nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒03‒30
thirteen 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. Teacher career opportunities and school quality By Grönqvist, Erik; Hensvik, Lena; Thoresson, Anna
  3. Higher Education Expansion, the Hukou System, and Returns to Education in China By Huang, Bin; Zhu, Yu
  4. Recovery from an Early-Life Shock through Improved Access to Schools By Tushar Bharati; Seungwoo Chin; Dawoon Jung
  5. Ask and You Shall Receive? Gender Differences in Regrades in College By Li, Cher; Zafar, Basit
  6. Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Latin American Economies: An Empirical Approach By Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal; Pastore, Francesco; Yavuz, Hasan Bilgehan
  7. Gender Bias and Intergenerational Educational Mobility: Theory and Evidence from China and India By Emran, M. Shahe; Jiang, Hanchen; Shilpi, Forhad
  8. Early Skill Effects on Types of Parental Investments and Long-Run Outcomes By Sebastian Gallegos; Pablo Celhay
  9. Mobilizing parents at home and at school: an experiment on primary education in Angola By Vincenzo Di Maro; Stefan Leeffers; Danila Serra; Pedro C. Vicente
  10. The Impact of an Adult Literacy Program on the Next Generation: Evidence from India By Ashwini Deshpande; Christopher Ksoll; Annemie Maertens; Vinitha R. Varghese
  11. Ethnic and Social Class Discrimination in Education: Experimental Evidence from Germany By Wenz, Sebastian Ernst; Hoenig, Kerstin
  12. Tertiary Education Expansion and Regional Firm Development By Tobias Schlegel; Curdin Pfister; Uschi Backes-Gellner
  13. Early Childhood Education and Life-cycle Health By Jorge Luis Garcia; James J. Heckman

  1. By: Elif Kara; Mirco Tonin; Michael Vlassopoulos
    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
  2. By: Grönqvist, Erik (Uppsala University); Hensvik, Lena (Uppsala University); Thoresson, Anna (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)
    Abstract: We study the effects of introducing a performance-based promotion program for teachers in Sweden. The program intended to make the teaching profession more attractive by raising wages for skilled teachers and taking advantage of teachers' professional competence. Our results show that: (i) high-wage, high ability teachers are more likely to be promoted; (ii) the stipulated wage increase has full pass-through onto wages for promoted teachers; (iii) schools with promotions have lower teacher separations and an improved pool of teachers; (iv)the promotion program improved student performance. These results suggest that performance-based promotions could be an important tool for raising school quality.
    Keywords: Career opportunities; Teacher labor market; Student performance
    JEL: I21 I28 J31 J45
    Date: 2020–02–13
  3. By: Huang, Bin (Nanjing University of Finance and Economics); Zhu, Yu (University of Dundee)
    Abstract: China experienced a near 5-fold increase in annual Higher Education (HE) enrolment in the decade starting in 1999. Using the China Household Finance Survey, we show that the expansion has exacerbated the large pre-existing urban-rural gap in educational attainment underpinned by the hukou (household registration) system. We then instrument years of schooling using the interaction of childhood urban hukou status and the timing of the expansion, which is analogous to a Difference-in-Differences estimator which uses rural students to control for any common time trend. The 2SLS estimates of 17% and 12% for men and women respectively are substantially larger than their OLS counterparts of 5% and 6%, both allowing for county fixed-effects. Our 2SLS results can be interpreted as a Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE), i.e. the average treatment effect of HE attendance on earnings for urban students who enrolled in HE as a result of the higher education expansion.
    Keywords: returns to education, 2SLS, higher education expansion, China
    JEL: I26 I23
    Date: 2020–02
  4. By: Tushar Bharati (Economics Discipline, Business School, University of Western Australia); Seungwoo Chin (Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea); Dawoon Jung (Korea Institute of Public Finance)
    Abstract: We examine the extent to which a supply-side intervention aimed at improving access to schools helped individuals recover from an early-life shock. Using variation in an Indonesian primary school construction program, we show that individuals who experienced low rainfall in the first year of life but were later exposed to the school construction program recovered completely from the educational deficit caused by the early-life shock. For individuals who did not experience the adverse rainfall shock, the school construction had no impact. This was, in part, a result of deteriorating school quality and increased competition to get into middle schools that affected the high-rainfall individuals disproportionately.
