nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒07‒13
fifteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Path to College Education: The Role of Math and Verbal Skills By Esteban Aucejo; Jonathan James
  2. Family Background and the Responses to Higher SAT Scores By Graetz, Georg; Öckert, Björn; Nordström Skans, Oskar
  3. Lost Wages: The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures By Psacharopoulos, George; Collis, Victoria; Patrinos, Harry Anthony; Vegas, Emiliana
  4. Measuring the Effect of Student Loans on College Persistence By David Card; Alex Solis
  5. Mentoring and Schooling Decisions: Causal Evidence By Falk, Armin; Kosse, Fabian; Pinger, Pia
  6. Reconciling Changes in Wage Inequality with Changes in College Selectivity using a Behavioral Model By Christian Belzil; Jorgen Hansen
  7. First Impressions: The Case of Teacher Racial Bias By Rangel, Marcos A.; Shi, Ying
  8. Comparative Advantage and Gender Gap in STEM By Goulas, Sofoklis; Griselda, Silvia; Megalokonomou, Rigissa
  9. Marginal CollegeWage Premiums under Selection into Employment By Westphal, Matthias; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schmitz, Hendrik
  10. Persistent legacy of the 1075–1919 Vietnamese imperial examinations in contemporary quantity and quality of education By Vu, Tien Manh; Yamada, Hiroyuki
  11. External Validity: Four Models of Improving Student Achievement By Annie Duflo; Jessica Kiessel; Adrienne Lucas
  12. The Long-Term Cognitive and Schooling Effects of Childhood Vaccinations in China By Hamid R. Oskorouchi; Alfonso Sousa-Poza; David E. Bloom
  13. Males at the Tails: How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Gender Gap By David Autor; David N. Figlio; Krzysztof Karbownik; Jeffrey Roth; Melanie Wasserman
  14. Educational Choice, Initial Wage and Wage Growth By Jacopo Mazza; Hans van Ophem
  15. The skill development of children of immigrants By Marie Hull; Jonathan Norris

  1. By: Esteban Aucejo (Department of Economics, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University and CEP); Jonathan James (Department of Economics, California Polytechnic State University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the formation of math and verbal skills during compulsory education and their impact on adult outcomes. We introduce a novel method to estimate dynamic, nested CES production functions. Using a rich panel database that follows a cohort of students in England from elementary school to university, we find that the production functions of math and verbal skills are inherently different, where cross-effects are only present in the production of math skills. Results on long-term outcomes indicate that verbal skills play a substantially greater role in explaining university enrollment than math skills. This finding, combined with the large female advantage in verbal skills, has key implications for gender gaps in college enrollment and field of study. Finally, we show that students stuck in low quality schools have lower skill levels at the end of compulsory education compared to students attending high quality schools, with these skill deficits leading to a 30 percentage point gap in college enrollment among these students. Simulation results show that about 15% of this gap is due to di erences in skill levels at the beginning of compulsory education while about 20% of this gap is attributable to the differences in school quality, which indicates that policies aiming to improve school quality could help to overcome initial skill disadvantages.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Graetz, Georg (Uppsala University); Öckert, Björn (IFAU); Nordström Skans, Oskar (Uppsala University)
    Abstract: Using discontinuities within the Swedish SAT system, we show that additional admission opportunities causally affect college choices. Students with high-educated parents change timing, colleges, and fields in ways that appear consistent with basic economic theory. In contrast, very talented students with low-educated parents react to higher scores by increasing overall enrolment and graduation rates. Remarkably, most of this effect arises from increased participation in college programs and institutions that they could have attended even with a lower score. This suggests that students with low-educated parents face behavioral barriers even in a setting where colleges are tuition-free, student grants are universal and application systems are simple.
    Keywords: educational choice, intergenerational transmission of education, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: I21 I23 J62
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Psacharopoulos, George; Collis, Victoria; Patrinos, Harry Anthony; Vegas, Emiliana
    Abstract: Social distancing requirements associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus) have led to school closures. In mid-April, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization reported that 192 countries had closed all schools and universities, affecting more than 90 percent of the world’s learners: 1.5 billion children and young people. The closures are expected to reduce learning and will lead to future losses in earnings and labor productivity. Schooling attainment leads to increased earnings. What is not known is how much earnings will decline due to the school closures. Starting with the fact that every year of schooling equates to 8-9 percent in additional future earnings, this paper uses the number of months of education closures to estimate the loss in marginal future earnings. The findings show that the school closures reduce future earnings, and this loss is equivalent to 15 percent of future gross domestic product. The school closures will have a large and long-lasting impact on the earnings of future workers. It is also likely that students from low-income countries will be affected most. These estimates are conservative, assuming that the closures will end after four months and school quality will not suffer.
