nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒08‒17
thirteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Performance-based aid, enhanced advising, and the income gap in college graduation: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial By Christopher Erwin; Melissa Binder; Cynthia Miller; Kate Krause
  2. The Association Between Educational Attainment and Longevity using Individual Level Data from the 1940 Census By Adriana Lleras-Muney; Joseph Price; Dahai Yue
  3. Grade Expectations: How well can we predict future grades based on past performance? By Jake Anders; Catherine Dilnot; Lindsey Macmillan; Gill Wyness
  4. The likely impact of COVID-19 on education: Reflections based on the existing literature and recent international datasets By Giorgio Di Pietro; Federico Biagi; Patricia Costa; Zbigniew Karpinski; Jacopo Mazza
  5. Long-Run Returns to Field of Study in Secondary School By Gordon Dahl; Dan-Olof Rooth; Anders Stenberg
  6. Compensating for Academic Loss: Online Learning and Student Performance during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Andrew E. Clark; Huifu Nong; Hongjia Zhu; Rong Zhu
  7. Marginal College Wage Premiums under Selection into Employment* By Matthias Westphal; Daniel A. Kamhöfer; Hendrik Schmitz
  8. Driven to succeed? Teenagers' drive, ambition and performance on high-stakes examinations By John Jerrim; Nikki Shure; Gill Wyness
  9. Social Performance Management in Public Secondary Schools in Cameroon: Role of Continuous Training and Career Management By Chevalier de Dieu Kutche Tamghe
  10. Improving the Efficiency and Equity of Public Education Spending: The Case of Moldova By Hui Jin; La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul; Baoping Shang
  11. What happens when separate and unequal school districts merge? By Aue, Robert; Klein, Thilo; Ortega, Josué
  12. Can competitiveness predict education and labor market outcomes? Evidence from incentivized choice and survey measures By Thomas Buser; Muriel Niederle; Hessel Oosterbeek
  13. Tackling the Gender Gap in Math with Active Learning Teaching Practices. By Di Tommaso, Maria Laura; Contini, Dalit; De Rosa, Dalila; Piazzalunga, Daniela

  1. By: Christopher Erwin (NZ Work Research Institute, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law at AUT University); Melissa Binder (Department of Economics, University of New Mexico); Cynthia Miller (Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation); Kate Krause (Department of Economics, University of New Mexico)
    Abstract: Income gaps in college enrollment, persistence, and graduation raise concerns for those interested in equal opportunity in higher education. We present findings from a randomly assigned scholarship for low-income students at a medium-sized public four-year university. The program focused solely on the first four semesters of enrollment and tied aid disbursements to modest academic benchmarks and enhanced academic advising. Meaningful decreases in time to degree appear to be driven by students with the lowest academic preparation and family income. Treated students took out approximately 20 percent less in student loans during the duration of the program. Participants also indicated high satisfaction with the program’s model of enhanced academic advising.
    Keywords: enhanced advising, merit-based financial aid, income gaps, college graduation
    Date: 2020–07
  2. By: Adriana Lleras-Muney; Joseph Price; Dahai Yue
    Abstract: We combine newly released individual data from the 1940 full-count census with death records and other information available in family trees to create the largest individual data to date to study the association between years of schooling and age at death. Conditional on surviving to age 35, one additional year of education is associated with roughly 0.4 more years of life for both men and women for cohorts born 1906-1915. This association is close to linear but exhibits strong credentialing effects, particularly for men, and is substantially smaller for cohorts born earlier. This association varies substantially by state of birth, but it is not smaller in states with higher levels of education or longevity. For men the association is stronger in places with greater incomes, higher quality of school, and larger investments in public health. Women also exhibit great heterogeneity in the association, but our measures of the childhood environment do not explain it.
    JEL: I10 I20 J10
    Date: 2020–07
  3. By: Jake Anders (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Catherine Dilnot (Oxford Brookes Business School); Lindsey Macmillan (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Gill Wyness (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London)
    Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented disruption of England's education system, including the cancellation of all formal examination. Instead of sitting exams, the class of 2020 will be assigned "calculated grades" based on predictions by their teachers. However, teacher predictions of pupil grades are a common feature of the English education system, with such predictions forming the basis of university applications in normal years. But previous research has shown these predictions are highly inaccurate, creating concern for teachers, pupils and parents. In this paper, we ask whether it is possible to improve on teachers' predictions, using detailed measures of pupils' past performance and non-linear and machine learning approaches. Despite lacking their informal knowledge, we can make modest improvements on the accuracy of teacher predictions with our models, with around 1 in 4 pupils being correctly predicted. We show that predictions are improved where we have information on 'related' GCSEs. We also find heterogeneity in the ability to predict successfully, according to student achievement, school type and subject of study. Notably, high achieving non-selective state school pupils are more likely to be under-predicted compared to their selective state and private school counterparts. Overall, the low rates of prediction, regardless of the approach taken, raises the question as to why predicted grades form such a crucial part of our education system.
