nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒10‒26
twelve papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Expected (Signaling) Value of Higher Education By Laura Ehrmantraut; Pia Pinger; Renske Stans
  2. State Investment in Higher Education: Effects on Human Capital Formation, Student Debt, and Long-Term Financial Outcomes of Students By Rajashri Chakrabarti; Nicole Gorton; Michael F. Lovenheim
  3. The effects of parental involvement in homework. Two randomised controlled trials in financial education By Joana Elisa Maldonado; Kristof De Witte; Koen Declercq
  4. A researcher’s guide to the Swedish compulsory school reform By Holmlund, Helena
  5. Moving Opportunities: The Impact of Public Housing Re-generations on Student Achievement By Lorenzo Neri
  6. What skills do employers seek in graduates?: Using online job posting data to support policy and practice in higher education By Nora Brüning; Patricia Mangeol
  7. Accounting for the International Quantity-Quality Trade-Off By Cordoba, Juan Carlos; Liu, Xiying; Ripoll, Marla
  8. The effects of digital literacy and information literacy on the intention to use digital technologies for learning - A comparative study in Korea and Finland By Jang, Moonkyoung; Aavakare, Milla; Kim, Seongcheol; Nikou, Shahrokh
  9. Introducing CogX: A New Preschool Education Program Combining Parent and Child Interventions By Roland Fryer; Steven Levitt; John List; Anya Samek
  10. Skill Formation, Temporary Disadvantage and Elite Education By Per Hjertstrand; Pehr-Johan Norbäck; Lars Persson
  11. A tool to capture learning experiences during Covid-19: The PISA Global Crises Questionnaire Module By Jonas Bertling; Nathaniel Rojas; Jan Alegre; Katie Faherty
  12. Productivity Versus Motivation in Adolescent Human Capital Production: Evidence from a Structurally-Motivated Field Experiment By Christopher Cotton; Brent Hickman; John List; Joseph Price; Sutanuka Roy

  1. By: Laura Ehrmantraut; Pia Pinger; Renske Stans
    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 elicit counterfactual labor market expectations for the hypothetical scenarios of leaving university with or without a degree certificate among a large and diverse sample of students at different stages of higher education. 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, employer learning
    JEL: I21 I23 I26 J24 J31 J32 J44
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Rajashri Chakrabarti; Nicole Gorton; Michael F. Lovenheim
    Abstract: Most public colleges and universities rely heavily on state financial support. As state budgets have tightened in recent decades, appropriations for higher education have declined substantially. Despite concerns expressed by policymakers and scholars that the declines in state support have reduced the return to education investment for public sector students, little evidence exists that can identify the causal effect of these funds on long-run outcomes. We present the first such analysis in the literature using new data that leverages the merger of two rich datasets: consumer credit records from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) sourced from Equifax and administrative college enrollment and attainment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. We overcome identification concerns related to the endogeneity of state appropriation variation using an instrument that interacts the baseline share of total revenue that comes from state appropriations at each public institution with yearly variation in state-level appropriations. Our analysis is conducted separately for two-year and four-year students, and we analyze individuals into their mid-30s. For four-year students, we find that state appropriation increases lead to substantially lower student debt originations. They also react to appropriation increases by shortening their time to degree, but we find little effect on other outcomes. In the two-year sector, state appropriation increases lead to more collegiate and post-collegiate educational attainment, more educational debt consistent with the increased educational attainment, but lower likelihood of delinquency and default. State support also leads to more car and home ownership with lower adverse debt outcomes, and these students experience substantial increases in their credit score and in the affluence of the neighborhood in which they live.
    Keywords: postsecondary education, state appropriations, student loans, returns to education
    JEL: I20 H72 H75
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Joana Elisa Maldonado; Kristof De Witte; Koen Declercq
    Abstract: Based on two randomised controlled trials with a total of 2,779 students from grade 8 and 9 in Flanders, we provide causal evidence on the effects of parental involvement on students’ learning in a financial education course. Using an experimental design with three treatment groups, the impact of parental involvement in homework is distinguished from the standalone impact of the classroom intervention and homework itself. Intention-to-treat analysis reveals that the intervention effectively improves students’ knowledge and behaviour. The classroom intervention used in conjugation with a homework assignment that the students complete with the help of their parents increases financial literacy scores by 0.37 standard deviations. On average, the added value of involving parents in homework is not significant, but involving parents has significant positive effects on behaviour for disadvantaged students. As a potential underlying mechanism it is observed that the parental involvement intervention significantly increases family communication between students and parents about the course topics.