    Keywords: education,earnings,Covid-19
    JEL: I26 I20 J24
    Date: 2020
  4. By: David Card; Alex Solis
    Abstract: Governments around the world use grant and loan programs to ease the financial constraints that contribute to socioeconomic gaps in college completion. A growing body of research assesses the impact of grants; less is known about how loan programs affect persistence and degree completion. We use detailed administrative data from Chile to provide rigorous regression-discontinuity-based evidence on the impacts of loan eligibility for university students who retake the national admission test after their first year of studies. Those who score above a certain threshold become eligible for loans covering around 85% of tuition costs for the duration of their program. We find that access to loans increases the fraction who return to university for a second year by 20 percentage points, with two-thirds of the effect arising from a reduction in transfers to vocational colleges and one-third from a decline in the share who stop post-secondary schooling altogether. The longer-run impacts are smaller but remain highly significant, with a 12 percentage point impact on the fraction of marginally eligible retakers who complete a bachelor's degree.
    JEL: I22
    Date: 2020–05
  5. By: Falk, Armin (briq, University of Bonn); Kosse, Fabian (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München); Pinger, Pia (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: Inequality of opportunity strikes when two children with the same academic performance are sent to different quality schools because their parents differ in socio-economic status. Based on a novel dataset for Germany, we demonstrate that children are significantly less likely to enter the academic track if they come from low socio-economic status (SES) families, even after conditioning on prior measures of school performance. We then provide causal evidence that a low-intensity mentoring program can improve long-run education outcomes of low SES children and reduce inequality of opportunity. Low SES children, who were randomly assigned to a mentor for one year are 20 percent more likely to enter a high track program. The mentoring relationship affects both parents and children and has positive long-term implications for children's educational trajectories.
    Keywords: mentoring, childhood intervention programs, education, human capital investments, inequality of opportunity, socio-economic status
    JEL: C90 I24 J24 J62
    Date: 2020–06
  6. By: Christian Belzil (Paris Polytechnic Institute, CIRANO and IZA); Jorgen Hansen (Concordia University, CIRANO, CIREQ and IZA)
    Abstract: We estimate a structural dynamic Roy model of education, labor supply and earnings on the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of males taken from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) and evaluate to what extent changes in education and labor supply decisions across cohorts have been explained by changes in i) the college premium, ii) the utility of attending higher education, iii) grade progression standards, and iv) the value of non-market time. We quantify the evolution of the relative and absolute qualities of both college graduates and college attendants (associates). We find that it is impossible to rationalize changes in observed schooling decisions without appealing to a large increase in intrinsic taste for education, despite a doubling of the cost of college and its impact on debt-load. The population distribution of the college premium has shifted to the right, going from 50% to 58%, while the premium of actual college graduates has shifted to the left, going from 72% to 54%, thereby pointing toward a reduction of the relative quality of college graduates. The absolute quality (human capital) of college graduates has however remained stable. For college attendants (associates),both relative and absolute quality dropped. One implication of the relative flattening of age earnings profiles is the removal of the negative effect of late college graduation on early life-cycle wages. Our estimates indicate it moved from a 4% penalty per year of delay to an insignificant quantity by the early 2000’s.
    Keywords: Wage Inequality, Educational Selectivity, Wage Distribu-tion, College Premium, Dynamic Discrete Choice.
    JEL: I2 J1 J3
    Date: 2020–06
  7. By: Rangel, Marcos A. (Duke University); Shi, Ying (Syracuse University)
    Abstract: We study racial bias and the persistence of first impressions in the context of education. Teachers who begin their careers in classrooms with large black-white score gaps carry negative views into evaluations of future cohorts of black students. Our evidence is based on novel data on blind evaluations and non-blind public school teacher assessments of fourth and fifth graders in North Carolina. Negative first impressions lead teachers to be significantly less likely to over-rate but not more likely to under-rate black students' math and reading skills relative to their white classmates. Teachers' perceptions are sensitive to the lowest-performing black students in early classrooms, but non-responsive to highest-performing ones. This is consistent with the operation of confirmatory biases. Since teacher expectations can shape grading patterns and sorting into academic tracks as well as students' own beliefs and behaviors, these findings suggest that novice teacher initial experiences may contribute to the persistence of racial gaps in educational achievement and attainment.
    Keywords: racial bias, first impressions, teachers, racial disparities
    JEL: I24 J15
    Date: 2020–06
  8. By: Goulas, Sofoklis (Stanford University); Griselda, Silvia (University of Melbourne); Megalokonomou, Rigissa (University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Why are females compared to males both more likely to have strong STEM-related performance and less likely to study STEM later on? We exploit random assignment of students to classrooms in Greece to identify the impact of comparative advantage in STEM relative to non-STEM subjects on STEM specialization decisions. We approximate comparative STEM advantage using the within-classroom ranking of the ratio of early-high school performance in STEM over non-STEM subjects. We find that females who are assigned to classroom peers among which they have a higher comparative STEM advantage are more likely to choose a STEM school track and apply to a STEM degree. Comparative STEM advantage appears irrelevant for males. Our results suggest that comparative STEM advantage explains at least 12% of the under-representation of qualified females in the earliest instance of STEM specialization. We discuss the mechanisms that amplify the role of comparative STEM advantage in STEM study.
