nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
seventeen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Technology in the Classroom and Learning in Secondary Schools By Blimpo,Moussa Pouguinimpo; Gajigo,Ousman; Owusu,Solomon; Tomita,Ryoko; Xu,Yanbin
  2. Choosing Differently? College Application Behaviour and the Persistence of Educational Advantage By Judith M. Delaney; Paul J. Devereux
  3. The Effect of Mentoring on School Attendance and Academic Outcomes: A Randomized Evaluation of the Check & Connect Program By Jonathan Guryan; Sandra Christenson; Ashley Cureton; Ijun Lai; Jens Ludwig; Catherine Schwarz; Emma Shirey; Mary Clair Turner
  4. Fathers Matter: Intra-Household Responsibilities and Children's Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Lockdown in Italy By Mangiavacchi, Lucia; Piccoli, Luca; Pieroni, Luca
  5. Long-Run Returns to Field of Study in Secondary School By Dahl, Gordon B.; Rooth, Dan-Olof; Stenberg, Anders
  6. Speaking the same language: The effect of foreign origin teachers on students' language skills By Höckel, Lisa Sofie
  7. A Second Chance? Labor Market Returns to Adult Education Using School Reforms By Patrick Bennett; Richard Blundell; Kjell Salvanes
  8. School Choice Design, Risk Aversion, and Cardinal Segregation By Calsamiglia, Caterina; Martínez-Mora, Francisco; Miralles, Antonio
  9. Digital innovation in higher education: A questionnaire to Portuguese universities and polytechnic institutes By Paulo Nuno Vicente; Margarida Lucas; Vânia Carlos
  10. Marginal college wage premiums under selection into employment By Westphal, Matthias; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schmitz, Hendrik
  11. Taking It to the Limit: Effects of Increased Student Loan Availability on Attainment, Earnings, and Financial Well-Being By Sandra E. Black; Jeffrey T. Denning; Lisa J. Dettling; Sarena Goodman; Lesley J. Turner
  12. Family Disadvantage, Gender and the Returns to Genetic Human Capital By Ronda, Victor; Agerbo, Esben; Bleses, Dorthe; Mortensen, Preben Bo; Børglum, Anders; Hougaard, David M.; Mors, Ole; Nordentoft, Merete; Werge, Thomas; Rosholm, Michael
  13. Regulatory Arbitrage in Teacher Hiring and Retention: Evidence from Massachusetts Charter Schools By Jesse M. Bruhn; Scott A. Imberman; Marcus A. Winters
  14. Stuck at a Crossroads? The Duration of the Italian School-To-Work Transition By Pastore, Francesco; Quintano, Claudio; Rocca, Antonella
  15. Driven to Succeed? Teenagers' Drive, Ambition and Performance on High-Stakes Examinations By Jerrim, John; Shure, Nikki; Wyness, Gill
  16. Culture and Student Achievement: The Intertwined Roles of Patience and Risk-Taking By Hanushek, Eric A.; Kinne, Lavinia; Lergetporer, Philipp; Woessmann, Ludger
  17. Hard and Soft Skills in Vocational Training: Experimental Evidence from Colombia By Felipe Barrera-Osorio; Adriana D. Kugler; Mikko I. Silliman

  1. By: Blimpo,Moussa Pouguinimpo; Gajigo,Ousman; Owusu,Solomon; Tomita,Ryoko; Xu,Yanbin
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of a computer-assisted learning program on learning outcomes among high school students in The Gambia. The program uses innovative technologies and teaching approach to facilitate the teaching of mathematics and science. Since the pilot schools were not randomly chosen, the study first used administrative and survey data, including a written test, to build a credible counterfactual of comparable groups of control students. It used these data to conduct a pre-analysis plan prior to students taking the high-stakes certification exam. The study later used the certification exam data on the same students to replicate the results. The findings show that the program led to a 0.59 standard deviation gains in mathematics scores and an increase of 15 percentage points (a threefold increase) in the share of students who obtained credit in mathematics and English, a criterion for college admission in The Gambia. The impact is concentrated among high-achieving students at the baseline, irrespective of their gender or socioeconomic background.
