nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒03‒16
ten papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Class Size Effects in Higher Education: Differences across STEM and Non-STEM Fields By Kara, Elif; Tonin, Mirco; Vlassopoulos, Michael
  2. The causal impact of socio-emotional skills training on educational success By Giuseppe Sorrenti; Ulf Zölitz; Denis Ribeaud; Manuel Eisner
  3. Vulnerable Boys: Short-Term and Long-Term Gender Differences in the Impacts of Adolescent Disadvantage By Lei, Ziteng; Lundberg, Shelly
  4. Who Benefits from General Knowledge? By Bellés Obrero, Cristina; Duchini, Emma
  5. Housing Search Frictions: Evidence from Detailed Search Data and a Field Experiment By Peter Leopold S. Bergman; Eric W. Chan; Adam Kapor
  6. Does School Safety and Classroom Disciplinary Climate Hinder Learning ? Evidence from the MENA Region By Cahu,Paul Marie Michel; Quota,Manal Bakur N
  7. Long-Run Trends in the U.S. SES-Achievement Gap By Eric A. Hanushek; Paul E. Peterson; Laura M. Talpey; Ludger Woessmann
  8. Work Environment and Competition in Swedish Schools, 1999-2011 By Sebhatu, Abiel; Wennberg, Karl; Lakomaa, Erik; Brandén, Maria
  9. Returns to Investment in Education : The Case of Turkey By Patrinos,Harry Anthony; Psacharopoulos,George; Tansel,Aysit
  10. Matching the Education System to the Needs of the Economy: Evidence from Burkina Faso By Élisé Wendlassida Miningou

  1. By: Kara, Elif (Bursa Uludag University); Tonin, Mirco (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton)
    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: Giuseppe Sorrenti; Ulf Zölitz; Denis Ribeaud; Manuel Eisner
    Abstract: We study the long-term effects of a randomized intervention targeting children’s socio-emotional skills. The classroom-based intervention for primary school children has positive impacts that persist for over a decade. Treated children become more likely to complete academic high school and enroll in university. Two mechanisms drive these results. Treated children show fewer ADHD symptoms: they are less impulsive and less disruptive. They also attain higher grades, but they do not score higher on standardized tests. The long-term effects on educational attainment thus appear to be driven by changes in socio-emotional skills rather than cognitive skills.
    Keywords: Socio-emotional skills, randomized intervention, child development, school tracking
    JEL: C93 I21 I24 I26 J24
    Date: 2020–03
  3. By: Lei, Ziteng (University of California, Santa Barbara); Lundberg, Shelly (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: The growing gender gap in educational attainment between men and women has raised concerns that the skill development of boys may be more sensitive to family disadvantage than that of girls. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) data we find, as do previous studies, that boys are more likely to experience increased problems in school relative to girls, including suspensions and reduced educational aspirations, when they are in poor quality schools, less-educated neighborhoods, and father-absent households. Following these cohorts into young adulthood, however, we find no evidence that adolescent disadvantage has stronger negative impacts on long-run economic outcomes such as college graduation, employment, or income for men, relative to women. We do find that father absence is more strongly associated with men's marriage and childbearing and weak support for greater male vulnerability to disadvantage in rates of high school graduation. An investigation of adult outcomes for another recent cohort from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 produces a similar pattern of results. We conclude that focusing on gender differences in behavior in school may not lead to valid inferences about the effects of disadvantage on adult skills.
    Keywords: gender, education, employment, earnings, family structure, father absence, school quality, neighborhood effect
    JEL: J24 J12 J16
    Date: 2020–01
  4. By: Bellés Obrero, Cristina (University of Mannheim); Duchini, Emma (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: While vocational education is meant to provide occupational-specific skills that are directly employable, their returns may be limited in fast-changing economies. Conversely, general education should provide learning skills, but these may have little value at low levels of education. This paper sheds light on this debate by exploiting a recent Spanish reform that postpones students' choice between these two educational pathways from age 14 to 16. To identify exogenous changes in its staggered implementation, we instrument this with the pre-reform across-province variation in the share of students in general education. Results indicate that, by shifting educational investment from vocational to general education after age 16, the reform improves occupational outcomes, and results in a significant rise in monthly wages. The effects are larger after the financial crisis, but are concentrated among middle to high-skilled individuals. In contrast, those who acquire only basic general education have worse long-term employment prospects than vocationally-trained individuals.
    Keywords: general versus vocational education, heterogeneous returns, financial crisis
    JEL: I26 I28 J24
    Date: 2020–02
  5. By: Peter Leopold S. Bergman; Eric W. Chan; Adam Kapor
    Abstract: This paper shows that imperfect information about school quality causes low-income families to live in neighborhoods with lower-performing, more segregated schools. We randomized the addition of school quality information onto a nationwide website of housing listings for families with housing vouchers. We find that this information causes families to choose neighborhoods with schools that have 1.5 percentage point higher proficiency rate on state exams. We use data from the experiment to estimate a dynamic model of families’ search for housing on and off the website, as well as their location decisions. The model incorporates imperfect information about school quality and characterizes the bias that would arise from estimating neighborhood preferences ignoring this information problem. Having data from both the treatment and control groups allows us to estimate families’ prior beliefs about school quality and each group’s apparent valuation of school quality. Families tend to underestimate school quality conditional on neighborhood characteristics. If we had ignored imperfect information, we would have estimated that the control group valued school quality relative to their commute downtown by less than half that of the treatment group.
