nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒10‒05
fourteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. School Discipline across Countries: Theory, Measurement and Effect By Gruber, Noam
  2. Is There a Link between BMI and Adolescents' Educational Choices and Expectations? By Diaz-Serrano, Luis; Stoyanova, Alexandrina P.
  3. Tuition Fees and Educational Attainment By Jan Bietenbeck; Jan Marcus; Felix Weinhardt
  4. The Expected (Signaling) Value of Higher Education By Laura Ehrmantraut; Pia Pinger; Renske Stans
  5. Long-Term Effects of Free Primary Education on Educational Achievement : Evidence from Lesotho By Moshoeshoe,Ramaele Elias
  6. Do girls choose science when exposed to female science teachers? By Aalto, Aino-Maija
  8. Factors that affect Students’ performance in Science: An application using Gini-BMA methodology in PISA 2015 dataset By Anastasia Dimiski
  9. Educational aspirations and decision-making in a context of poverty. A test of rational choice models in El Salvador By Jakob, Martina; Combet, Benita
  10. The Effect of Computer Assisted Learning on Children's Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Cambodia By NAKAMURO Makiko; ITO Hirotake
  11. School disruption and pupil academic outcomes – evidence from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in England By Cook, Will
  12. Teacher Performance-Based Incentives and Learning Inequality By Filmer,Deon P.; Habyarimana,James Paul; Sabarwal,Shwetlena
  13. Teacher Allocation and School Performance in Italy By Bryson, Alex; Corsini, Lorenzo; Martelli, Irene
  14. Aspirations, Poverty and Education: Evidence from India By Serneels, Pieter; Dercon, Stefan

  1. By: Gruber, Noam
    Abstract: Using PISA truancy and tardiness data to generate estimates of school discipline comparable across countries, this paper finds a strong relation between both individual and school-level discipline and student performance. Furthermore, the data shows that the effect of discipline grows with class size, so that students in large classes can benefit the most from an atmosphere of discipline. This finding explains how Asian education systems in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong-Kong and Singapore are top performers in international student achievement tests while having exceptionally large classes. It also implies that some Western countries, enjoying high levels of discipline but opting for small classes, are inefficient in the use of their educational resources, leading to sub-optimal results by their students.
    Keywords: Education, PISA, International Tests, Discipline, Tardiness, Punctuality, Truancy, Class Size
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2020–09–01
  2. By: Diaz-Serrano, Luis (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Stoyanova, Alexandrina P. (University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: One of the most claimed links in the health and education literature is that education prevents from the risk of overweight, and the negative link between education and BMI is up to now out of questioning. More educated adults tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and a lower risk of overweight and obesity. However, recent literature started questioning the mechanism behind this education gradient in BMI. A more recent and alternative explanation is that the BMI-education gradient hides a selection mechanism, which makes adolescents with higher BMI are less likely to plan for, attend, and complete higher levels of education. In this paper we test for the selection mechanism behind the link between education and BMI by estimating the impact of adolescents' BMI on medium-long-term educational expectations and short-term school choices, while controlling for the potential endogeneity of BMI. Our IV estimates indicate that individuals with higher BMI have lower academic aspirations and are less likely to attend high school after finishing compulsory education, which is a pre-condition of the intentions to go college. These results support the selection (reverse causality) mechanism.
    Keywords: students' expectations, BMI, overweight, school choices, university, educational achievement
    JEL: I24 I29
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: Jan Bietenbeck; Jan Marcus; Felix Weinhardt
    Abstract: Following a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court in 2005, more than half of Germany’s universities started charging tuition fees, which also applied to incumbent students. We exploit this unusual lack of grandfathering together with register data covering the universe of students to show that tuition fees increased degree completion among incumbent students. Investigating mechanisms, we do not find that educational quality changed but that incumbent students raised their study effort. In line with previous international evidence, we also find that tuition fees decreased university enrollment among high school graduates. Combining our results, we show that tuition fees did not change overall educational attainment much because the positive effect on degree completion offset the negative effect on enrollment. We conclude by discussing policies to increase overall attainment, which take into account the opposing effects of fees around the zero-price margin.
    Keywords: tuition fees, higher education
    JEL: I23 I22 I28
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Laura Ehrmantraut (University of Bonn); Pia Pinger (University of Cologne and briq); Renske Stans (Erasmus University)
    Abstract: This paper explores students' expectations about the returns to completing higher education and provides first evidence on perceived signaling and human capital effects. We conducted a survey among a large and diverse sample of students at different stages of higher education to elicit counterfactual labor market expectations for the hypothetical scenarios of leaving university with or without a degree certificate. Our findings indicate substantial perceived returns to higher education. Moreover, using within-individual fixed effects models, we document substantial expected labor market returns from signaling, whereas perceived productivity-enhancing (human capital) returns seem to be less pronounced. Over the expected course of career, we find lasting education premia as well as evidence consistent with employer learning.
