nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒11‒16
twelve papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Learning Inequality During the Covid-19 Pandemic By Engzell, Per; Frey, Arun; Verhagen, Mark D.
  2. Higher Education Financing and the Educational Aspirations of Teenagers and their Parents By Anderberg, Dan; Chevalier, Arnaud; Hassani Nezhad, Lena; Lührmann, Melanie; Pavan, Ronni
  3. Career and Technical Education in High School and Postsecondary Career Pathways in Washington State By Cowan, James; Goldhaber, Dan; Holzer, Harry J.; Naito, Natsumi; Xu, Zeyu
  4. Estimation of supply and demand of tertiary education places in advanced digital profiles in the EU: Focus on Artificial Intelligence, High Performance Computing, Cybersecurity and Data Science By Alvaro Gomez Losada; Montserrat Lopez-Cobo; Sofia Samoili; Georgios Alaveras; Miguel Vazquez-Prada Baillet; Melisande Cardona; Riccardo Righi; Lukasz Ziemba; Giuditta De-Prato
  5. The long shadow of high stakes exams: Evidence from discontinuities By Hannu Karhunen; Artturi Björk
  6. Whither pluralism in economics education? New empirical evidence By Martina Cioni; Maria Alessandra Rossi
  7. The Economic Benefits of Improving Efficiency in Public Spending on Education in the European Union By Peter Voigt; Anna Thum-Thysen; Wouter Simons
  8. Learning at Home: Distance Learning Solutions and Child Development during the COVID-19 Lockdown By Champeaux, Hugues; Mangiavacchi, Lucia; Marchetta, Francesca; Piccoli, Luca
  9. Academic Integrity in On-line Exams: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment By Flip Klijn; Mehdi Mdaghri Alaoui; Marc Vorsatz
  10. Demystifying university rankings and their impact on reputation among consumers of higher education By Shin, Donghee; Shin, Hyeun-Dae
  11. Impact of Early Childcare on Immigrant Children's Educational Performance By Luca Corazzini; Elena Meschi; Caterina Pavese
  12. Parenting Courses and Time Use of Parents and Children: Evidence from Italy By Daniela Del Boca; Chiara Pronzato; Lucia Schiavon

  1. By: Engzell, Per; Frey, Arun; Verhagen, Mark D.
    Abstract: Suspension of face-to-face instruction in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to concerns about consequences for student learning. So far, data to study this question have been limited. Here we evaluate the effect of school closures on primary school performance using exceptionally rich data from the Netherlands (n≈350,000). The Netherlands represents a best-case scenario with a relatively short lockdown (8 weeks) and a high degree of technological preparedness. We use the fact that national exams took place before and after lockdown, and compare progress during this period to the same period in the three previous years using a difference-in-differences design. Our results reveal a learning loss of about 3 percentile points or 0.08 standard deviations. These results remain robust when balancing on the estimated propensity of treatment and using maximum entropy weights, or with fixed-effects specifications that compare students within the same school and family. Losses are up to 55% larger among students from less-educated homes. Investigating mechanisms, we find that most of the effect reflects the cumulative impact of knowledge learned rather than transitory influences on the day of testing. The average learning loss is equivalent to a fifth of a school year, nearly exactly the same period that schools remained closed. These results imply that students made little or no progress whilst learning from home, and suggest much larger losses in countries less prepared for remote learning.
    Date: 2020–10–29
  2. By: Anderberg, Dan (Royal Holloway, University of London); Chevalier, Arnaud (Royal Holloway, University of London); Hassani Nezhad, Lena (affiliation not available); Lührmann, Melanie (Royal Holloway, University of London); Pavan, Ronni (University of Rochester)
    Abstract: We study the impact of higher education financing on the academic aspirations of teenagers and of their parents. We exploit a reform which introduced a large increase in the maximum university tuition fees and a more redistributive student loan system, both of which varied across the UK's constituent countries. Using rare survey data on postcompulsory secondary and university education aspirations, we find that teenagers' aspirations are not responsive to large changes in higher education financing. In contrast, the socio-economic gap in parental aspirations for their childrens' education is reduced through the reform, in accordance with the redistributive financing policies set by policy-makers.
