nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒03‒02
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Class Size Effects in Higher Education: Differences Across STEM and Non-STEM Fields By Elif Kara; Mirco Tonin; Michael Vlassopoulos
  2. What We Learn about Girls'Education from Interventions that Do Not Focus on Girls By Evans,David; Yuan,Fei
  3. The Returns to College(s): Estimating Value-Added and Match Effects in Higher Education By Jack Mountjoy; Brent Hickman
  4. Effects of Scaling Up Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students By David N. Figlio; Cassandra M.D. Hart; Krzysztof Karbownik
  5. Requirements to Be a Teacher in Brazil : Effective or Not ? By Ponte Barbosa,Marcelo; Oliveira Costa,Leandro
  6. Increasing female education, stagnating female labor force participation, and gains from marriage: The case of rural Bangladesh By Tomomi Tanakam; Kazushi Takahashi; Keijiro Otsuka
  7. The Determinants of Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility: Using Test Scores to Measure Undermatching By Raj Chetty; John N. Friedman; Emmanuel Saez; Nicholas Turner; Danny Yagan
  8. Lineages of Scholars in pre-industrial Europe: Nepotism vs Intergenerational Human Capital Transmission By David de la Croix; Marc Goni

  1. By: Elif Kara (Bursa Uludag University); Mirco Tonin (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen; CESifo; Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, Bocconi University;); Michael Vlassopoulos (University of Southampton; IZA)
    Abstract: In recent years, many countries have experienced a significant expansion of higher education enrolment. There is a particular interest among policy makers for further growth in STEM subjects, which could lead to larger classes in these fields. This study estimates the effect of class size on academic performance of university students, distinguishing between STEM and non-STEM fields. Using administrative data from a large UK higher education institution, we consider a sample of 25,000 students and a total of more than 190,000 observations, spanning six cohorts of first-year undergraduate students across all disciplines. Our identification of the class size effects rests on within student-across course variation. Overall, we find that larger classes are associated with significantly lower grades (effect size of -0.04) and the effect varies across academic fields, with no effect in non-STEM fields, and a large effect in STEM fields (-0.08). We further explore the heterogeneity of the effect along the dimensions of students' socio-economic status, ability, and gender, finding that in STEM disciplines smaller classes appear to be particularly beneficial for students from a low socio-economic background, with higher attainment in A-levels and to male students.
    Keywords: class size, higher education, student academic performance, STEM
    JEL: I21 I23 I28
    Date: 2020–02
  2. By: Evans,David; Yuan,Fei
    Abstract: Despite dramatic global gains in access to education, 130 million girls of school age remain out of school. Among those who do enter, too many do not gain the essential skills to succeed after they complete their schooling. Previous efforts to synthesize evidence on how to improve educational outcomes for girls have tended to focus on interventions that are principally targeted to girls, such as girls'latrines or girls'scholarships. But if general, non-targeted interventions -- those that benefit both girls and boys -- significantly improve girls'education, then focusing only on girl-targeted interventions may miss some of the best investments for improving educational opportunities for girls in absolute terms. This review brings together evidence from 270 educational interventions from 177 studies in 54 low- and middle-income countries and identifies their impacts on girls, regardless of whether the interventions specifically target girls. The review finds that to improve access and learning, general interventions deliver gains for girls that are comparable to girl-targeted interventions. At the same time, many more general interventions have been tested, providing a broader menu of options for policy makers. General interventions have similar impacts for girls as for boys. Many of the most effective interventions to improve access for girls are household-based (such as cash transfer programs), and many of the most effective interventions to improve learning for girls involve improving the pedagogy of teachers. Girl-targeted interventions may make the most sense when addressing constraints that are unique to girls.
    Date: 2019–07–22
  3. By: Jack Mountjoy (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business); Brent Hickman (Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School)
    Abstract: Students who attend different colleges in the United States end up with vastly different educational and labor market outcomes. We estimate value-added of individual postsecondary institutions to disentangle causal impacts of colleges from student sorting in producing these disparate outcomes. Linking administrative registries of high school records, college applications, admissions decisions, enrollment spells, degree completions, and quarterly earnings spanning the Texas population, we identify college value-added across the diverse distribution of thirty Texas public universities by comparing the outcomes of students who apply to and are admitted by the same set of institutions, as this approach strikingly balances student ability measures across college treatments and delivers value-added estimates impervious to additional controls. We find that differences in causal value-added play a much smaller role, relative to student sorting, in producing observed outcome differences across colleges. The distribution of value-added is not degenerate, however, and while it has little relationship with selectivity, we find that non-peer college inputs like instructional spending and the faculty-student ratio do covary positively with value-added, especially conditional on selectivity. Examining potential mechanisms, colleges that ultimately boost earnings also tend to boost persistence, BA completion, and STEM degrees along the way. Finally, we probe the potential for (mis)match effects by allowing value-added to vary flexibly by student characteristics, including race, gender, family income, and pre-college measures of cognitive and non-cognitive skills. At first glance, black students appear to face small negative returns to attending more selective colleges, but this pattern of modest ÒmismatchÓ is driven by two large historically black universities in Texas that have low selectivity but above-average value-added. Across the non-HBCUs, black students face similar returns to selectivity as their peers from other backgrounds.