    Keywords: Educational Institutions&Facilities,Effective Schools and Teachers,Educational Sciences,Energy Policies&Economics,Secondary Education,Gender and Development
    Date: 2020–06–22
  2. By: Judith M. Delaney; Paul J. Devereux
    Abstract: We use administrative data from Ireland to study differences in college application behaviour between students from disadvantaged versus advantaged high schools. Ireland provides an interesting laboratory for this analysis as applicants provide a preference-ordering of college programs (majors) and marginal applications are costless. Also, college admission depends almost completely on grades in the terminal high school examinations. Thus, we can compare the application choices of students who have equal chances of admission to college programs. Conditional on achievement and college opportunities, we find that students from advantaged high schools are more likely to apply to universities and to more selective college programs. They are also more likely to have preferences that cluster by program selectivity rather than by field of study. Our results suggest that, alongside differences in achievement, differences in college application behaviour also cause persons from advantaged high schools to be more likely to enrol in selective colleges and enter more selective programs. Importantly, we find that enrolment gaps for equally qualified applicants are smaller than differences in application behaviour; the relatively meritocratic centralised admissions system based on achievement undoes much of the effect of the differences in application behaviour.
    Keywords: Centralised admissions system; College applications; College major choice; Educational mismatch; Higher education
    JEL: I24 J24
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: Jonathan Guryan; Sandra Christenson; Ashley Cureton; Ijun Lai; Jens Ludwig; Catherine Schwarz; Emma Shirey; Mary Clair Turner
    Abstract: In response to budget problems, many urban school systems reduced resources for getting students to come to school, like truancy officers. Chicago, for instance, went from 150 truancy officers down to, in 1991, a total of zero. Is that a good idea? We explore here the effects of increased support by a pro-social adult, or “social capital,” delivered through a structured student monitoring and mentoring program called Check & Connect (C&C). We carried out a large-scale randomized controlled trial with C&C in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to students in grades 1-8. Program participation decreased absences in grades 5-7 by 4.2 days, or 22.9 percent, but with no detectable effects on students in grades 1-4. We also did not find statistically significant effects on learning outcomes such as test scores or GPA, or any detectable spillovers to other students within the schools where the program was administered. The modest impacts per dollar spent, compared to previous evidence on either low-cost "nudges" or relatively intensive, higher-cost interventions, raise the possibility that, for very disadvantaged students, there may be decreasing but then increasing returns to program intensity for the problem of student disengagement.
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Mangiavacchi, Lucia; Piccoli, Luca; Pieroni, Luca (University of Perugia)
    Abstract: The lockdown declared during the Spring 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak caused a reallocation of market and household work. A the same time school closures in many countries impacted on children's lives and their learning process. In Italy, schools and nurseries have been closed during three months and the incidence and quality of distant learning activities has been hetero-geneous over education levels and among schools. Using a real time survey data collected in April 2020 on children's wellbeing, and parents' market and household work, we estimate how the reallocation of intra-household responsibilities during the lock-down has affected children's use of time, their emotional status and their home learning. We find that changes in the parental division of household tasks and childcare are mostly due to the labor market restrictions imposed during the lockdown and that this reallocation increases fathers involvement in childcare and homeschooling. This positive variation in fathers involvement is accompanied by an increase in children's emotional wellbeing while the quality of children's home learning is mostly determined by distant learning activities proposed by their teachers.
    Keywords: parenting, childcare, children's education, emotional skills, COVID-19
    JEL: I21 I24 J13 J16
    Date: 2020–07
  5. By: Dahl, Gordon B. (University of California, San Diego); Rooth, Dan-Olof (Stockholm University); Stenberg, Anders (SOFI, Stockholm University)
    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.
    Keywords: field of study, secondary education, comparative advantage
    JEL: I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2020–07
  6. By: Höckel, Lisa Sofie
    Abstract: This study investigates whether foreign origin teachers causally affect their students language skills in secondary school. Exploring within-student variation in assignment to teachers, I find that teachers who are immigrants or descendants of immigrants significantly increase the reading comprehension of students. The effect is strongest for foreign origin students and can partly be explained by a role model effect. The positive effect of bilingual foreign origin teachers is particularly large. They significantly increase reading comprehension for native and foreign origin students. Given their own experience in language learning, bilingual teachers seem exceptionally well-equipped in teaching languages to both native and foreign origin students.