    Keywords: Education, early-life shocks, rainfall
    JEL: H52 I21 O15
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Li, Cher (Colorado State University); Zafar, Basit (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
    Abstract: Using administrative data from a large 4-year public university, we show that male students are 18.6 percent more likely than female students to receive favorable grade changes. These gender differences cannot be explained by observable characteristics of the students, instructors, and the classes. Surveys of students and instructors reveal that regrade requests are prevalent, and that male students are more likely than female students to ask for regrades on the intensive margin. We corroborate the gender differences in regrade requests in an incentivized controlled experiment where participants receive noisy grade signals, and where they can ask for regrades: we find that males have a higher willingness to pay (WTP) for regrades. Almost half of the gender difference in the WTP is due to gender differences in confidence, uncertainty in beliefs, and the Big Five personality traits.
    Keywords: education, gender, inequality, negotiation, experiment
    JEL: C9 I2 J7
    Date: 2020–02
  6. By: Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal; Pastore, Francesco; Yavuz, Hasan Bilgehan
    Abstract: Identifying the determinants of intergenerational mobility is an important aim in the development literature. In this article, intergenerational transmission is examined for 6 neglected Latin American Economies (Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Puerto Rico). We use a multinomial logit model of the determinants of choosing a white-collar job for a child of a father working in farming as compared to a child whose father had a blue- or a white-collar job. Our findings show that, in the studied countries, intergenerational occupation transmission is mainly linked to low skilled jobs. Our analysis confirms the low degree of social mobility typical of Latin America, contributing, in turn, to explain their low growth rate. Our findings help identifying specific target groups - talented young women coming from the agricultural sector - to develop in them soft skills while at primary or low secondary school and work-related skills while at the high secondary school or at the university.
    Keywords: Intergenerational occupational mobility,Intergenerational mobility,Latin American countries
    JEL: D60 I30 J24 J6 J62
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Emran, M. Shahe; Jiang, Hanchen; Shilpi, Forhad
    Abstract: We incorporate gender bias against girls in the family, the school and the labor market in a model of intergenerational persistence in schooling where parents self-finance children’s education because of credit market imperfections. Parents may underestimate a girl’s ability, expect lower returns, and assign lower weights to their welfare (“pure son preference”). The model delivers the widely-used linear conditional expectation function (CEF) under constant returns and separability, but generates an irrelevance theorem: parental bias does not affect relative mobility. With diminishing returns and complementarity, the CEF can be concave or convex, and gender bias affects both relative and absolute mobility. We test these predictions in India and China using data not subject to coresidency bias. The evidence rejects the linear CEF, both in rural and urban India, in favor of a concave relation. The girls face lower mobility irrespective of location in India when born to fathers with low schooling, but the gender gap closes when the fathers are college educated. In China, the CEF is convex for sons in urban areas, but linear in all other cases. The convexity for urban sons supports the complementarity hypothesis of Becker et al. (2018), and leads to gender divergence in relative mobility for the children of highly educated fathers. In urban China, and urban and rural India, the mechanisms are underestimation of ability of girls and unfavorable school environment. There is some evidence of pure son preference in rural India. The girls in rural China do not face bias in financial investment by parents, but they still face lower mobility when born to uneducated parents. Gender barriers in rural schools seem to be the primary mechanism, with no convincing evidence of parental bias.
    Keywords: Gender Bias,Intergenerational Mobility,Education,Becker-Tomes Model,Complementarity,Son Preference,India,China,Coresidency Bias
    JEL: I24 J62 J16 O20
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Sebastian Gallegos (Inter-American Development Bank); Pablo Celhay
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of skill advantages at age six on different types of parental investments, and long-run outcomes up to age 27. We exploit exogenous variation in skills due to school entry rules, combining 20 years of Chilean administrative records with a regression discontinuity design. Our results show higher in-school performance and college entrance scores, and sizable effects on college attendance and enrollment at selective institutions, particularly for low-income children. We find that parental time investments are neutral to early skills gaps, while monetary investments are reinforcing and likely to be mediating the long-run effects.