    Date: 2020
  4. By: David N. Figlio; Cassandra M.D. Hart; Krzysztof Karbownik
    Abstract: Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and a student fixed effect design, we explore how the massive scale-up of a Florida private school choice program affected public school students’ outcomes. Expansion of the program produced modestly larger benefits for students attending public schools that had a larger initial degree of private school options, measured prior to the introduction of the voucher program. These benefits include higher standardized test scores and lower absenteeism and suspension rates. Effects are particularly pronounced for lower-income students, but results are positive for more affluent students as well.
    JEL: H75 I21 I22 I28
    Date: 2020–02
  5. By: Ponte Barbosa,Marcelo; Oliveira Costa,Leandro
    Abstract: Policy makers in Brazil attempted to improve human capital through changes in the legislated requirements for teacher education in 1996. They passed a national Law of Guidelines and Standards of Education that established 2007 as the deadline for all Brazilian basic education teachers to have tertiary education?level qualifications. This implied a significant change in the profile of teachers in basic education and in the provision of pre-service training. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of the increase in the share of public upper secondary school teachers with higher education on students? performance in math and Portuguese and analyze the role of the pre-service training framework in the quality of teachers in recent years. The study carried out an empirical analysis to estimate the average treatment effect on the treated on public upper secondary students through the combination of difference-in-difference and propensity score matching methods. The analysis found no evidence of positive effects on Portuguese scores, and despite the statistically significant positive effect of the rise in teachers with higher education on math scores, there was no effect from specific math training. Finally, the paper discusses the possible reason for the ineffectiveness of teacher pre-service training, such as the quality of the training delivered by distance learning modalities and the low performance of the secondary students who enter the teacher schools.
    Date: 2019–09–11
  6. By: Tomomi Tanakam (World Bank); Kazushi Takahashi (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan); Keijiro Otsuka (Kobe University)
    Abstract: Despite progress toward gender equality in education in Bangladesh, its female labor force participation (FLFP) rate has been stagnant relative to that of men, especially in marginal rural areas. To identify the overall benefit of schooling investment in women in rural Bangladesh, we examine the impact of female educational attainment on not only FLFP but also gains from marriage and household welfare. Applying a fuzzy regression discontinuity design where plausibly exogenous variation in school enrollment is created by the nationwide stipend program for women, we find moderate impacts of female education on FLFP, while it has positive and significant effects on the husband’s schooling and household income, particularly from non-farm activities. The results also show the significantly positive impacts of women's education on sanitation control and children's health. These findings indicate that female schooling enhances women's role and well-being through marriage and household activities rather than their labor market activities.
    Date: 2020–02
  7. By: Raj Chetty; John N. Friedman; Emmanuel Saez; Nicholas Turner; Danny Yagan
    Abstract: We analyze how changes in the allocation of students to colleges would affect segregation by parental income across colleges and intergenerational mobility in the United States. We do so by linking data from tax records on parents' incomes and students' earnings outcomes for each college to data on students' SAT and ACT scores. We find that equalizing application, admission, and matriculation rates across parental income groups conditional on test scores would reduce segregation substantially, primarily by increasing the representation of middle-class students at more selective colleges. However, it would have little impact on the fraction of low-income students at elite private colleges because there are relatively few students from low-income families with sufficiently high SAT/ACT scores. Differences in parental income distributions across colleges could be eliminated by giving low and middle-income students a sliding-scale preference in the application and admissions process similar to that implicitly given to legacy students at elite private colleges. Assuming that 80% of observational differences in students' earnings conditional on test scores, race, and parental income are due to colleges' causal effects — a strong assumption, but one consistent with prior work — such changes could reduce intergenerational income persistence among college students by about 25%. We conclude that changing how students are allocated to colleges could substantially reduce segregation and increase intergenerational mobility, even without changing colleges' educational programs.
    JEL: J0
    Date: 2020–02
  8. By: David de la Croix (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Marc Goni (Department of Economics, University of Vienna)
    Abstract: We propose a new methodology to disentangle two determinants of intergenerational persistence: inherited human capital vs. nepotism. This requires jointly addressing measurement error in human-capital proxies and the selection bias inherent to nepotism. We do so by exploiting standard multi-generation correlations together with distributional differences across generations in the same occupation. These two moments identify the structural parameters of a first-order Markov process of human-capital endowments' transmission, extended to account for nepotism. We apply our method to a newly built database of more than one thousand scholar lineages in higher education institutions over the period 1000-1800. Our results show that 14 percent of scholar's sons were nepotic scholars. Nepotism declined during the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, was more prominent in Catholic than in Protestant institutions, and was higher in law than in sciences. Human-capital endowments were inherited with an intergenerational elasticity of 0.59, higher than suggested by parent-child elasticities in observed outcomes (publications), yet lower than recent estimates in the literature (0.75) which do not account for nepotism.
    Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, human capital transmission, nepotism, university scholars, upper-tail human capital, pre-industrial Europe
    JEL: C31 E24 J1
    Date: 2020–02–24

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