    Keywords: academic achievement,education economics,language skills,matching,migration,role model effect,teacher bias effect
    JEL: J13 J15 I24
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Patrick Bennett (Norwegian School of Economics); Richard Blundell (University College London); Kjell Salvanes (Norges Handelshøyskole)
    Abstract: Roughly one third of a cohort drop out of high school across OECD countries, and developing effective tools to address prime-aged high school dropouts is a key policy question. We leverage high quality Norwegian register data, and for identification we exploit reforms enabling access to high school for adults above the age of 25. The paper finds that considerable increases in high school completion and beyond among women lead to higher earnings, increased employment, and decreased fertility. As male education remains unchanged by the reforms, later life education reduces the pre-existing gender earnings gap by a considerable fraction.
    Keywords: adult education, returns to education, fertility, gender inequality
    JEL: I26 I28 J13
    Date: 2020–08
  8. By: Calsamiglia, Caterina (IPEG); Martínez-Mora, Francisco (University of Leicester); Miralles, Antonio (University of Messina)
    Abstract: We embed the problem of public school choice design in a model of local provision of education. We define cardinal (student) segregation as that emerging when families with identical ordinal preferences submit different rankings of schools in a centralised school choice procedure. With the Boston Mechanism (BM), when higher types are less risk-averse, and there is sufficient vertical differentiation of schools, any equilibrium presents cardinal segregation. Transportation costs facilitate the emergence of cardinal segregation as does competition from private schools. Furthermore, the latter renders the best public schools more elitist. The Deferred Acceptance mechanism is resilient to cardinal segregation.
    Keywords: school choice mechanisms, cardinal segregation, segregation, peer effects, local public goods
    JEL: I21 H4 D78
    Date: 2020–07
  9. By: Paulo Nuno Vicente; Margarida Lucas; Vânia Carlos
    Abstract: Over the past decade, the societal impact of digital transformation, with the prospects of a Fourth Industrial revolution, has led to an innovation imperative in European policymaking regarding Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This article examines Portuguese universities and polytechnic institutes, the two components of the national higher education system, in order to (1) characterize digital infrastructure, networks and equipment availability (hardware and software), (2) describe the self-reported digital practices among Portuguese HEIs’ faculty members, and (3) verify the alignment between faculty members’ digital practices, teaching environment and European recommendations for digital education. The study, descriptive in nature, conducts the most comprehensive online questionnaire available to date on digital innovation in Portuguese HEIs (N=547). The main constraints to digital innovation in Portuguese higher education teaching are the limited infrastructure and resources, a conservative academic culture, a lack of funding opportunities, insufficient technological resources and technical support.
    Keywords: Digital innovation; Higher education; Infrastructure; Faculty; Digital practices
    JEL: I23
    Date: 2020–03
  10. By: Westphal, Matthias; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schmitz, Hendrik
    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
  11. By: Sandra E. Black; Jeffrey T. Denning; Lisa J. Dettling; Sarena Goodman; Lesley J. Turner
    Abstract: Growing reliance on student loans and repayment difficulties have raised concerns of a student debt crisis in the United States. However, little is known about the effects of student borrowing on human capital and long-run financial well-being. We use variation induced by recent expansions in federal loan limits, together with administrative schooling, earnings, and credit records, to identify the effects of increased student borrowing on credit-constrained students’ educational attainment, earnings, debt, and loan repayment. Increased student loan availability raises student debt and improves degree completion, later-life earnings, and student loan repayment while having no effect on homeownership or other types of debt.
    JEL: D14 H52 H81 I21 I22 I23 I26 I28 J24
    Date: 2020–08
  12. By: Ronda, Victor (Aarhus University); Agerbo, Esben (Aarhus University); Bleses, Dorthe (Aarhus University); Mortensen, Preben Bo (Aarhus University); Børglum, Anders (Aarhus University); Hougaard, David M. (Statens Serum Institut); Mors, Ole (Aarhus University); Nordentoft, Merete (Mental Health Centre Copenhagen); Werge, Thomas (Mental Health Centre Sct. Hans); Rosholm, Michael (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: This paper relies on a large-scale sample of genotyped individuals linked with detailed register data in Denmark to investigate the context-dependence of genetic influences on human capital formation. We show that the returns to genetic endowments, measured by a polygenic score for educational attainment, are significantly attenuated by childhood disadvantage. We replicate the findings in a within-family analysis, where we exploit exogenous genetic variation across siblings to control for unobserved family influences. We also explore gender differences in the context-dependence of genetic influences and find the attenuation effect of childhood disadvantage on educational attainment to be significantly stronger for males than for females. We show our findings extend to a representative sample of the Danish population. Our results highlight an important mechanism driving the persistence of disadvantage across generations. We show that children who experience childhood disadvantage are not able to fully realize their educational potential, even in the context of the generous Danish welfare-state.
