nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒08‒10
eleven papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Influence of Personality Traits on University Performance: Evidence from Italian Freshmen Students By Luca Corazzini; Silvia D’Arrigo; Emanuele Millemaci; Pietro Navarra
  2. Occupational Dualism and Intergenerational Educational Mobility in the Rural Economy: Evidence from China and India By M. Shahe Emran; Francisco Ferreira; Yajing Jiang; Yan Sun
  3. Neighbourhood, school zoning and the housing market: Evidence from New South Wales By Firmin Doko Tchatoka; Vanessa Varvaris
  4. Female Role Models: are they effective at encouraging girls to study science? By Thomas Breda; Julien Grenet; Clémentine van Effenterre
  5. Couples’ educational pairings, selection into parenthood, and second birth progressions By Natalie Nitsche; Alessandra Trimarchi; Marika Jalovaara
  6. Driven to succeed? Teenagers' drive, ambition and performance on high-stakes examinations By John Jerrim; Nikki Shure; Gill Wyness
  7. Islam and the State: Religious Education in the Age of Mass Schooling∗ By Samuel Bazzi; Masyhur Hilmy; Benjamin Marx
  8. Obstacles on the Road to School: The Impacts of Mobility Restrictions on Educational Performance By Miaari, S.; Lee, I
  9. Why are boys falling behind? Explaining gender gaps in school attainment in Sri Lanka By Rozana Himaz; Harsha Aturupane
  10. Peer Gender Composition and Mental Health: Evidence from Administrative Data By Getik, Demid
  11. The Concentration of investment in education in the US (1970-2018) By Cécile Bonneau

  1. By: Luca Corazzini (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari); Silvia D’Arrigo (Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari); Emanuele Millemaci (Department of Economics, University of Messina); Pietro Navarra (Department of Economics, University of Messina)
    Abstract: Despite several attempts to provide a definite pattern regarding the effects of personality traits on performance in higher education, the debate over the nature of the relationship is far from being conclusive. The use of different subject pools and sample sizes, as well as the use of identification strategies that either do not adequately account for selection bias or are unable to establish causality between measures of academic performance and noncognitive skills, are possible sources of heterogeneity. This paper investigates the impact of the Big Five traits, as measured before the beginning of the academic year, on the grade point average achieved in the first year after the enrolment, taking advantage of a unique and large dataset from a cohort of Italian students in all undergraduate programs containing detailed information on student and parental characteristics. Relying on a robust strategy to credibly satisfy the conditional independence assumption, we find that higher levels of conscientiousness and openness to experience positively affect student score.
    Keywords: Noncognitive skills; Personality traits; Educational attainment; Economic Psychology
    JEL: I21 J24 D90
    Date: 2020
  2. By: M. Shahe Emran (Columbia University); Francisco Ferreira (London School of Economics); Yajing Jiang (Charles River Associates); Yan Sun (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper extends the Becker-Tomes model of intergenerational educational mobility to a rural economy characterized by farm-nonfarm occupational dualism and provides a comparative analysis of rural China and rural India. The model builds a micro-foundation for the widely used linear-in-levels estimating equation. Returns to education for parents and productivity of financial investment in children’s education determine relative mobility, as measured by the slope, while the intercept depends, among other factors, on the degree of persistence in nonfarm occupations. Unlike many existing studies based on coresident samples, our estimates of intergenerational mobility do not suffer from truncation bias. The sons in rural India faced lower educational mobility compared with the sons in rural China in the 1970s to 1990s. To understand the role of genetic inheritance, Altonji et al. (2005) biprobit sensitivity analysis is combined with the evidence on intergenerational correlation in cognitive ability in economics and behavioral genetics literature. The observed persistence can be due solely to genetic correlations in China, but not in India. Father’s nonfarm occupation was complementary to his education in determining a sons’ schooling in India, but separable in China. There is evidence of emerging complementarity for the younger cohorts in rural China. Structural change in favor of the nonfarm sector contributed to educational inequality in rural India. Evidence from supplementary data on economic mechanisms suggests that the model provides plausible explanations for the contrasting roles of occupational dualism in intergenerational educational mobility in rural India and rural China.
    Keywords: Educational Mobility, Rural Economy, Occupational Dualism, Farm-Nonfarm, Complementarity, Coresidency Bias, China, India.