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Giorgio Di Pietro (European Commission - JRC); Federico Biagi (European Commission - JRC); Patricia Costa (European Commission - JRC); Zbigniew Karpinski (European Commission - JRC); Jacopo Mazza (European Commission- JRC)
    Abstract: In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, most countries around the world have decided to temporarily close educational institutions. However, learning has not stopped but is now fully taking place online as schools and universities provide remote schooling. Using existing literature and evidence from recent international data (Eurostat, PISA, ICILS, PIRLS, TALIS), this report attempts to gain a better understanding of how the COVID-19 crisis may affect students’ learning. It looks at the different direct and indirect ways through which the virus and the measures adopted to contain it may impact children’s achievement. ‘Very conservative’ estimates for a few selected EU countries consistently indicate that, on average, students will suffer a learning loss. It is also suggested that COVID-19 will not affect students equally, will influence negatively both cognitive and non-cognitive skills acquisition, and may have important long-term consequences in addition to the short-term ones.
    Keywords: education, student learning, inequalities, Covid-19
    JEL: I20 I24
    Date: 2020–06
  5. By: Gordon Dahl; Dan-Olof Rooth; Anders Stenberg
    Abstract: This paper studies whether specialized academic fields of study in secondary school, which are common in many countries, affect earnings as an adult. Identification is challenging, because it requires not just quasi-random variation into fields of study, but also an accounting of individuals' next-best alternatives. Our setting is Sweden, where at the end of ninth grade students rank fields of study and admissions to oversubscribed fields is determined based on a student's GPA. We use a regression discontinuity design which allows for different labor market returns for each combination of preferred versus next-best choice, together with nationwide register data for school cohorts from 1977-1991 linked to their earnings as adults. Our analysis yields four main findings. First, Engineering, Natural Science, and Business yield higher earnings relative to most second-best choices, while Social Science and Humanities result in sizable drops, even relative to non-academic vocational programs. Second, the return to completing a field varies substantially as a function of a student's next-best alternative. The magnitudes are often as large as estimates of the return to two years of additional education. Third, the pattern of returns for individuals with different first and second best choices is consistent with comparative advantage for many field choice combinations, while others exhibit either random sorting or comparative disadvantage. Fourth, most of the differences in adult earnings can be attributed to differences in college major and occupation. Taken together, these results highlight that the field choices students make at age 16, when they may have limited information about their skills and the labor market, have effects which last into adulthood.
    JEL: I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2020–07
  6. By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Huifu Nong (SunYat-sen University); Hongjia Zhu (Jinan University [Guangzhou]); Rong Zhu (Flinders University [Adelaide, Australia])
    Abstract: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread school shutdowns, and many schools have opted for education using online learning platforms. Using administrative data from three middle schools in China, this paper estimates the causal effects of online learning on student performance. Using the difference-in-differences approach, we show that online education improves students' academic achievement by 0.22 of a standard deviation, relative to those who stopped receiving learning support from their school during the COVID-19 lockdown. All else equal, students from a school having access to recorded online lessons delivered by external higher-quality teachers have achieved more progress in academic outcomes than those accessing lessons recorded by teachers in their own school. We find no evidence that the educational benefits of distance learning differ for rural and urban students. However, there is more progress in the academic achievement of students using a computer for online education than that of those using a smartphone. Last, low achievers benefit the most from online learning while there is no significant impact for top students. Our findings have important policy implications for educational practices when lockdown measures are implemented during a pandemic.
    Keywords: academic achievement,COVID-19 pandemic,online learning
    Date: 2020–07
  7. By: Matthias Westphal (TU Dortmund, RWI Essen, Leibniz Science Campus Ruhr); Daniel A. Kamhöfer (University of Düsseldorf, IZA); Hendrik Schmitz (Paderborn University, RWI Essen, Leibniz Science Campus Ruhr)
    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: 2020–08
  8. By: John Jerrim (University College London); Nikki Shure (University College London); Gill Wyness (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 0.37 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: 2020–07–01
  9. By: Chevalier de Dieu Kutche Tamghe (IPD - Institut Panafricain Pour le Développement)
    Abstract: The teacher occupies a prominent place in the training, development and socio-professional integration of the individual. The success of its mission strongly depends on its social performance, of which satisfaction and commitment to work are among the dimensions most used in the literature (Kutche, 2019). This article aims to analyze the effects of human resource development practices on the social performance of public secondary teachers in Cameroon. To achieve this, a quantitative approach conducted using a questionnaire submitted to a simple random sample of 426 teachers was used. Two dimensions of human resource development are operationalized, namely continuous trainingand career management. Descriptive analysis of the data shows that the level of relevance of these practices is quite low in the Cameroonian education system. Furthermore, the simple linear regression under SPSS 23 reveals that continuous training and career management have a significant influence on the social performance of teachers. These results discussed from the perspective of Arcand et al. (2004), Aït Razouk and Bayad (2011), Grensing-Pophal (2003) and Noah (2017), suggest that a better continuous training policy as well as a more equitable and objective management of teachers' careers are essential for their satisfaction and commitment to work. To this end, a structuring of career management based on continuous training is proposed.