    Keywords: education aspirations, university cost, access to higher education
    JEL: I23 I22 I24 J24 D84
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Cowan, James (American Institutes for Research); Goldhaber, Dan (University of Washington); Holzer, Harry J. (Georgetown University); Naito, Natsumi (University of Washington); Xu, Zeyu (American Institutes for Research)
    Abstract: In this study, we describe the postsecondary transitions of students taking CTE courses in high school using administrative data on one cohort of high school students from Washington State. Our findings indicate that CTE students are less likely to enroll in college overall, especially four-year college. But among students who do enroll in college, CTE students are significantly more likely to enroll in and complete vocational programs, especially in applied STEM and public safety fields. Among students not enrolled in college, CTE students also are more likely to obtain full-time employment—and to work more intensively—within the first three years following high school graduation. Thus, despite the reduction in four-year college enrollment, the higher completion rates of vocational credentials among CTE concentrators in college indicate some important positive outcomes for this population.
    Keywords: career and technical education, postsecondary education, pathways
    JEL: I21 I23
    Date: 2020–10
  4. By: Alvaro Gomez Losada (European Commission - JRC); Montserrat Lopez-Cobo (European Commission - JRC); Sofia Samoili (European Commission - JRC); Georgios Alaveras (European Commission - JRC); Miguel Vazquez-Prada Baillet (European Commission - JRC); Melisande Cardona (European Commission - JRC); Riccardo Righi (European Commission - JRC); Lukasz Ziemba (European Commission - JRC); Giuditta De-Prato (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: In order to investigate the extent to which the education offer of advanced digital skills in Europe matches labour market needs, this study estimates the supply and demand of university places for studies covering the technological domains of Artificial Intelligence (AI), High Performance Computing (HPC), Cybersecurity (CS) and Data Science (DS), in the EU27, United Kingdom and Norway. The difference between demand and supply of tertiary education places (Bachelor and Master or equivalent level) in the mentioned technological domains is referred in this report as unmet students' demand of places, or unmet demand. Demanded places, available places and unmet demand are estimated for the following dimensions: (a) the tertiary education level in which this demand is observed: Bachelor and Master or equivalent programmes; (b) the programme’s scope, or depth with which education programmes address the technological domain: broad and specialised; and (c) the main fields of education where this tuition is offered: Business Administration and Law; Natural sciences and Mathematics; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); and Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction, with the remaining fields grouped together in a fifth category. From these estimations, it is concluded that the number of available places in the EU27, at Bachelor level, reaches 587,000 for studies with AI content, 106,000 places offered in HPC, 307,000 places in CS and 444,000 places offered in the domain of DS. At Master level this demand is comparatively lower, except for the DS domain, were it equals the offer at bachelor level. DS outnumbers AI in demand of places at Master level, with 602,000 and 535,000 demanded places, respectively. The unmet demand for AI, HPC, CS and DS in EU27 at MSc level is approximately 150,000, 33,000, 59,000 and 167,000 places, respectively. At BSc level, the unmet demand reaches 273,000, 53,000, 159,000 and 213,000 places, respectively. Another finding is that the unmet demand for broad academic programmes is higher than for specialised programmes of all technological domains and education levels (Bachelor and Master). Higher availability of places for AI, HPC, CS and DS domains is found for academic programmes taught in the ICT field of education, both at Bachelor and Master levels. For Bachelor studies, Germany and Finland are estimated as the countries with the highest unmet demand in AI, HPC, CS and DS, either with a broad or specialised scope. United Kingdom is the only studied country offering places for all fields of education and technological domains at Bachelor level and Master level. For Master studies, this is also found in Germany, Ireland, France and Portugal.
    Keywords: digital skills, higher education, education supply, education demand, artificial Intelligence, high-performance computing, cybersecurity, data science, digital transformation
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Hannu Karhunen (Palkansaajien tutkimuslaitos); Artturi Björk
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of receiving a higher grade on a high school exit exam on labor market and education outcomes. Identification comes from comparing students on di ?erent sides of grade cutoffs. Being above a cutoff in an exam leads to (i) an increase in quality of education, but no change in years of schooling, (ii) an increase in yearly earnings that peaks between 1 and 5% at age 48, but no change in employment. At most 60% of the increase in earnings is explained by better education opportunities.