    Keywords: early life shocks, long-run outcomes, skills, parental investments, college attendance, test scores, low income, developing countries
    JEL: I21 I26 I28 J24 J31
    Date: 2020–03
  9. By: Vincenzo Di Maro; Stefan Leeffers; Danila Serra; Pedro C. Vicente
    Abstract: In this paper we test ways to mobilize parents for education. We implemented a field experiment in 126 Angolan primary schools, including three treatments: an information campaign at home, simple parents’ meetings at school, and the combination of both. Our measures of parental mobilization include beneficial practices at home, contacts with teachers, and participation in school institutions. We find that the information increased parents’ involvement at home but had no impact on engagement at school, while the meetings had the opposite effects. After mobilizing parents, the combined treatment improved management practices and facilities in schools, teachers’ attitudes, and parents’ satisfaction.
    Keywords: Parental involvement, information, coordination, field experiment, Angola
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Ashwini Deshpande (Ashoka University); Christopher Ksoll (Mathematica Policy Research); Annemie Maertens (University of Sussex); Vinitha R. Varghese (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: We use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impacts of an adult literacy program, targeting women in rural India, on a broad range of outcomes one year later. We show that the program had significant impacts on multiple aspects of the women’s lives, such as improvements in the women’s health and hygiene practices, as well as increased involvement in their children’s education (but noted no differences in terms of health and educational outcomes of the children). In terms of mechanisms, we find that the program not only increased the women’s literacy and numeracy, but also made the women more knowledgeable, and confident in dealing with people outside their family. We document positive effects on women’s mobility, and some measures of bargaining power, but overall decision-making power appears not to have been affected.
    Keywords: adult literacy; gender, India, child health; child education
    Date: 2020–03
  11. By: Wenz, Sebastian Ernst; Hoenig, Kerstin
    Abstract: Even though social class is at least as predictive of educational achievement as ethnicity in virtually all developed countries, experimental research on discrimination in education has overwhelmingly focused on the latter. We investigate both ethnic discrimination and social class discrimination by elementary school teachers in Germany. We conceptualize discrimination as causal effects of signals and use directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) to disentangle ethnic from social class discrimination. In our experiment, we asked randomly sampled elementary school teachers who teach immigrants to evaluate an essay written by a fourth-grader. Employing a 2x2x3 factorial design, we varied essay quality, child's gender, and ethnic and socioeconomic background using names as stimuli. We do not find evidence for discrimination in grading. However, our findings for teachers’ expectations of children's future performance suggest a discriminatory bias along the lines of both ethnicity and social class. The effect is conditional on essay quality---it only holds true for the better essay. We interpret our findings as evidence for models that highlight situational moderators such as the richness of information and ambiguity---e.g., statistical discrimination---but as evidence against simpler models of ingroup-favoritism or outgroup derogation, e.g., social identity theory or taste discrimination.
    Date: 2019–12–24
  12. By: Tobias Schlegel; Curdin Pfister; Uschi Backes-Gellner
    Abstract: Previous economic research shows that tertiary education expansions lead to various positive first order effects, such as more patents, higher productivity or newly founded firms. However, less is known on the second order effects of tertiary education expansions, for example, the impact on regional firm development. We evaluate the impact of a tertiary education expansion on regional firm development——as measured by average profits per firm——by using administrative tax data at a geographically disaggregated level (i.e. municipalities). A policy change in Switzerland, leading to a quasi-random establishment of universities of applied sciences (UAS)-bachelor-granting three year-colleges teaching and conducting applied research-thereby serves as our case study. Depending on our regression model, we find that average profits per firm in treated municipalities, i.e., near a UAS, are between 15% to 24% higher than in non-treated municipalities after the establishment of UASs. Analyzing the dynamics of this second order effects shows that profits start to increase significantly three years after the UAS establishment and persist even in the long run.
    Keywords: Higher Education and Research Institution, Innovation, Regional Firm Development
    JEL: I23 I26 O18 O30
    Date: 2020–03
  13. By: Jorge Luis Garcia (Clemson University); James J. Heckman (The University of Chicago)
    Abstract: This paper forecasts the life-cycle treatment effects on health of a high-quality early childhood program. Our predictions combine microsimulation using non-experimental data with experimental data from a midlife long-term follow-up. The follow-up incorporated a full epidemiological exam. The program mainly benefits males and significantly reduces the prevalence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and mortality across the life-cycle. For men, we estimate an average reduction of 3.8 disability-adjusted years (DALYs). The reduction in DALYs is relatively small for women. The gain in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) is almost enough to offset all of the costs associated with program implementation for males and half of program costs for women.
    Keywords: early childhood education, life-cycle health, long-term forecasts, program evaluation, randomized trials
    JEL: I10 J13 I28 C93
    Date: 2020–03

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