    Abstract: L'enseignant occupe une place prépondérante dans la formation, le développement et l'insertion socioprofessionnelle de l'individu. Le succès de sa mission dépend fortement de sa performance sociale, dont la satisfaction et l'engagement au travail figurent parmi les dimensions les plus usitées dans la littérature (Kutche, 2019). Cet article vise à analyser les effets des pratiques de développement des ressources humaines sur la performance sociale des enseignants du secondaire public au Cameroun. Pour y parvenir, une démarche quantitative conduite à laide dun questionnaire soumis à un échantillon aléatoire simple de 426 enseignants a été utilisée. L'analyse descriptive des données montre que le niveau de pertinence des pratiques de développement des RH est assez faible dans le système éducatif camerounais. Par ailleurs, la régression linéaire sous SPSS 23 a révélé que les pratiques relatives à la formation et la gestion des carrières ont une influence significative sur la performance sociale des enseignants. Ces résultats discutés dans la perspective d'Arcand et al. (2004), d'Aït Razouk et Bayad (2011), de Grensing-Pophal (2003) et Noah (2017), suggèrent qu'une meilleure politique de formation ainsi qu'une gestion plus équitable et objective des carrières des enseignants sont indispensables pour leur performance sociale.
    Keywords: Job satisfaction,Work commitment,Career management,Continuous training,Social performance,HR development,Satisfaction au travail,Performance sociale de l'entreprise,Engagement au travail,Formation continue,Gestion des carrières
    Date: 2020–06–06
  10. By: Hui Jin; La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul; Baoping Shang
    Abstract: This paper, using Moldova as an example, presents a systematic approach to assess the efficiency and equity of public education spending, identify sources of inefficiencies and inequality, and formulate potential reform options. The analytical framework combines international benchmarking with country-specific analysis—such as microeconomic analysis based on household survey data—and can provide important insights into diagnosing and reforming education systems. The analysis finds significant scope to improve both efficiency and equity of the education sector in Moldova. Potential reform measures include further consolidating the oversized school network, reducing overstaffing, and better targeting government subsidies. The current remuneration policy could also be improved to attract high quality teachers and incentivize performance.
    Keywords: Education spending;Public expenditures and education;Social safety nets;Unemployment;Expenditure efficiency;public education spending,spending efficiency,inequality,education reform,education spend,non-teaching staff,education outcome,non-teaching,education sector
    Date: 2019–02–26
  11. By: Aue, Robert; Klein, Thilo; Ortega, Josué
    Abstract: We study the welfare effects of school district consolidation, i.e. the integration of disjoint school districts into a centralised clearinghouse. We show theoretically that, in the worst-case scenario, district consolidation may unambiguously reduce students' welfare, even if the student-optimal stable matching is consistently chosen. However, on average all students experience expected welfare gains from district consolidation, particularly those who belong to smaller and over-demanded districts. Using data from the Hungarian secondary school assignment mechanism, we compute the actual welfare gains from district consolidation in Budapest and compare these to our theoretical predictions. We empirically document substantial welfare gains from district consolidation for students, equivalent to attending a school five kilometres closer to the students' home addresses. As an important building block of our empirical strategy, we describe a method to consistently estimate students' preferences over schools and vice versa that does not fully assume that students report their preferences truthfully in the student-proposing deferred acceptance algorithm.
    Keywords: school district consolidation,integration of matching markets,preference estimation without truth-telling
    JEL: C78 I21
    Date: 2020
  12. By: Thomas Buser (University of Amsterdam); Muriel Niederle (Stanford University); Hessel Oosterbeek (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: We assess the predictive power of two measures of competitiveness for education and labor market outcomes using a large, representative survey panel. The first is incentivized and is an online adaptation of the laboratory-based Niederle-Vesterlund measure. The second is an unincentivized survey question eliciting general competitiveness on an 11-point scale. Both measures are strong and consistent predictors of income, occupation, completed level of education and field of study. The predictive power of the new unincentivized measure for these outcomes is robust to controlling for other traits, including risk attitudes, confidence and the Big Five personality traits. For most outcomes, the predictive power of competitiveness exceeds that of the other traits. Gender differences in competitiveness can explain 5-10 percent of the observed gender differences in education and labor market outcomes.
    Keywords: competitiveness, career decisions, validated survey measures
    JEL: C9 I20 J24 J16
    Date: 2020–08–11
  13. By: Di Tommaso, Maria Laura; Contini, Dalit; De Rosa, Dalila; Piazzalunga, Daniela (University of Turin)
    Abstract: We design an innovative teaching method that aims to narrow the Gender Gap in Mathematics (GGM) in primary school and we evaluate its impact in grade 3 in Italy. The teaching methodology consists of 15 hours of math laboratories, which focus on peer interaction, sharing of ideas, students’ engagement, problem solving, and problem posing. The causal effect is evaluated using a randomized controlled trial, conducted in the province of Torino, involving 50 third grade classes in 25 schools, and 1044 students. The treatment significantly improves math performance for girls (0.15 s.d.), with no impact on boys, contributing to reduce the gender gap in math by 39.5-46.2%. The results indicate that properly designed innovative methodologies have the potential to reduce the gender gap in math and call for further research on the role of teaching methodologies on math learning.
    Date: 2020–07

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