    Keywords: higher education, returns to education, signaling, educational attainment, licensing
    JEL: I21 I23 I26 J24 J31 J44 J32
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Moshoeshoe,Ramaele Elias
    Abstract: Many Sub-Saharan African countries have instituted free primary education policies, and this has led to a significant increase in the primary school enrollment rate. However, many children who are in school are not learning. It is not clear whether free primary education policies have contributed to the decline in the quality of education and whether these learning effects are long-lasting. This paper addresses the latter question and estimates the long-term effects of free primary education on educational achievement in Lesotho where the program was phased-in on a grade-by-grade basis, beginning with grade one in 2000. The timing of the implementation created changes in program coverage across age (and grade) groups over time. A semiparametric difference-in-differences strategy is employed that exploits these variations to identify the long-term effects of the free primary education policy on educational achievement, using university examinations records data for student cohorts with and without free primary education. The results indicate that the effect of free primary education on academic performance is bounded between 2 and 19 percentage points, implying that the program increased enrollment without hurting education quality.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Primary Education,Gender and Development,Secondary Education
    Date: 2020–09–21
  6. By: Aalto, Aino-Maija (SOFI, Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University.)
    Abstract: Same-gender teachers may affect educational preferences by acting as role models for their students. I study the importance of the gender composition of teachers in mathematics and science in lower secondary schools on the likelihood of continuing on math-intensive tracks in the next levels of education. I use population wide register data from Sweden and control for family fixed effects to account for sorting into schools. According to my results, if the share of female science teachers is increased from none to all, there is, if at all, only a slight positive effect on the likelihood of girls completing a STEM track at upper secondary school, while the probability of completing a math-intensive degree at university increases by 26 percent. There is no positive impact on the performance of students by the higher share of female science teachers. As only the likelihood of choosing science is affected, these results suggest that the effects indeed arise because female teachers of these subjects serve as role models for female students. However, compared to earlier studies, the effects found are very modest.
    Keywords: Role models; gender segregation; human capital; STEM
    JEL: J16 J24
    Date: 2020–08–27
  7. By: Stanislav Avdeev (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Although many papers estimate returns to education, little causal evidence has been found for low- and middle-income countries. This paper estimates the causal effect of one year of university education on wages and employment in Russia. In 2011, the Bologna reform shortened the university study period by one year and reduced the content of the curricula but did not change the quality of admitted students. I exploit this reform as a natural experiment and use a difference-in-differences design. I find no adverse effect of a one-year reduction on wages and on the probability of being employed. This suggests that the reform lowered the opportunity costs of education but did not affect the accumulation of specific skills relevant for the labour market.
    Keywords: difference-in-differences, returns to education, human capital, higher education, employment, wages, Bologna reform, Russia
    JEL: I23 I26 J24
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Anastasia Dimiski (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Guelph, Guelph ON Canada)
    Abstract: Existing theoretical and empirical evidence on the determinants of students’ performance is relatively short. Even more narrow is the literature that examines the impact of pre-primary education on students’ academic performance. Relying on the first-of-its-kind of the 2015 wave data from the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA), the present study thoroughly discusses the associations between Students’ performance in Science and a set of variables that are classified into 14 categories, including attendance and non-attendance in pre-primary education. To implement this research question, Gini-BMA approach is employed, which accounts for theory uncertainty. It is found that, among the factors, attendance in pre-primary education (i.e. PC11) is a robust determinant of students’ performance in science. However, this result is supported only under the Gini methodology.
    Keywords: students’ performance, pre-primary education, Gini regression coefficient, BMA methodology, PISA.
    JEL: C11 C38 I21 J24
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Jakob, Martina; Combet, Benita
    Abstract: Previous research on educational aspirations and educational decision-making has mostly focused on high-income countries and thus on a relatively homogeneous socio-economic context. However, educational decision-making may be sensitive to contextual factors such as economic deprivation, a dysfunctional welfare state or poor access to credit markets – characteristics shared by most low- and middle-income countries. To better understand how economically disadvantaged individuals in developing countries make their educational choices, we conducted a survey based on a random sample with high school students in the rural department Morazán in El Salvador, a lower middle-income country in Latin America. Our results show that regardless of the social background, almost all students aspire to pursue tertiary education, probably due to the high tertiary degree premium in earnings and the high social benefits. However, the lack of possibilities to finance their studies generally prevents the realisation of these aspirations for lower social background students. While in high-income countries, cost factors are not very important in the decision-making process, the burden of costs explains around 45 percent of the social background effect in El Salvador. Other factors such as academic confidence, expected future economic benefits, parental status maintenance wish, individual risk aversion and time discounting preferences play only a minor role.
