nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒06‒15
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. High-Ability Influencers? The Heterogeneous Effects of Gifted Classmates By Simone Balestra; Aurelien Sallin; Stefan C. Wolter
  2. How Gender and Prior Disadvantage Predict Performance in College By Delaney, Judith; Devereux, Paul J.
  3. The Fatal Conceit: Swedish Education after Nazism By Heller Sahlgren, Gabriel; Wennström, Johan
  4. Does teaching school children about recycling reduce household waste? By Ek, Claes; Söderberg, Magnus
  5. Implementing Educational Interventions at Scale By Simon Calmar Andersen; Ulrik Hvidman
  6. Conceptualizing Grade Inflation By Tyner, Adam; Gershenson, Seth
  7. Explaining income inequality trends: An integrated approach By Petra Sauer; Narasimha D. Rao; Shonali Pachauri
  8. How Do Children Spend Their Time? Time Use and Skill Development in the PSID By Hannah Hall; Eric R. Nielsen
  9. A Human Capital Index for the Italian Provinces By Pasquini, Alessandra; Rosati, Furio C.

  1. By: Simone Balestra; Aurelien Sallin; Stefan C. Wolter
    Abstract: This paper examines how exposure to students identified as gifted (IQ≥130) affects achievement in secondary school and enrollment in post-compulsory education. By using unique student-level administrative data on achievement combined with psychological examination records, we are able to study the causal impact of gifted students on their classmates in unprecedented detail. We find a positive and significant effect of the exposure to gifted students on school achievement in both math and language. The impact of gifted students is, however, highly heterogeneous along three dimensions. First, we observe the strongest effects among male students and high achievers. Second, we show that male students benefit from the presence of gifted peers in all subjects regardless of their gender, whereas female students seem to benefit exclusively from the presence of female gifted students. Third, we find that gifted students diagnosed with emotional or behavioral disorders have zero-to-negative effects on their classmates' performance, a detrimental effect more pronounced for female students. After compulsory schooling, the results show that exposure to gifted classmates increases the likelihood of choosing a selective academic track. This effect, however, is entirely driven by male students.
    Keywords: gifted students, peer quality, gender, math, peer effects
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 J24
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: Delaney, Judith (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin); Devereux, Paul J. (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: Much research has shown that having a better class of degree has significant payoff in the labour market. Using administrative data from Ireland, we explore the performance in college of different types of students. We find that post-primary school achievement is an important predictor: Its relationship with college performance is concave for college completion, approximately linear for the probability of obtaining at least second class honours, upper division, and convex for the probability of obtaining a first class honours degree. We find that females do better in college than males, even after we account for their greater prior achievement, and this is true in both non-STEM and STEM fields. Disabled students, students from disadvantaged schools, and students who qualify for means-tested financial aid are less likely to complete and less likely to obtain first class honours or a 2.1 degree. However, once we control for post-primary school achievement, these students actually perform better in college than others. We also find that, conditional on prior achievement, students from private exam-oriented "grind" schools and from Irish-medium schools are less likely to finish a degree and less likely to perform well in college, possibly because their school exam results are high relative to their abilities. Our results suggest that current college policies that lower entry requirements for disabled students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be justified on efficiency as well as equity grounds. They also suggest that college performance might be improved by increasing entry requirements for students who come from school types that convey advantages in the post-primary exams that determine college entry.
    Keywords: higher education, gender and educational achievement, gender and STEM, secondary school disadvantage, degree class, contextual admissions
    JEL: I23 I24 J16 J24
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: Heller Sahlgren, Gabriel (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Wennström, Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: In the aftermath of the Second World War, Sweden dismantled an education system that was strongly influenced by German, Neo-Humanist pedagogical principles in favor of a progressive, student-centered system. This article suggests this was in large part due to a fatal misinterpretation of the education policy on which Nazism was predicated. Contrary to scholarly and popular belief, Nazi schools were not characterized by discipline and run top-down by teachers. In fact, the Nazis encouraged a nationwide youth rebellion in schools. Many Nazi leaders had themselves experienced the belligerent, child-centered war pedagogy of 1914–1918 rather than a traditional German education. Yet, Swedish school reformers came to regard Neo-Humanism as a fulcrum of the Third Reich. The article suggests this mistake paved the way for a school system that inadvertently came to share certain traits with the true educational credo of Nazism and likely contributed to Sweden’s recent educational decline.