    Keywords: family disadvantage, education, genomics, gene-environment interactions
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2020–07
  13. By: Jesse M. Bruhn; Scott A. Imberman; Marcus A. Winters
    Abstract: We study personnel flexibility in charter schools by exploring how teacher retention varies with teacher and school quality in Massachusetts. Charters are more likely to lose their highest and lowest value-added teachers. Low performers tend to exit public education, while high performers tend to switch to traditional public schools. To rationalize these findings, we propose a model in which educators with high fixed-costs use charter schools to explore teaching careers before obtaining licenses required for higher paying public sector jobs. The model suggests charter schools create positive externalities for traditional public schools by increasing the average quality of available teachers.
    JEL: I21 J45 M51
    Date: 2020–07
  14. By: Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli); Quintano, Claudio (Università degli Studi di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa); Rocca, Antonella (University of Naples Parthenope)
    Abstract: There is a long period from completing studies to finding a permanent or temporary (but at least satisfactory) job in all European countries, especially in Mediterranean countries, including Italy. This paper aims to study the determinants of this duration and measure them, for the first time in a systematic way, in the case of Italy. This paper provides several measures of duration, including education level and other criteria. Furthermore, it attempts to identify the main determinants of the long Italian transition, both at a macroeconomic and an individual level. It tests for omitted heterogeneity of those who are stuck at this important crossroads in their life within the context of parametric survival models. The average duration of the school-to-work transition for young people aged 18–34 years was 2.88 years (or 34.56 months) in 2017. A shorter duration was found for the highly educated; they found a job on average 46 months earlier than those with compulsory education. At a macroeconomic level, the duration over the years 2004–2017 was inversely related to spending in the labour market policy and in education, GDP growth, and the degree of trade-union density; however, it was directly related to the proportion of temporary contracts. At the individual level, being a woman, a migrant, or living in a densely populated area in the South are the risk factors for remaining stuck in the transition. After correcting for omitted heterogeneity, there is clear evidence of positive duration dependence. Positive duration dependence suggests that focusing on education and labour policy, rather than labour flexibility, is the best way to smooth the transition. This study develops our understanding of the Italian STWT regime by providing new and detailed evidence of its duration and by studying its determinants.
    Keywords: school-to-work transition, passive and active labour policy, survival models, positive duration dependence, Italy
    JEL: H52 I2 I24 J13 J24
    Date: 2020–07
  15. By: Jerrim, John (University College London); Shure, Nikki (University College London); Wyness, Gill (University College London)
    Abstract: There has been much interest across the social sciences in the link between young people's socioemotional (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 socioeconomic 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
  16. By: Hanushek, Eric A. (Stanford University); Kinne, Lavinia (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Lergetporer, Philipp (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Patience and risk-taking – two cultural traits that steer intertemporal decision-making – are fundamental to human capital investment decisions. To understand how they contribute to international differences in student achievement, we combine PISA tests with the Global Preference Survey. We find that opposing effects of patience (positive) and risk-taking (negative) together account for two-thirds of the cross-country variation in student achievement. In an identification strategy addressing unobserved residence-country features, we find similar results when assigning migrant students their country-of-origin cultural traits in models with residence-country fixed effects. Associations of culture with family and school inputs suggest that both may act as channels.
    Keywords: culture, patience, risk-taking, preferences, intertemporal decision-making, international student achievement, PISA
    JEL: I21 Z10
    Date: 2020–07
  17. By: Felipe Barrera-Osorio; Adriana D. Kugler; Mikko I. Silliman
    Abstract: We randomly assign applicants to over-subscribed programs to study the effects of teaching hard and soft skills in vocational training and examine their impacts on skills acquisition and labor market outcomes using both survey and administrative data. We find that providing vocational training that either emphasizes social or technical skills increases formal employment for both men and women. We also find that admission to a vocational program that emphasizes technical relative to social skills increases overall employment and also days and hours worked in the short term. Yet, emphasis on soft-skills training helps applicants increase employment and monthly wages over the longer term and allows them to catch up with those learning hard skills. Further, through a second round of randomization, we find that offering financial support for transportation and food increases the effectiveness of the program, indicating that resource constraints may be an obstacle for individuals considering vocational training.
    JEL: C21 I25 I26 J24 J60 O54
    Date: 2020–07

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