    Keywords: gender gap, STEM, random peer effects, ordinal rank, absolute advantage, comparative advantage
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2020–06
  9. By: Westphal, Matthias (TU Dortmund); Kamhöfer, Daniel A. (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)); Schmitz, Hendrik (RWI)
    Abstract: In this paper, we identify female long-term wage returns to college education using the educational expansion between 1960–1990 in West Germany as exogenous variation for college enrollment. We estimate marginal treatment effects to learn about the underlying behavioral structure of women who decide for or against going to college (e.g., whether there is selection into gains). We propose a simple partial identification technique using an adjusted version of the Lee bounds to account for women who select into employment due to having a college education, which we call college-induced selection into employment (CISE). We find that women are, on average, more than 17 percentage points more likely to be employed due to having a college education than without. Taking this CISE into account, we find wage returns of 6–12 percent per year of education completed (average treatment effects on the treated).
    Keywords: marginal treatment effect, partial identification, returns to higher education, female labor force participation
    JEL: C31 I26 J24
    Date: 2020–06
  10. By: Vu, Tien Manh; Yamada, Hiroyuki
    Abstract: We investigated the impact of individuals who passed the Vietnamese imperial examinations (1075–1919) on the present-day quantity and quality of education in their home districts. We layered the 2009 Population and Housing Census and the 2009 National Entrance Exams to University (NEEU) test scores on the geographical distribution of imperial test takers’ home districts. We constructed a novel instrumental variable representing the average distance between the examinees’ home districts and the corresponding imperial examination venues. We found a persistent legacy in the average years of schooling, literacy rate, school attendance rate, NEEU test scores, and primary school dropout rate.
    Keywords: Education; Human Capital; Imperial Examination; Historical Legacy; Vietnam
    JEL: I25 N35 O15
    Date: 2020–05–03
  11. By: Annie Duflo; Jessica Kiessel; Adrienne Lucas
    Abstract: Randomized controlled trials in lower-income countries have demonstrated ways to increase learning, in specific settings. This study uses a large-scale, nationwide RCT in Ghana to show the external validity of four school-based interventions inspired by other RCTs. Even though the government implemented the programs within existing systems, student learning increased across all four models, more so for female than male students, and many gains persisted one year after the program ended. Three of the four interventions had a similar cost effectiveness. The intervention that directly targeted classroom teachers increased the likelihood that teachers were engaged with students.
    JEL: I21 I25 I28 J24 O15
    Date: 2020–06
  12. By: Hamid R. Oskorouchi; Alfonso Sousa-Poza; David E. Bloom
    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.
    JEL: I12 I18 I21
    Date: 2020–05
  13. By: David Autor; David N. Figlio; Krzysztof Karbownik; Jeffrey Roth; Melanie Wasserman
    Abstract: Analyzing Florida birth certificates matched to school records, we document that the female advantage in childhood behavioral and academic outcomes is driven by gender gaps at the extremes of the outcome distribution. Using unconditional quantile regression, we investigate whether family socioeconomic status (SES) differentially affects the lower tail outcomes of boys. We find that the differential effects of family SES on boys’ outcomes are concentrated in the parts of the distribution where the gender gaps are most pronounced. Accounting for the disproportionate effects of family environment on boys at the tails substantially narrows the gender gap in high school dropout.
    JEL: I24 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2020–05
  14. By: Jacopo Mazza (University of Essex); Hans van Ophem (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We investigate the major choice of college graduates where we make choice dependent on expected initial wages and expected wage growth per major. We build a model that allows us to estimate these factors semiparametrically and that corrects for selection bias. We estimate the model on the combined NLSY79 and NLSY97 samples. We find markedly different results in expected real wage growth and expected initial wages across majors. Furthermore, the dierences in these expectations appear to be relevant for major choice.
    Keywords: Wage inequality, Wage uncertainty, Unobserved heterogeneity, Selection bias, Decision-making under Risk and Uncertainty, Semiparametric estimation
    JEL: J31 C14 C34 D81
    Date: 2020–06–11
  15. By: Marie Hull (UNC Greensboro and IZA); Jonathan Norris (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the evolution of cognitive and noncognitive skills gaps for children of immigrants between kindergarten and 5th grade using two cohorts of elementary school students. We find some evidence that children of immigrants begin school with lower math scores than children of natives, but this gap disappears in later elementary school. For noncognitive skills, children of immigrants and children of natives score similarly in early elementary school, but a positive gap opens up in 2nd grade. We find that the growth in noncognitive skills is driven by disadvantaged immigrant students. We discuss potential explanations for the observed patterns of skill development as well as the implications of our results for the labor market prospects of children of immigrants.
    Keywords: children of immigrants, test scores, noncognitive skills, early life development
    JEL: I21 J13 J15
    Date: 2020–05

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