    JEL: O12 J62
    Date: 2020–08
  3. By: Firmin Doko Tchatoka (School of Economics, University of Adelaide); Vanessa Varvaris
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of primary school zoning on housing prices in Australia. Using comprehensive data on both schools and housing transactions in New South Wales along with the combination of boundary and regression discontinuity design techniques, we find that the price of houses located in high-performing side of primary school zone boundaries is, on average, about 2.7% to 3.3% higher than that of similar houses located in low-performing side of these boundaries. This finding provides not only an insight into the price elasticity of demand for high quality education, but also has important policy implications as it highlights the need to address the potential educational inequalities associated with school zoning in Australia.
    Keywords: School Zoning; House Prices; Boundary Discontinuity Design; Regression Discontinuity Design; Price Premium.
    JEL: R31 I24 I28 C14 C21
    Date: 2020–07
  4. By: Thomas Breda (IPP - Institut des politiques publiques, PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Julien Grenet (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IPP - Institut des politiques publiques); Clémentine van Effenterre (University of Toronto, IPP - Institut des politiques publiques)
    Abstract: In France, as in most developed nations, the under-representation of women in the sciences is a major obstacle to achieving equality in the workplace. Since 2014, the For Girls in Science awareness programme run by Fondation L'Oréal has offered one-hour classroom talks by young women with a science background (women working for the L'Oréal group and young researchers). These talks aim to combat the stereotypes associated with science-related careers and with women's role in the sciences, in order to make science more attractive to young women. Using a random assignment evaluation protocol on nearly 20,000 pupils in seconde (Year 11) and terminale scientifique (Year 13) year groups at French high schools in 2015-2016, we show that these one-hour talks lead to a significant reduction in pupils' stereotypical representations of science-related careers and gender differences in scientific ability, among both girls and boys. Although the talks have no discernible impact on choice of educational track for all pupils in seconde and for boys in terminale S, they have significant effects on the post-baccalauréat track choices of girls in terminale S, for whom the proportion choosing a preparatory class for the most prestigious universities (CPGE) in a STEM subject rose from 11 to 14.5% (a 30% increase). One of the lessons learned from the study is that the ability to influence young girls' career choices depends not only on how effectively the female role models bust the stereotypes associated with science-related careers and gender roles in science, but also on the type of identification engendered by exposure to the role model.
    Date: 2019–09
  5. By: Natalie Nitsche (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Alessandra Trimarchi (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Marika Jalovaara
    Abstract: Educational pairings, in other words the combination of educational levels of both partners, have been shown to have meaningful implications for couples’ childbearing behavior. Specifically, in a variety of developed countries, second birth transition rates appear to be higher among homogamous highly educated couples than among heterogamous couples consisting of one highly educated partner and one lower educated partner. However, the mechanisms that underlie these findings are not well-understood. We extend this literature by proposing and testing three potential mechanisms. We investigate whether differentials in second birth rates by educational pairing are, first, an artefact created by overly broad education categories, which mask that these differentials are driven by ‘low pooled resources’ or ‘large distance’ couples; or, second, driven by the educational upgrading processes of the partners; or, third, due to unobserved heterogeneity among couples. Using data from Finnish registers, we indeed find that second birth rates are higher as the pooled resources of couples increase. However, we also find that differentials among the higher educated couples hinge upon ‘low pooled resources’ couples; meaning that the partner’s education matters in predicting the risk of a second birth transition mainly if the partner has low tertiary education. Furthermore, we show that adding a common term across birth episodes to address unobserved heterogeneity renders most pairing differentials among the higher educated groups insignificant, while pairing differentials remain large and significant among the lower educated groups.
    Keywords: Finland, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2020
  6. By: John Jerrim (Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Nikki Shure (Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Gill Wyness (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London)
    Abstract: There has been much interest across the social sciences in the link between young people's socio- emotional (non-cognitive) skills and their educational achievement. But much of this research has focused upon the role of the Big Five personality traits. This paper contributes new evidence by examining two inter-related non-cognitive factors that are rarely studied in the literature: ambition and drive. We use unique survey-administrative linked data from England, gathered in the lead-up to high-stakes compulsory school exams, which allow us to control for a rich set of background characteristics, prior educational attainment and, unusually, school fixed effects. Our results illustrate substantial gender and immigrant gaps in young people's ambitiousness, while the evidence for socio-economic differences is more mixed. Conversely, we find a strong socio-economic gradient in drive, but no gender gap. Both academically ambitious and driven teenagers achieve grades around 0.36 standard deviations above their peers, even controlling for prior academic attainment and school attended.
