nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒04‒27
thirteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Impact of Attending An Independent Upper Secondary School: Evidence from Sweden Using School Ranking Data By Edmark, Karin; Persson, Lovisa
  2. Do Compulsory Schooling Laws Always Work? A Study of Youth Crime in Brazilian Municipalities By Nishijima, Marislei; Pal, Sarmistha
  3. Teaching ‘out of field’ in STEM subjects in Australia: Evidence from PISA 2015 By Shah, Chandra; Richardson, Paul; Watt, Helen
  4. Estimating the Value of Higher Education Financial Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Belzil, Christian; Maurel, Arnaud; Sidibé, Modibo
  5. The Impact of Voucher Schools: Evidence From Swedish Upper Secondary Schools By Edmark, Karin; Hussain, Iftikhar; Haelermans, Carla
  6. Adult skills and labor market conditions during teenage years: Cross-country evidence from ALL and PIAAC By Marianne Haraldsvik; Bjarne Strøm
  7. The Labor Market Returns to Advanced Degrees By Joseph G. Altonji; Ling Zhong
  8. Assortative mating on education: a genetic assessment By Nicola Barban; Elisabetta De Cao; Sonia Oreffice; Climent Quintana-Domeque
  9. The Long-Term Cognitive and Schooling Effects of Childhood Vaccinations in China By Oskorouchi, Hamid R.; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso; Bloom, David E.
  10. Does EdTech Substitute for Traditional Learning? Experimental Estimates of the Educational Production Function By Eric Bettinger; Robert W. Fairlie; Anastasia Kapuza; Elena Kardanova; Prashant Loyalka; Andrey Zakharov
  11. He Taught, She Taught: The effect of teaching style, academic credentials, bias awareness and academic discipline on gender bias in teaching evaluations By Nigel Burnell; Irina Cojuharenco; Zahra Murad
  12. Mothers working during preschool years and child skills. Does income compensate? By Cheti Nicoletti; Kjell G. Salvanes; Emma Tominey
  13. Understanding the Mechanisms Linking College Education with Longevity By Hong, Kai; Savelyev, Peter A.; Tan, Kegon T.K.

  1. By: Edmark, Karin (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Persson, Lovisa (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive study on how attending a Swedish Independent upper secondary school affects students’ academic and short-term post-secondary outcomes. Beyond having access to population registers that measure school attendance and student outcomes, we are able to control for student preferences for independent provision, as stated in school application forms. The results from a CEM/VAM approach suggest a positive independent school effect on: final GPA, test results in English and Swedish, the likelihood of graduating on time, and attending post secondary education. However, we also find a larger discrepancy between the final grade and the standardized test result among the independent school students, in a way that accords with more lenient grading practices among independent schools. Results from a difference- in difference analysis around admission thresholds yielded no additional insights, due to imprecise estimates.
    Keywords: Private provision; mixed markets; voucher school reform; upper secondary education
    JEL: H44 I21 I26 I28
    Date: 2020–04–16
  2. By: Nishijima, Marislei (University of Sao Paulo); Pal, Sarmistha (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: We examine if compulsory schooling laws (CSL) necessarily lower crimes. We focus on violent youth crime (homicides by assault and guns) among 15-19 years age group in all Brazilian municipalities over 2000-13, taking advantage of the 2009 Brazilian Constitutional Amendment that required introduction of compulsory high schooling of 15-17-year-olds by 2016. Only about 53% municipalities adopted the Amendment by 2013. Difference-in-difference estimates with municipality fixed effects to account for the endogenous adoption of the Amendment by municipalities show small treatment effects for homicides, but insignificant effects for homicide rates in the full sample. In the absence of any significant increase in income/employment among this age group, we attribute this to the incapacitation effect of CSL, which was, however, weakened by overcrowding in day and night schools in treated municipalities after 2009. In contrast, poorer treated municipalities witnessed increased class size, worse school performance and increased crime too. The crime reduction effects of CSL thus crucially depend on whether/how it affects class size and school quality especially in less promising jurisdictions.
    Keywords: violent youth crime, compulsory schooling law, Constitutional Amendment 59, school quality, difference in differences model, endogenous adoption, Brazil
    JEL: H41 I21 K30 O15
    Date: 2020–03
  3. By: Shah, Chandra; Richardson, Paul; Watt, Helen
    Abstract: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is a critical part of a modern education system. Motivating students to learn STEM subjects is however a challenge. Teachers have a critical role in motivating students but to do this effectively they need to have appropriate subject matter knowledge. Data from PISA 2015 show a substantial proportion of teachers in Australian schools are teaching STEM subjects ‘out-of-field’, which is that they do not have the qualifications to teach these subjects. This paper examines the effects of individual teacher characteristics and school context on of out-of-field teaching in STEM subjects. In particular, it examines the role of school autonomy and staff shortage in this. The results show these two variables have a strong association with out-of-field teaching, however, other factors either mediate or confound their effects. A full understanding of the results requires knowing the role of school funding and school budgets in out-of-field teaching. While we do not have direct measures of these in the data, we can infer their likely roles through the effects of other factors, such as school sector and education level of parents of students in the school, in the model.