    Keywords: Financial Literacy; Parental Involvement; Randomised Controlled Trial; Education
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Holmlund, Helena (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)
    Abstract: This paper demonstrates how a natural experiment in education can be used to estimate causal effects. The Swedish compulsory school reform extended basic education gradually across cohorts and municipalities, allowing for a difference-in-differences analysis. The paper summarizes the literature using this reform and shows that it provided individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds with better opportunities in life. Not only did they attain higher levels of education – they also earned higher earnings, were less likely to participate in crime, and more likely to run for office.
    Keywords: education reform; natural experiment
    JEL: I24 I26 I28
    Date: 2020–10–02
  5. By: Lorenzo Neri (Queen Mary University of London)
    Abstract: Neighbourhoods can considerably affect children’s future outcomes, but the forces through which they operate are not well understood yet. I study how local schools affect the educational achievement of low-income students when their neighbourhood changes as a result of an inflow of more affluent households. I use public housing regenerations in London as a natural experiment which caused little displacement of local families and changed the composition of more deprived neighbourhoods. I built a novel database by geocoding all regenerations and linking them to administrative records on primary school-age students. I compare the achievement of students in schools of the same neighbourhood but located at different distances from the regeneration before and after its completion, and estimate the impact on students who were originally enrolled in local schools before completion. Such students have higher test scores at the end of primary school after the regeneration. Gains are stronger for more disadvantaged and low-ability students. The empirical evidence suggests that such gains are driven by changes in the demand for schools due to the inflow of more affluent parents with strong preferences for school quality.
    Keywords: Neighbourhood effects, Public housing programs, Student achievement
    JEL: I21 I38 R23
    Date: 2020–06–12
  6. By: Nora Brüning (OECD); Patricia Mangeol (OECD)
    Abstract: Employers increasingly reach job seekers through online job postings, particularly for jobs requiring a higher education qualification. Job postings available online provide a rich source of real-time and detailed data on the qualifications and skills sought by employers across industries, occupations and locations. Using a sample of over 9 million job postings in four US states (Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington), this paper explores three questions. How does employer demand for graduate skills vary geographically, within and among occupations? For graduates in a general study field without a dedicated career vocational pathway, like sociology, what occupational clusters show evidence of employer demand, and what skills are sought? Given the high demand in the field of information and communications technology (ICT), are employers looking for ICT specialists open to hiring graduates from study fields other than ICT?We find evidence of variation in occupational demand, and to some extent in skill demand, within occupational clusters across the four states. We identify three occupational clusters where sociology graduates are in most demand, with distinct skill profiles. We also find that, when filling ICT positions, a notable share of employers considers recruiting graduates from other fields of study while requiring those graduates have the right technical transferable skills.Job posting data, we conclude, hold promise to complement existing labour market information systems and aid educators and policy makers in aligning labour demand and educational offerings. If analysed and disseminated effectively, such data could also assist students and workers in making learning and career decisions, for instance by identifying opportunities to build their own non-traditional path into high-demand, high-paying ICT occupations.
    Date: 2020–10–13
  7. By: Cordoba, Juan Carlos; Liu, Xiying; Ripoll, Marla
    Abstract: We investigate what accounts for the observed international differences in schooling and fertil- ity, and draw lessons for the underlying sources of cross-country income differences. For this purpose, we extend a life-cycle dynastic model to include features relevant for schooling and fertility choices. Our approach allows for country-specific human capital technologies in addi- tion to differences in TFP, public education policies, and demographic factors. We find that differences in human capital production functions, specifically in the degree of complementarity of educational investments, are key to match schooling data, and result in novel estimates of human capital stocks and TFP levels. According to the model, differences in TFP, public edu- cation spending per pupil and retiree survival rates are the most important factors explaining the international dispersion of fertility. Differences in the number of years of public education provision and working-age survival rates are key determinants of the schooling dispersion. Our model suggests that human capital policies are key for development.
