nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒11‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Did the Bologna Process Challenge the German Apprenticeship System? Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Thomsen, Stephan L.; Trunzer, Johannes
  2. Studying continuously during an university course – with experiences from the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 By Andrén, Daniela; Pettersson, Nicklas
  3. School Selectivity, Peers, and Mental Health By Bütikofer, Aline; Ginja, Rita; Landaud, Fanny; Loken, Katrine Vellesen
  4. Transitions from lower track secondary schools into vocational training: Does a detour pay off? By Hillerich-Sigg, Annette
  5. The Effect of the Community Eligibility Provision on the Ability of Free and Reduced-Price Meal Data to Identify Disadvantaged Students By Cory Koedel; Eric Parsons
  6. Biased Teachers and Gender Gap in Learning Outcomes: Evidence from India By Rakshit, Sonali; Sahoo, Soham
  7. Social Identity, Behavior, and Personality By Utteeyo Dasgupta; Subha Mani; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal
  8. School Re-Openings after Summer Breaks in Germany Did Not Increase SARS-CoV-2 Cases By Isphording, Ingo E.; Lipfert, Marc; Pestel, Nico
  9. Birth cohort size variation and the estimation of class size effects By Bach, Maximilian; Sievert, Stephan
  10. The Impact of Child Work on Cognitive Development: Results from Four Low to Middle Income Countries By Michael Keane; Sonya Krutikova; Timothy Neal
  11. Grandparents, Moms, or Dads? Why Children of Teen Mothers Do Worse in Life By Aizer, Anna; Devereux, Paul J.; Salvanes, Kjell G.
  12. Gender Differences in Tertiary Education: What Explains STEM Participation? By McNally, Sandra

  1. By: Thomsen, Stephan L. (Leibniz University of Hannover); Trunzer, Johannes (Leibniz University of Hannover)
    Abstract: Starting in 1999, the Bologna Process reformed the German five-year study system for a first degree into the three-year bachelor's (BA) system to harmonize study lengths in Europe and improve competitiveness. This reform unintentionally challenged the German apprenticeship system that offers three-year professional training for the majority of school leavers. Approximately 29% of new apprentices are university-eligible graduates from academic-track schools. We evaluate the effects of the Bologna reform on new highly educated apprentices using a generalized difference-in-differences design based on detailed administrative student and labor market data. Our estimates show that the average regional expansion in first-year BA students decreased the number of new highly educated apprentices by 3%–5%; average treatment effects on those indecisive at school graduation range between –18% and –29%. We reveal substantial gender and occupational heterogeneity: males in STEM apprenticeships experienced the strongest negative effects. The reform aggravated the skills shortage in the economy.
    Keywords: Bologna Process, post-secondary education decisions, apprenticeships, higher education
    JEL: I23 I28 J24
    Date: 2020–10
  2. By: Andrén, Daniela (Örebro University School of Business); Pettersson, Nicklas (Örebro University School of Business)
    Abstract: Online teaching and online learning have been studied for many years with focus on both the inputs and outputs, but seldom on outcomes such as the well-being of the students and/or teachers. Therefore, we already know that good outputs in forms of grades are strongly correlated with a clear and robust instructional design and planning, using a systematic model for design and development, but we still know very little about the well-being of the students and/or teachers. Our paper provides insights on the content and the functionalities of our sustainable educational approach (SEA) designed to both facilitate online learning and online collaboration and to motivate students to study and learn continuously, which proved to facilitate a smooth shift to online teaching and learning to stop the spreading of Coronavirus COVID-19 during Spring 2020. Using a sample of students registered for a course in elementary statistics during 2016-2020, we present empirical evidence for the positive short-term effects of using the SEA on the students’ grades and their individual well-being.
    Keywords: sustainable learning approach; student well-being; elementary statistics; Blackboard; COVID-19
    JEL: A22 I20 I21
    Date: 2020–10–19
  3. By: Bütikofer, Aline (Norwegian School of Economics); Ginja, Rita (University of Bergen); Landaud, Fanny (Norwegian School of Economics); Loken, Katrine Vellesen (Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: Although many students suffer from anxiety and depression, and students often identify school pressure and concerns about their futures as the main reasons for their worries, little is known about the consequences of a selective school environment on students' physical and mental health. In this paper, we draw on rich administrative data and the features of the high school assignment system in the largest Norwegian cities to consider the long-term consequences of enrollment in a more selective high school. Using a regression discontinuity analysis, we show that eligibility to enroll in a more selective high school increases the probability of enrollment in higher education and decreases the probability of diagnosis or treatment by a general medical practitioner for psychological symptoms and diseases. We further document that enrolling in a more selective high school has a greater positive impact when there are larger changes in the student–teacher ratio, teachers' age, and the proportion of female teachers. These findings suggest that changes in teacher characteristics are important for better understanding the effects of a more selective school environment.