    Keywords: out-of-field teaching,teacher supply and demand,multi-level logit model
    JEL: C25 I22 I24 J23 J24
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Belzil, Christian (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris); Maurel, Arnaud (Duke University); Sidibé, Modibo (Duke University)
    Abstract: Using data from a Canadian field experiment on the financial barriers to higher education, we estimate the distribution of the value of financial aid for prospective students. Our results point out that a considerable share of prospective students are affected by credit constraints. We find that most of the individuals are willing to pay a sizable interest premium above the prevailing market rate for the option to take up a loan, with a median interest rate wedge equal to 6.8 percentage points for a $1,000 loan. The willingness-to-pay for financial aid is highly heterogeneous across students, with preferences and in particular discount factors, playing a key role in accounting for this variation.
    Keywords: higher education financing, time and risk preferences, field experiment
    JEL: I22 I23 J24
    Date: 2020–03
  5. By: Edmark, Karin (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Hussain, Iftikhar (Department of Economics, University of Sussex); Haelermans, Carla (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA), School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Empirical studies investigating the impact of private voucher schools on student outcomes have focused on a number of mechanisms, including productivity and competitive effects. Arguably, the possibility that these voucher schools may provide greater variety, in terms of education options or tracks remains an understudied area. This paper exploits the rapid expansion of private academic and vocational track schools in Sweden, to address this question. We uncover new evidence that the introduction of private voucher schools induced greater vocational education participation, and not simply a substitution of public for private vocational schools. In effect, private school penetration lead to a switch away from academic tracks, including both science and social science, in favour of vocational options. We then ask what impact inducing greater participation in vocational education had on short- and medium-term outcomes, including GPA, on-time graduation from high school, university participation and field of study at university. We discuss other possible mechanisms, including changes in peer and teacher quality.
    Keywords: private provision; independent schools; voucher school reform; vocational education; upper secondary education
    JEL: H44 I21 I26 I28
    Date: 2020–04–16
  6. By: Marianne Haraldsvik (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Center for Economic Research at NTNU); Bjarne Strøm (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: Do individuals finishing compulsory school in economic downturns end up with higher skills in adulthood than comparable individuals that finish compulsory school in economic upturns? This paper answers this question by exploring data on country unemployment rates combined with individual data on educational attainment and adult skills in numeracy and literacy from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL). We find that completed education is countercyclical, and the same pattern is found for adult skills in numeracy and literacy. The results are fairly robust across different model specifications including fixed country and cohort effects and country specific cohort trends. The results indicates that the labor market conditions at the time when young people make crucial educational decisions have long lasting effect on skills and potential earnings in adulthood.
    Keywords: Human capital accumulation, business cycles, adult skills
    JEL: E24 I2 J2
    Date: 2020–04–08
  7. By: Joseph G. Altonji; Ling Zhong
    Abstract: We estimate the labor market return to an MBA, a JD, and master’s in engineering, nursing, education, psychology and social work, and thirteen other graduate degrees. To control for heterogeneity in preferences and ability, we use fixed effects for combinations of field-specific undergraduate and graduate degrees obtained by the last time we observe an individual. Basically, we compare earnings before the graduate degree to earnings after the degree. We find large differences across graduate fields in earnings effects, and more moderate differences in internal rates of return that account for program length and tuition. The returns often depend on the undergraduate major. The contribution of occupational upgrading to the earnings gain varies across degrees. Finally, simple regression-based estimates of returns to graduate fields are often highly misleading.
    JEL: I21 I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Nicola Barban; Elisabetta De Cao; Sonia Oreffice; Climent Quintana-Domeque
    Abstract: We investigate assortative mating on education using a sample of couples from the Health and Retirement Study. We estimate a reduced-form linear matching function derived from a parsimonious matching model, which links wife’s education to husband’s education and both wife’s and husband’s unobservable characteristics. Using OLS we find that an additional year in husband’s education is associated with an average increase in wife’s education of 0.4 years. To deal with omitted variable bias due to unobservable characteristics, we use a measure of genetic propensity (polygenic score) for husband’s education as an instrumental variable. Assuming that our instrument is valid, our 2SLS estimate suggests that an additional year in husband’s education increases wife’s education by about 0.5 years. Since greater genetic propensity for educational attainment has been linked to a range of personality and cognitive skills, we allow for the possibility that the exclusion restriction is violated using the plausible exogenous approach by Conley et al. (2012). ‘True’ assortativeness on education cannot be ruled out, as long as one standard deviation increase in husband’s genetic propensity for education directly increases wife’s education by less than 0.2 years.
    Keywords: education, genes, instrumental variables, matching, plausibly exogenous, HRS.