    Date: 2019–01–31
  8. By: Jang, Moonkyoung; Aavakare, Milla; Kim, Seongcheol; Nikou, Shahrokh
    Abstract: Digitalisation impacts in the higher education environment and specifically on using digital technologies for learning purposes has increasingly changed such activities. In an informationbased society, where individuals are overloaded with the sheer amount of information and digital tools and devices, literacy skills of an individual play an important role in how activities are being executed. In this paper, we aim to investigate how information and digital literacy of university students impact their decisions to use digital technology for learning. As such, an extension of the UTAUT model is applied on a dataset comprising of 194 and 192 young Korean and Finnish people in their 20s and 30s. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) results show distinct differences between young Korean and Finnish people in multiple path relationships. For example, while digital literacy has no direct impact on the intention to use technology for learning for Finnish people, this path is significant for the Korean people. Based on this, recommendations for prospect research in adopting the proposed model are outlined and theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Roland Fryer; Steven Levitt; John List; Anya Samek
    Abstract: We present the results of a novel early childhood intervention in which disadvantaged 3-4-year-old children were randomized to receive a new preschool and parents education program focused on cognitive and non-cognitive skills (CogX) or to a control group that did not receive preschool education. In addition to a typical academic year (9 month) program, we also evaluated a shortened summer version of the program (2 months) in which children were treated immediately prior to the start of Kindergarten. Both programs, including the shortened version, significantly improved cognitive test scores by about one quarter of a standard deviation relative to the control group at the end of the year. The shortened version of the program was equally as effective as the academic-year program because most of the gains in the academic-year program occurred within the first few months.
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Per Hjertstrand; Pehr-Johan Norbäck; Lars Persson
    Abstract: Elite skills have become crucial in today’s superstar economy. We develop a multi-period skill-formation model where we show that individuals with temporary disadvantages must exert greater effort to gain access to elite education. This “underdog-incentive effect” implies that “educated underdogs” obtain superior adult skills. We find support for this mechanism in soccer data: players born early in the year dominate youth soccer, but players born late (but not too late) in the year become the superstars. We also show that if young students discount the future “too much”, high requirements to elite education can increase expected life-time welfare for disadvantaged students.
    Keywords: skill formation, temporary disadvantage, elite education, soccer, underdog
    JEL: I20 J24 D90
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Jonas Bertling (Educational Testing Service); Nathaniel Rojas (Educational Testing Service); Jan Alegre (Educational Testing Service); Katie Faherty (Educational Testing Service)
    Abstract: The global spread of COVID-19 has led to unprecedented disruptions in schooling around the world that have animated increased interest among policymakers, educators, researchers and the general public in knowing about how education systems have responded to the pandemic and how students’ learning experiences have changed. The PISA Global Crises Module was developed to address this need. 62 student questionnaire items (grouped into 11 questions) and 68 school questionnaire items (grouped into 14 questions) were developed following a process that involved input from leading questionnaire development experts, PISA National Centres, as well as small-scale cognitive interview studies in three countries. While all countries were affected by the pandemic in some way, the module seeks to illuminate differential effects on student learning and well-being, and the degree of interruption or changes to education across different education systems. Governing bodies, organisations and researchers can use the instruments and the descriptions of the underlying constructs for adaptation and broader implementation.
    Date: 2020–10–14
  12. By: Christopher Cotton; Brent Hickman; John List; Joseph Price; Sutanuka Roy
    Abstract: We leverage a field experiment across three distinct school districts to identify key pieces of a structural model of adolescent human capital production. Out focus is inspired by the contemporary psychology of education literature, which expresses learning as a function of the ratio of the time spent on learning to the time needed to learn. By capturing two crucial student-level unobservables- which we denote as academic efficiency (turning inputs into outputs) and time preference (motivation)- our field experiment lends insights into the underpinnings of adolescent skill formation and provides a novel view of how to lessen racial and gender achievement gaps. One general insight is that students who are falling behind their peers, whether correlated to race, gender, or school district, are doing so because of academic efficiency rather than time preference. We view this result, and others found in our data, as fundamental to practitioners, academics, and policymakers interested in designing strategies to provide equal opportunities to students.
    Date: 2020

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