    Keywords: housing, school choice, residential choice
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Cahu,Paul Marie Michel; Quota,Manal Bakur N
    Abstract: School safety and classroom disciplinary climate have a direct impact on teachers'ability to teach and students'ability to learn. School safety and classroom disciplinary climates have been declining in the Middle East and North Africa region, as is demonstrated in this paper using data from the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. The paper then moves on to untangle how disruptive learning environments can have negative impacts on student learning outcomes. Thus, the objective of the paper is to analyze the determinants associated with disrupted learning environments, at the school and classroom levels, in the Middle East and North Africa region and to uncover the impacts these environments have on student learning outcomes. This information will provide policy makers with evidence on disrupted learning environments while offering some recommendations on how these conditions can be improved.
    Date: 2019–04–17
  7. By: Eric A. Hanushek; Paul E. Peterson; Laura M. Talpey; Ludger Woessmann
    Abstract: Rising inequality in the United States has raised concerns about potentially widening gaps in educational achievement by socio-economic status (SES). Using assessments from LTT-NAEP, Main-NAEP, TIMSS, and PISA that are psychometrically linked over time, we trace trends in achievement for U.S. student cohorts born between 1954 and 2001. Achievement gaps between the top and bottom quartiles of the SES distribution have been large and remarkably constant for a near half century. These unwavering gaps have not been offset by improved achievement levels, which have risen at age 14 but have remained unchanged at age 17 for the past quarter century.
    Keywords: student achievement, inequality, socio-economic status, United States, NAEP, TIMSS, PISA
    JEL: H40 I24 J24
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Sebhatu, Abiel (Linköping University); Wennberg, Karl (The Ratio Institute); Lakomaa, Erik (Stockholm School of Economics); Brandén, Maria (Linköping University)
    Abstract: Research on schools’ work environment highlights socioeconomic conditions (SES) as primary drivers of work environment, but evidence to date is primarily limited to cross-sectional samples. Research on school competition has revealed important effects on educational outcomes, but effects on work environment are largely unknown. We bridge these literatures by studying the work environment in all Swedish junior high schools and high schools using detailed data on complaints and incidences of disorder, including violence. Comparing educational levels to gauge differences in degree of choice made possible by competition, we overall find more adverse work environment in junior high schools facing stronger school competition and with many low-SES students in either the school or the region. Conversely, we find better work environment in high schools facing stronger school competition, and in high schools with a large share of students with foreign background. To assess causal effects of competition on work environment we compare regions that introduced competition versus those that have not in a difference-in-difference framework. In such regions only complaints in high schools decrease after competition is introduced. We highlight the importance of including multiple measures of both competition and work environment.
    Keywords: School competition; work environment; independent schools; public schools; voucher
    JEL: H40 I21 J28
    Date: 2020–03–05
  9. By: Patrinos,Harry Anthony; Psacharopoulos,George; Tansel,Aysit
    Abstract: This paper estimates private and social returns to investment in education in Turkey, using the 2017 Household Labor Force Survey and alternative methodologies. The analysis uses the 1997 education reform of increasing compulsory education by three years as an instrument. This results in a private rate of return on the order of 16 percent for higher education and a social return of 10 percent. Using the number of children younger than age 15 in the household as an exclusion restriction, the analysis finds that returns to education for females are higher than those for males. Contrary to many findings in other countries, private returns to those working in the public sector are higher than those in the private sector, and private returns to those who followed the vocational track in secondary education are higher than those in the general academic track. The paper discusses the policy implications of the findings.
    Date: 2019–03–21
  10. By: Élisé Wendlassida Miningou
    Abstract: In spite of recent advances, in terms of access to, and quality of, education recorded in Burkina Faso, data show a mismatch between the provisions of the education system and the needs of the economic sectors, in terms of skilled labor. In this paper, we investigate how to match the supply of skilled labor provided by the education system to the needs of the economic activities. We identify the branches of economic activity for which an increase in the quantity and/or in the quality of relevant labor supply could lead to productivity gains. We apply a non-parametric technique ( ï ¡ –returns to scale) in order to measure the returns to scale associated with labor in the economic sectors. We also estimate a multinomial logistic model in order to investigate the determinants of these returns to scale. Overall, results show that productivity gains are feasible in the majority of economic sectors. More specifically, improving the education level of farmers and artisans is particularly important for productivity gains. We also find that the education system must focus on ongoing training programs, especially in the area of agriculture and crafts.
    Keywords: Education, Labor market, Productivity.
    JEL: I25 J24 O55
    Date: 2020–04

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