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Oskorouchi, Hamid R. (University of Göttingen); Sousa-Poza, Alfonso (University of Hohenheim); Bloom, David E. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: By exploiting rich retrospective data on childhood immunization, socioeconomics, and health status in China (the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study), we assess the long-term effects of childhood vaccination on cognitive and educational outcomes in that country. To do so, we apply various techniques (e.g., propensity score and coarsened exact matching and correlated random effects) to different sets of conditioning variables and subsamples to estimate the average treatment on the treated effect of childhood vaccination. Our results confirm that vaccinations before the age of 15 have long-term positive and economically meaningful effects on nonhealth outcomes such as education and cognitive skills. These effects are relatively strong, with vaccinated individuals enjoying about one more year of schooling and performing substantially better later in life on several cognitive tests.
    Keywords: cognitive skills, vaccines, China, education
    JEL: I12 I18 I21
    Date: 2020–03
  10. By: Eric Bettinger; Robert W. Fairlie; Anastasia Kapuza; Elena Kardanova; Prashant Loyalka; Andrey Zakharov
    Abstract: Experimental studies rarely consider the shape and nature of the education production function, which is useful for deriving optimal levels of input substitution in increasingly resource constrained environments. Because of the rapid expansion of EdTech as a substitute for traditional learning around the world and against the backdrop of full-scale temporary substitution due to the coronavirus pandemic, we explore the educational production function by using a large randomized controlled trial that varies dosage of computer-assisted learning (CAL) as a substitute for traditional learning. Results show production is concave in CAL. Moving from zero to a low level of CAL, the marginal rate of technical substitution (MRTS) of CAL for traditional learning is greater than one. Moving from a lower to a higher level of CAL, production remains on the same or a lower isoquant and the MRTS is equal to or less than one. The estimates are consistent with the general form of a Cobb-Douglas production function and imply that a blended approach of CAL and traditional learning is optimal. The findings have direct implications for the rapidly expanding use of educational technology worldwide and its continued substitution for traditional learning.
    JEL: F63 I25
    Date: 2020–04
  11. By: Nigel Burnell (University of Surrey); Irina Cojuharenco (University of Surrey); Zahra Murad (University of Portsmouth)
    Abstract: Gender bias in teaching evaluations leads to unfair decisions during academics􏰀 careers. In four controlled experiments, we examine the role of academics􏰀 teaching style, academic credentials, academic discipline and bias awareness on gender bias in teaching evaluations. In Study 1, we test competing hypotheses regarding the effect of teaching style on gender bias. We find that a high warmth teaching style increases female academics􏰀 perceived warmth, but decreases their perceived competence, so gender bias in evaluations persists. In Study 2, we find that gender bias disappears for academic with senior credentials. Additionally, we find no evidence of less biased evaluations by those who anticipate gender bias. In Study 3 and Study 4, we test the robustness of our results in a different academic discipline and using different evaluation measures. In these latter studies, we do not find any evidence of gender bias in evaluations. We discuss our findings in the higher education context and make recommendations to mitigate gender bias in teaching evaluations.
    Keywords: Gender bias, teaching evaluations, teaching style, academic credentials, bias awareness
    Date: 2020–04–18
  12. By: Cheti Nicoletti; Kjell G. Salvanes; Emma Tominey
    Abstract: Increasing mothers’ labour supply in a child’s preschool years can cause a reduction in time investments that lead to a negative direct effect on mid-childhood and teenage outcomes. But as mothers’ work hours increase, income will rise. We ask whether income can compensate for the negative effect of hours by adopting a novel mediation analysis that exploits exogenous variation in both mothers’ hours and family income in pre-school years. As expected we find a negative direct effect of an increase in mother’s work hours on child test scores at age 11 and 15. However, income fully compensates for this negative direct effect. This is true for the full sample of children, for boys and girls and for children in households whose mother has a low and high level of education.
    Keywords: Child development, test scores, parental investments
    Date: 2020
  13. By: Hong, Kai (New York University); Savelyev, Peter A. (College of William and Mary); Tan, Kegon T.K. (University of Rochester)
    Abstract: We go beyond estimating the effect of college attainment on longevity by uncovering the mechanisms behind this effect while controlling for latent skills and unobserved heterogeneity. We decompose the effect with respect to a large set of potential mechanisms, including health behaviors, lifestyles, earnings, work conditions, and health at the start of the risk period (1993–2017). Our estimates are based on theWisconsin Longitudinal Study and show that the effect of education on longevity is well explained by observed mechanisms. Furthermore, we find that for women, the positive effect of education on longevity has been historically masked by the negative effect of education on marriage. An adjustment for the relationship between education and marriage based on data for more recent cohorts increases the explained effect of education on longevity for women. We discuss the implications for policies aimed at improving health and longevity and reducing health inequality.
    Keywords: health behaviors, mechanisms, longevity, college education, lifestyles
    JEL: C41 I12 J24
    Date: 2020–04

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