    Keywords: socio-economic gaps, gender gaps, aspirations, secondary school, higher education
    JEL: I24 J24
    Date: 2020–07
  7. By: Samuel Bazzi (Boston University, CEPR, NBER); Masyhur Hilmy (Boston University); Benjamin Marx (Sciences Po and CEPR)
    Abstract: Public schooling systems are an essential feature of modern states. These systems often developed at the expense of religious schools, which undertook the bulk of education historically and still cater to large student populations worldwide. This paper examines how Indonesia’s long-standing Islamic school system responded to the construction of 61,000 public elementary schools in the mid-1970s. The policy was designed in part to foster nation building and to curb religious influence in society. We are the first to study the market response to these ideological objectives. Using novel data on Islamic school construction and curriculum, we identify both short-run effects on exposed cohorts as well as dynamic, long-run effects on education markets. While primary enrollment shifted towards state schools, religious education increased on net as Islamic secondary schools absorbed the increased demand for continued education. The Islamic sector not only entered new markets to compete with the state but also increased religious curriculum at newly created schools. Our results suggest that the Islamic sector response increased religiosity at the expense of a secular national identity. Overall, this ideological competition in education undermined the nation-building impacts of mass schooling.
    Keywords: Religion, Education, Nation Building, Islam, School Competition
    JEL: H52 I25 N45 P16 Z12
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Miaari, S.; Lee, I
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of mobility restrictions on educational performance in the West Bank over 2000–2006 during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict is characterized by a system of mobility restrictions enforced through physical barriers such as checkpoints. Using novel data on the location of barriers, we find that exposure to one or more checkpoints reduces the probability of passing the final high school exam by 1–3 percentage points and the overall score by 0.04–0.07 standard deviations. We find evidence of three mechanisms at play: school resources deteriorate, students’ psychological wellbeing worsens, and students lose time due to delays at checkpoints.
    JEL: D74 I25 J61
    Date: 2020–07–30
  9. By: Rozana Himaz; Harsha Aturupane
    Abstract: A trend that is increasingly common in developed countries and middle income countries such as Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka is that females outperform males in terms of attainment at school and enrolment in higher education, on average. Alarmingly in countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, households also seem to allocate significantly higher resources towards girls' education rather than boys’ (Himaz, 2010, Wongmonta and Glewwe, 2017). This paper looks at attainment in mathematics among a sample of 12 year olds in Sri Lanka to see to what extent parental aspirations, teacher attitudes as well as school-based management programs, inter alia, can explain gender differentials disfavouring boys. The paper finds that although teacher attitudes and parental aspirations are significantly lower for boys, these factors -as we measure them- do not sufficiently explain the attainment gap. Much of the gap remains ‘unexplained’ and is due to differences in returns to endowments. The paper argues that positive discrimination of men in the labour market and bottle necks in higher-education may be important in understanding the unexplained component.
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Getik, Demid (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: Adolescent mental health is key for later well-being. Yet, causal evidence on environmental drivers of adolescent mental health is scant. I study how an important classroom feature - gender composition in compulsory-school - affects mental health. I exploit Swedish register data (N = 576,285) to link variation in gender composition across classrooms within cohorts to mental health diagnoses. The results indicate that a higher share of female peers in one's class reduces mental health, particularly among boys. The effects persist after students' transition to a different high-school class. Peer composition can thus be an important and persistent driver of early mental health.
    Keywords: gender; peer effects; mental health
    JEL: I19 I21 J16
    Date: 2020–07–17
  11. By: Cécile Bonneau (PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This study aims to analyse the concentration of investment in education in the US from 1970 to 2017. I study both the distribution of spending for K-12 and Higher Education and then present different scenarios to combine both inequalities. Even if the distribution of education spending is less unequal than the one of income or even wages, these spending are still very unequally distributed and, as for income and wages, inequalities have significantly increased over the past four decades, due to spending in higher education. Indeed, the top 10% of students for whom the most is spent used to have 28% of the overall amount of instructional expenditure in 1970 and now have more than 36%. Inequalities in educational investments are coming from two sources: unequal length of studies and unequal spending per grade, the latter being the main driver of the concentration observed. As a matter of fact, if everyone were to have the same educational attainment, the level of inequalities would almost be the same. The only way to reduce significantly the concentration in educational spending would be to equalize spending within each grade across districts and universities.
    Keywords: School Finance,investment in education,History of Education,Government expenditure on Education,United States,World Inequality Lab
    Date: 2020

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