    Keywords: selective high schools, higher education, health, mental health, peers
    JEL: I26 I12
    Date: 2020–10
  4. By: Hillerich-Sigg, Annette
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of alternative transition paths after grade 9 of German lower secondary school on vocational training. Using a selection-on-observables approach I show that a delayed transition into vocational training after lower track secondary school is not a disadvantage conditional on a successful transition into vocational training. Students benefit from continuing general schooling or attending vocational school compared to transitioning directly with regard to wages paid during vocational training as well as average wages, prestige, and socioeconomic status of the training occupation. This comes at the cost of a lower probability to match the training occupation with the reported desired occupation and being less satisfied with the vocational training. Participation in pre-vocational training does not lead to a different type of vocational training position than after a direct transition. However, those participants are less satisfied with their vocational training.
    Keywords: school-to-work transition,secondary school,pre-vocational training,vocational training
    JEL: J24 I28 I26
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Cory Koedel (Department of Economics and Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, Columbia); Eric Parsons (Department of Economics at the University of Missouri, Columbia)
    Abstract: The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a policy change to the federally-administered National School Lunch Program that allows schools serving low-income populations to classify all students as eligible for free meals, regardless of individual circumstances. This has implications for the use of free and reduced-price meal (FRM) data to proxy for student disadvantage in education research and policy applications, which is a common practice. We document empirically how the CEP has affected the value of FRM eligibility as a proxy for student disadvantage. At the individual student level, we show that there is essentially no effect of the CEP. However, the CEP does meaningfully change the information conveyed by the share of FRM-eligible students in a school. It is this latter measure that is most relevant for policy uses of FRM data.
    Keywords: community eligibility provision; free and reduced-price lunch; student poverty; measuring student poverty
    JEL: I2 I3
    Date: 2020–07
  6. By: Rakshit, Sonali; Sahoo, Soham
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of stereotypical beliefs of teachers on learning outcomes of secondary school students in India. We measure teacher's bias through an index capturing teacher's subjective beliefs about the role of gender and other characteristics in academic performance. We tackle the potential endogeneity of teacher's subjective beliefs by controlling for teacher fixed effects in a value-added model that includes lagged test score of students. We find that a standard deviation increase in biased attitude of the math teacher widens the female disadvantage in math performance by 0.07 standard deviation over an academic year. This negative effect of biased teachers is significant only for male teachers. The effect is especially strong among the medium-performing students and in classes where the majority of students are boys. Moreover, among the medium-performing students, having a female teacher significantly reduces the gender gap in math performance. As a plausible mechanism, we show that biased teachers negatively affect girls' attitude towards math as compared to boys. Unlike math outcome, we do not find any significant effect when we analyze the effect of biased English teachers on English scores of the same students.
    Keywords: Learning outcomes,Value-added model,Gender,Teachers,Stereotypes,India
    JEL: I24 J16 J24
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Utteeyo Dasgupta; Subha Mani; Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal
    Abstract: Hierarchies in social identities have been found to be integrally related to divergences in economic status. In India, caste is one such significant social identity where continued discriminatory practices towards the lower castes have resulted in poor outcomes for them. While there is considerable work on such divergence on many economic outcomes along caste lines, there is no work on behavioral preferences and personality traits that can also be adversely affected by such identity hierarchies, and that are important determinants of educational attainments and labor market performances. We combine rich data from incentivized tasks and surveys conducted among a large sample of university students in a Seemingly Unrelated Regression framework and find that the historically marginalized Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCSTs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) fare worse than the upper castes along several dimensions of economic behavior such as competitiveness and confidence and personality traits such as grit, locus of control, and conscientiousness. Further, we find that parental investments only have limited compensatory effects on these gaps. This suggests a need for redesigning the structure of affirmative action policies in India as well as targeting interventions with an aim to improving soft skills among the disadvantaged.
    Keywords: Behavioral Preferences, Personality, Caste, Experiments, India
    JEL: I23 C9 C18 J24 O15
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Isphording, Ingo E. (IZA); Lipfert, Marc (University of Bonn); Pestel, Nico (IZA)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of the end of school summer breaks on SARS-CoV-2 cases in Germany. We exploit variation in the staggered timing of summer breaks across federal states which allows us to implement an event study design. We base our analysis on official daily counts of confirmed coronavirus infections by age groups across all 401 German counties. We consider an event window of two weeks before and three weeks after the end of summer breaks. Over a large number of specifications, sub-group analyses and robustness checks, we do not find any evidence of a positive effect of school re-openings on case numbers. On the contrary, our preferred specification indicates that the end of summer breaks had a negative effect on the number of new confirmed cases. Three weeks after the end of summer breaks, cases have decreased by 0.55 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or 27 percent of a standard deviation. Our results are not explained by changes in mobility patterns around school re-openings arising from travel returnees. We conclude that school re-openings in Germany under strict hygiene measures combined with quarantine and containment measures have not increased the number of newly confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections.