    Date: 2020–03–02
  10. By: NAKAMURO Makiko; ITO Hirotake
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal effects of computer-assisted learning on children's cognitive and noncognitive skills. We ran school-by-grade-level clustered randomized controlled trials at five public elementary schools in Cambodia. After confirming that the IQ scores of treated students significantly improved over just three months, we randomly reassigned those students either into treatment or control groups for an additional seven-month comparison. We find that students retain their cognitive skills during the additional seven-month treatment, but the initial gain diminishes for students who leave the program. Conversely, a meaningful effect on noncognitive skills is not detected immediately after the first three-month short-run program, but the effect appears to become significant and persists in the longer run.
    Date: 2020–09
  11. By: Cook, Will
    Abstract: The Covid-19 crisis has led to disruption to schooling across the world. Though it is recognized that pupils are suffering immediate learning loss, there exists a lack of understanding as to how this disruption might affect longer-term educational outcomes. This study considers this issue by examining the effect of school disruption in England due to restrictions put in place to manage the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in cattle in 2001. Using a difference in difference approach, I analyze whether primary schools that had been significantly disrupted by the epidemic experienced lower performance in standardized tests in English, maths and science for 11 year olds in the year of the outbreak and in subsequent years. I find that primary schools that had been significantly disrupted by the measures to contain the epidemic exhibited achievement falls in the year immediately after the outbreak, driven by sizeable falls in maths performance. The negative effects weaken in subsequent years suggesting that the effects of school disruption may fade out as cohorts progress through schooling.
    Keywords: Covid, school disruption
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2020–07–22
  12. By: Filmer,Deon P.; Habyarimana,James Paul; Sabarwal,Shwetlena
    Abstract: This study evaluates the impacts of low-cost, performance-based incentives in Tanzanian secondary schools. Results from a two-phase randomized trial show that incentives for teachers led to modest average improvements in student achievement across different subjects. Further, withdrawing incentives did not lead to a"discouragement effect"(once incentives were withdrawn, student performance did not fall below pre-baseline levels). Rather, impacts on learning were sustained beyond the intervention period. However, these incentives may have exacerbated learning inequality within and across schools. Increases in learning were concentrated among initially better-performing schools and students. At the same time, learning outcomes may have decreased for schools and students that were lower performing at baseline. Finally, the study finds that incentivizing students without simultaneously incentivizing teachers did not produce observable learning gains.
    Keywords: Effective Schools and Teachers,Educational Institutions&Facilities,Educational Sciences,Public Sector Administrative&Civil Service Reform,De Facto Governments,Public Sector Administrative and Civil Service Reform,Administrative&Civil Service Reform,Democratic Government
    Date: 2020–09–08
  13. By: Bryson, Alex (University College London); Corsini, Lorenzo (University of Pisa); Martelli, Irene (Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies)
    Abstract: Italy's secondary school system has faced funding constraints for many years which limits availability of new permanent job slots for teachers. When permanent posts do arise they are allocated mostly on seniority while merit only plays a small role. Thus, the age distribution of teachers in schools reflects older teachers' preferences which include the amenity of being close to urban centres. Using schools' distance from main urban centres and population size in the school's vicinity to instrument for non-random exposure of schools to older teachers, we show older teachers are detrimental to pupil attainment in secondary schools. The effect is large: a six-year increase in the average age of teachers (roughly similar to the increase that has occurred in the last 20 years) leads to a one standard deviation reduction in the mean graduation mark. The findings suggest there may be value in altering the way teachers are allocated to secondary schools in Italy.
    Keywords: pupil attainment, school performance, teacher allocation, teacher age, permanent contracts
    JEL: J41 J44 J45 J48 J62 M51 M55
    Date: 2020–09
  14. By: Serneels, Pieter (University of East Anglia); Dercon, Stefan (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether aspirations matter for education, which offers a common route out of poverty. We find that mother aspirations are strongly related to the child's grade achieved at age 18. The relation is nonlinear, suggesting there is a threshold, and depends on caste, household income and the village setting. The coefficients remain large and significant when applying control function estimation, using first born son as instrument. A similar strong relation is observed with learning outcomes, including local language, English and maths test results, and with attending school, but not with attending private education. These results are confirmed for outcomes at age 15. The findings provide direct evidence on the contribution of mother aspirations to children's education outcomes and point to aspirations as a channel of intergenerational mobility. They suggest that education outcomes can be improved more rapidly by taking aspirations into account when targeting education programmes, and through interventions that shape aspirations.
    Keywords: education, aspirations, poverty
    JEL: I25 I21 D03
    Date: 2020–09

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