    Keywords: National Socialism; Neo-Humanism; Progressivism; Sweden; War pedagogy
    JEL: D70 E65 I20 I28 N44
    Date: 2020–05–14
  4. By: Ek, Claes (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Söderberg, Magnus (Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: Reduced waste generation is a prioritized environmental policy objective in the EU as well as worldwide. We perform a randomized controlled trial in Sweden with school children aged 10-16 to evaluate an intervention designed to reduce household waste, Environmental Education Programs (EEP). Crucially, we are able to examine the causal effect of a wastethemed EEP on the actual waste generated in households where a child was treated. This is done by coupling the addresses of participating students with high-resolution address-level panel data on collected waste amounts, supplied by municipal waste authorities. Our design allows identifcation of the differential effect of the EEP on waste generation in treated versus control households. We fnd no signifcant evidence that the intervention had any effect on waste generation. There is also no indication that this null result is due to interference between treated and control students.
    Keywords: Field experiments; Environmental Education Programs; household waste; intergenerational learning
    JEL: D13 I21 Q53
    Date: 2020–02
  5. By: Simon Calmar Andersen (Aarhus Universitet); Ulrik Hvidman
    Abstract: Although many educational programs have demonstrated the potential to increase student learning, few examples of successful scaling exist. We study the scalability of a parent-aimed reading program that has shown promising results in an experiment within a local government. Using a nationwide experiment among the full population of 2nd-grade children in Danish public schools (n=51,312), we find that the program is less effective at large scale. We provide evidence on potential explanations for the lack of scalability, which suggests that implementation fidelity is the most important barrier to successfully scaling this type of educational interventions.
    Keywords: implementation, experiment
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: Tyner, Adam (Thomas B. Fordham Institute); Gershenson, Seth (American University)
    Abstract: Evidence of grade inflation in U.S. high schools is often misinterpreted due to confusion about how grade inflation is, or should be, defined. This note clarifies the implications of recent research on grade inflation in two ways. First, we situate the evidence by defining three distinct types of grade inflation. Second, we extend past research using data from North Carolina by documenting the different types of grade inflation experienced by high school students in the state over a recent ten-year period. Static grade inflation has been, and remains, higher in schools serving relatively disadvantaged student populations; however, differential growth in grade inflation in schools serving relatively advantaged student populations over the past 10 years has significantly narrowed this SES-based gap in grade inflation.
    Keywords: grade inflation, achievement gaps, grading standards
    JEL: I26 Q54
    Date: 2020–05
  7. By: Petra Sauer; Narasimha D. Rao; Shonali Pachauri
    Abstract: In large parts of the world, income inequality has been rising in recent decades. Other regions have experienced declining trends in income inequality. This raises the question of which mechanisms underlie contrasting observed trends in income inequality around the globe. To address this research question in a comparative study, we examine a global sample of 73 countries between 1981 and 2010. Yet, we are particularly interested in the heterogeneity of inequality determinants across world regions, and along the income distribution.
    Keywords: comparative study, Education, Income distribution
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Hannah Hall; Eric R. Nielsen
    Abstract: As income and wealth inequality have grown in the United States in recent decades, the large and growing differences in household expenditures on children from advantaged versus disadvantaged backgrounds have increasingly become a matter of public concern. High socioeconomic status (SES) households (those with high incomes and/or high levels of parental education) increasingly spend more money on physical goods (books, tuition, computers, etc.) and more time on "enrichment" activities such as homework, tutoring, reading, and extracurricular activities that are thought to directly foster cognitive (academic) skills.
    Date: 2020–05–26
  9. By: Pasquini, Alessandra (University of Rome Tor Vergata); Rosati, Furio C. (University of Rome Tor Vergata)
    Abstract: Good health conditions and high quality education are crucial for children development and for their future contribution to the society. Human capital has been recognized as one of the crucial engines of economic growth. Nonetheless, it is often hard to establish a metric that allows to monitor its evolution and contribute to assess the effects of policies. In Italy, the use of such an index at national level may not be enough to have a clear picture of the human capital conditions. Socio-economic characteristics and public services are highly heterogeneous across the Country. There is, therefore, good ground to believe that also the human capital presents substantial differences across the Italian Provinces. To take such a high heterogeneity into consideration, we develop a Human Capital Index for Italy disaggregated at provincial level. The results show very large differences across Italian Provinces in terms of human capital, mostly driven by the variation in the quality of educational. Strikingly, the differences among Italian Provinces span a range that goes from best performers among high income countries to middle and low income countries. Finally, we classify the Italian Provinces in three main clusters according to their HCI and show how the clusters differ in terms of several socio-economic characteristics.
    Keywords: human capital, index, Italian provinces
    JEL: I20 I24 I28
    Date: 2020–05

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