    Keywords: COVID-19, schooling, education, Germany
    JEL: I12 I18 I28
    Date: 2020–10
  9. By: Bach, Maximilian; Sievert, Stephan
    Abstract: We show that in school systems with grade retention or redshirting, birth cohort size is negatively related to the grade-level share of students who are too old for their grade. This compositional effect gives rise to an upward bias in estimates of class size effects based on commonly used research designs exploiting within-school variation in birth cohort size. Using data for all primary schools in one federal state of Germany, we find support for this compositional effect. Correcting for the resulting bias, we find that not only are smaller classes beneficial for test scores, but also for reducing grade repetitions.
    Keywords: Class size effects,Quasi-experimental evidence,Student achievement,Primary school
    JEL: I20 I21 I29
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Michael Keane (School of Economics); Sonya Krutikova (Institute for Fiscal Studies, UK); Timothy Neal (UNSW School of Economics)
    Abstract: We study the impact of child work on cognitive development in four Low- and Middle-Income Countries. We advance the literature by using cognitive test scores collected regardless of school attendance. We also address a key gap in the literature by controlling for children’s complete time allocation budget. This allows us to estimate effects of different types of work, like chores and market/farm work, relative to specific alternative time-uses, like school or study or play/leisure. Our results show child work is more detrimental to child development to the extent that it crowds out school/study time rather than leisure. We also show the adverse effect of time spent on domestic chores is similar to time spent on market and farm work, provided they both crowd out school/study time. Thus, policies to enhance child development should target a shift from all forms of work toward educational activities.
    Keywords: Child labor, Child development, Education, Time use, Item response theory, Value added models
    JEL: I25 J13 J24 O15
    Date: 2020–10
  11. By: Aizer, Anna (Brown University); Devereux, Paul J. (University College Dublin); Salvanes, Kjell G. (Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: Women who give birth as teens have worse subsequent educational and labor market outcomes than women who have first births at older ages. However, previous research has attributed much of these effects to selection rather than a causal effect of teen childbearing. Despite this, there are still reasons to believe that children of teen mothers may do worse as their mothers may be less mature, have fewer financial resources when the child is young, and may partner with fathers of lower quality. Using Norwegian register data, we compare outcomes of children of sisters who have first births at different ages. Our evidence suggests that the causal effect of being a child of a teen mother is much smaller than that implied by the cross-sectional differences but that there are probably still significant long-term, adverse consequences, especially for children born to the youngest teen mothers. Unlike previous research, we have information on fathers and find that negative selection of fathers of children born to teen mothers plays an important role in producing inferior child outcomes. These effects are particularly large for mothers from higher socio- economic groups. Our data also enable us to examine the effect of age at first birth across a range of maternal ages. Importantly, while we find that child outcomes are worst for those born to teen mothers, outcomes improve with mothers' age at first birth until mothers are in their mid-20s and then flatten out.
    Keywords: teen childbearing, child outcomes, human capital
    JEL: J12 J13 I31 I32
    Date: 2020–10
  12. By: McNally, Sandra (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: The share of women achieving tertiary education has increased rapidly over time and now exceeds that of men in most OECD countries. However, women are severely under-represented in maths- intensive science fields, which are generally referred to as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths). The under-representation of women in these subject areas has received a great deal of attention. This is because these fields are seen to be especially important for productivity and economic growth and are associated with occupations that have higher earnings. Subject of degree is an important part of the explanation for the gender wage gap. The aim of this paper is to review evidence on explanations for the STEM gap in tertiary education. This starts with statistics about background context and evidence on how well-prepared male and female students may be for studying STEM at a later stage. I then discuss what the literature has to say about the role of personal attributes: namely confidence, self-efficacy and competitiveness and the role of preferences and expectations. I go on to discuss features of the educational context thought to be important for influencing attributes and preferences (or mediating their effects): peers; teachers; role models; and curriculum. I then briefly discuss broader cultural influences. I use the literature reviewed to discuss policy implications.
    Keywords: STEM, gender gap, tertiary education
    JEL: I20 J16
    Date: 2020–10

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