    Keywords: High school exit exam, Regression discontinuity
    JEL: I21 I26 J24
    Date: 2019–09–26
  6. By: Martina Cioni; Maria Alessandra Rossi
    Abstract: In the past two decades, dissatisfaction for the state of introductory economics teaching and standard textbooks has grown among economists, students and employers alike. The collective project under the acronym “CORE” – Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics – has proposed a prominent alternative, fiercely criticized mostly by heterodox economists, which broadens the range of topics featured in the textbook, but presents them without emphasizing controversy and disagreement within the discipline (an approach their proponents have described as “pluralism by integration”). This paper provides preliminary empirical evidence on the question whether this approach leads to “indoctrination effects” similar to those the literature has highlighted for standard introductory economics courses. It finds evidence of these effects and identifies some students’ features associated with them. Overall, the results point to the need for a variant of pedagogical pluralism that places greater emphasis on the comparison of alternative perspectives without falling prey to “paradigm tournament”.
    Keywords: Economics Education, Pluralism, Mainstream and Heterodox Economic Approaches
    JEL: A22 B41 B50
    Date: 2020–10
  7. By: Peter Voigt; Anna Thum-Thysen; Wouter Simons
    Abstract: Education provides substantial long-term gains for individuals, the economy and society as a whole. Accordingly, investing in education and training is part of the solution to many of the challenges Europe is facing, including globalisation, shrinking of the workforce and the changing nature of regular work. Policy makers allocate an important share of taxpayers’ money to achieve high quality education. However, spending may be subject to inefficiencies, i.e. potentially even more of an envisaged educational outcome (such as quantity, quality or inclusiveness of education) could be achieved if the money were spent according to best practice as defined by the performance across EU member states (“best practice across the EU”). To provide a measure of these gains we conduct a simple ‘back-of-the-envelope’ exercise, which relates PISA science score improvements from increasing efficiency in public spending on education to improvements in annual GDP per capita. Efficiency scores relating spending to PISA scores and semi-elasticities relating PISA scores to GDP per capita are taken from the existing literature. Results indicate that if we managed to eliminate any inefficiencies in spending with a view at achieving high PISA scores, annual growth of GDP per capita in the EU would be 0.8 percentage points higher in the long run; with variations across member states between 0.4 (as in Estonia) and 1.6 percentage points (as in Cyprus).
    Keywords: human capital, quality of public finance, investment on education, efficiency analysis, Voigt, Thum-Thysen, Simons.
    JEL: I2 I21 I26 I28 H52
    Date: 2020–07
  8. By: Champeaux, Hugues (CERDI, University of Auvergne); Mangiavacchi, Lucia; Marchetta, Francesca (CERDI, University of Auvergne); Piccoli, Luca
    Abstract: School closures, forced by the COVID-19 crisis in many countries, impacted on children's lives and their learning process. There will likely be substantial and persistent disparities between families in terms of educational outcomes. Distant learning solutions adopted by schools have been heterogeneous over countries, within countries and between school levels. As a consequence, most of the burden of children's learning fell on their parents, with likely uneven results depending on the socio-economic characteristics of the family. Using a real time survey data collected in April 2020 and early May in France and Italy, we estimate child fixed effects models to analyze how the lockdown has affected children's emotional wellbeing and their home learning process. The analysis also focuses on the role played by online classes or other interactive methods on children's home learning and emotional status. We find that the lockdown had a stronger negative effect on boys, on kids attending kindergarten (in Italy) or secondary school (in France), and on children whose parents have a lower education level. We also find that the increase in the time spent in front of screen is correlated to a worse learning achievement and emotional status, while the opposite is true for the time spent reading. The use of interactive distance learning methodologies, that has been much more common in Italy than in France, appears to significantly attenuate the negative impact on lockdown on the learning progresses of both Italian and French kids.
