in family indicator could be key in efforts to widen participation at universities.
    Keywords: socioeconomic gaps, higher education, widening participation, first in family, first generation, educational mobility, machine learning, predictive models
    JEL: I23 I24 J24
    Date: 2019–12
  4. By: Vincent Vandenberghe (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: Population ageing requires a better-educated workforce capable of producing more of the goods and services consumed by a fast-rising number of old dependent individuals. At the same time, an ageing society badly needs its educated youth to rapidly become economically productive. In other words, the opportunity cost of educating young adults, particularly on a full-time basis, is on the rise. This paper argues that, in an ageing society, the challenge of policy-making is to find ways to foster education while limiting the time young adults spend in full-time tertiary education. In many countries, this probably implies compressing the theoretical duration of degrees (BA in 2 years instead of 3, MA in 4 years instead of 5) and introducing age-based financial incentives to reduce the time to graduation. For instance, the State subsidy (a grant) could be turned into an interest-charging loan beyond the age of 22. In all countries, the challenge is also to rediscover the virtues of massive continuing/part-time/evening education : a formula that enables people who work to acquire/update skills at a very low opportunity cost. The financing of the direct costs of massive continuing education could take the form of State/employer-subsidised educational stipends granted to adults every 5 years beyond the age of 22.
    Keywords: Ageing, Time to Degree, Tertiary Education, Incentives
    JEL: I22 J1 H52
    Date: 2020–01–02
  5. By: Pilar Beneito (University of Valencia. ERI-CES); Pedro Javier Soria-Espín (Paris School of Economics (PSE))
    Abstract: The month in which you were born can have a significant impact in your academic life. It is well documented that people who are born in the first months of the academic year tend to have better educational achievement than their younger peers within the same cohort. However, there is little literature addressing this relationship looking at differences by gender and educational stage. In this paper we fill this gap by studying the effect of the month of birth on academic performance of students at the University of Valencia (Spain). Using a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design we create a cut-off in 1st January to determine whether an individual is among the oldest (right to the cut-off) or among the youngest (left to the cut-off) within her cohort. We find that being relatively old has a positive effect on the access-to-university examination score for female students but not for their male peers. In addition, this effect seems to be concentrated in the upper quantiles of the entry score distribution and attenuates for university grades. We attribute this effect to a virtuous circle developed from early childhood, which is a recurring cycle of behavioral responses that translates into higher self-confidence for older students. Women appear to be more sensible to this effect than men.
    Keywords: month of birth, academic achievement, behavioral responses, gender, sharp regression discontinuity
    JEL: C01 D9 I23
    Date: 2020–01
  6. By: Lu, Haiyang; Nie, Peng (Xi’an Jiaotong University); Sousa-Poza, Alfonso (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: Although the strong positive correlation between parental educational expectations (PEE) and child academic achievement is widely documented, little is known about PEE's effects on child psychological outcomes and the mechanisms through which it may work. Hence, in this paper, using nationally representative data from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 waves of the China Education Panel Survey, we investigate PEE's causal impact on adolescent subjective well-being (SWB) and the moderating role of the academic pressures that these adolescents perceive. Even though we find robust evidence for a positive causal relation between PEE and adolescent SWB, its moderation by adolescent-perceived academic pressure is negative. In addition, the facts that the benefits of PEE are greater for female adolescents and those from immigrant, one-child, and nonpoor families suggests that it may operate on adolescent SWB through increased family resources, improved family relationships, and higher adolescent aspirations linked to higher PEE.
    Keywords: China, parental educational expectations, adolescents, subjective well-being
    JEL: I21 I30 J13
    Date: 2019–12

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