    Keywords: distance learning, education inequality, children's education, children's time-use, emotional skills, COVID-19
    JEL: I24 J13 J24
    Date: 2020–10
  9. By: Flip Klijn; Mehdi Mdaghri Alaoui; Marc Vorsatz
    Abstract: We study academic integrity in a final exam of a compulsory course with almost 500 undergraduate students (mostly in Economics and Business Management and Administration) at a major Spanish university. Confinement and university closure due to Covid-19 took place by the end of the last lecture week. As a consequence, the usual classroom exam was turned into an unproctored on-line multiple-choice exam without backtracking. We exploit the different orders of exam problems and detailed data with timestamps to study students’ academic integrity. Taking the average over questions that were part of both earlier and later “rounds,” we find that the number of correct answers to questions in the later round was 7.7% higher than those to the same questions in the earlier round. Moreover, the average completion time of questions in the later round was 18.1% shorter than that of the same questions in the earlier round. We estimate that between 13.4% and 22.5% of the students cheated due to information flows from earlier to later rounds. Nonetheless, since exam grades are positively correlated with previous continuous assessment, they can be considered informative. Finally, a mere reminder of the university’s code of ethics, which was sent to a subgroup halfway through the exam, did not affect cheating levels.
    Keywords: education, Field Experiment, academic integrity, on-line exam, multiple-choice questions, code of ethics, continuous assessment, proctoring, COVID-19
    JEL: A22 I21 I23 C93 D9
    Date: 2020–10
  10. By: Shin, Donghee; Shin, Hyeun-Dae
    Abstract: Purpose: Several universities in different countries are using their college ranking as a marketing and branding tool. Main scope of this paper is to investigate the interrelation between college rankings in Korea and how they affect university service marketing and reputation. Methods: Forty-six universities are examined through a non-parametric technique, by comparing three different Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) models regarding their adeptness to their Research and Development Business Foundation; parametric methods used to measure efficiencies in the public or private sectors are Ratio Analysis, Productivity Index Approach and Functional Approach. Results: The results delineate that the three model have different results since CCR and BCC models have better efficiency scores compared to SBM. Furthermore, public universities with local character seems to have better decision-making units leading to better branding. Implications: Decision makers can enhance policies by improving the effectiveness and antagonism of Research and Development Business Foundations, to improve university's reputation and attract more and better students. In spite of some valid considerations regarding the ranking of educational institutions in the world, ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities) is still a useful indicator for universities who wish to grow further, and will remain as a good guideline.
    Keywords: university branding, university ranking, World Universities Ranking System, Korea, DEA
    JEL: A2 M00 M3
    Date: 2020–10–30
  11. By: Luca Corazzini; Elena Meschi; Caterina Pavese
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of attending early childcare on immigrant children's cognitive outcomes. Our analysis makes use of administrative data on the entire population of students in the fth grade, collected by the Italian Institute for the Evaluation of the Educational System (INVALSI) for school years 2014/2015 to 2016/2017, matched to unique administrative records on early childcare availability at the municipal level. Our identication strategy exploits cross-sectional and time series variation in the provision of early childcare service across Italian municipalities as an instrument for individual attendance. Our results point out that the effect of early childcare attendance differs between native and immigrant children. Estimates show a positive and signicant effect on the language test scores of immigrant children, with the effect being mostly driven by females, by children with low-educated mothers and by children who, at home, speak a language highly dissimilar to Italian. Unlike immigrants, native students are negatively impacted by early childcare attendance, as reected in both language and math test scores. Effects are stronger on math test scores for females and for children with highly educated mothers.
    Keywords: Childcare, Cognitive skills, Immigrant children, IV.
    JEL: J13 J15 H75 I20 I28
    Date: 2020–10
  12. By: Daniela Del Boca (University of Turin and Collegio Carlo Alberto); Chiara Pronzato (University of Turin); Lucia Schiavon (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of parenting courses on fragile families’ time use with their children. Courses aimed at raising parental awareness of the importance of educational activities are offered in four Italian cities (Naples, Reggio Emilia, Teramo and Palermo) within the framework of the social program “FA.C.E. Farsi Comunità Educanti” and with the cooperation of the program “Con i Bambini”. To conduct the impact evaluation, we designed a randomized controlled trial involving random assignment of the families (mostly mothers). At the end of the intervention, we administered an assessment questionnaire both to the treatment group, which took the course, and to the control group, which did not. Comparing the outcomes, we find attending the course increased families' awareness of the importance of educational activities for children, the frequency with which they read to the child, and their desire to spend more time with the child.
    Keywords: parenting, use of time, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: J13 D10 I26
    Date: 2020–11

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