nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2020‒12‒07
thirteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Impact of Attending an Independent Upper Secondary School: Evidence from Sweden Using School Ranking Data By Karin Edmark; Lovisa Persson
  2. Own Motivation, Peer Motivation, and Educational Success By Bietenbeck, Jan
  3. Top of the class: the importance of ordinal rank By Murphy, Richard; Weinhardt, Felix
  4. Does test-based teacher recruitment work in the developing world? Experimental evidence from Ecuador By Araujo P., Maria Daniela; Heineck, Guido; Cruz Aguayo, Yyannú
  5. Occupational dualism and intergenerational educational mobility in the rural economy: evidence from China and India By Shahe Emran, M.; Ferreira, Francisco; Jiang, Yajing; Sun, Yan
  6. Closing the Gap between Vocational and General Education? Evidence from University Technical Colleges in England By Steve Machin; Sandra McNally; Camille Terrier; Guglielmo Ventura
  8. Health and education concerns about returning to campus and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic among US undergraduate STEM majors By Palmer, Lindsay; Pagoto, Sherry L.; Workman, Deja; Lewis, Kathrine A.; Rudin, Lauren R.; De Luna, Nina; Herrera, Valeria; Brown, Nathanial P.; Bibeau, Jessica; Arcangel, Kaylei
  9. Parental gender stereotypes and student wellbeing in China By Chu, Shuai; Zeng, Xiangquan; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  10. Job Status, International Migration and Educational Choice By Abdulloev, Ilhom; Epstein, Gil S.; Gang, Ira N.
  11. Overeducation, Major Mismatch, and Return to Higher Education Tiers: Evidence from Novel Data Source of a Major Online Recruitment Platform in China By Zheng, Yanqiao; Zhang, Xiaoqi; Zhu, Yu
  12. Large Socio-Economic, Geographic, and Demographic Disparities Exist in Exposure to School Closures and Distance Learning By Parolin, Zachary; Lee, Emma
  13. School Fee Elimination and Educational Inequality in Tanzania By Roxana Elena Manea

  1. By: Karin Edmark; Lovisa Persson
    Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive study on how attending a Swedish independent upper secondary school, instead of a public school, affects students’ academic and short-term post-secondary outcomes. We apply two estimation methods to data on upper secondary applicants: 1) A value-added model (VAM), where we, in addition to detailed student background characteristics, also control for student preferences for independent provision, as stated in the application forms. 2) A regression-discontinuity (RD) estimation around admission cutoffs to independent versus public schools. As the RD-results are overall too imprecise to provide much guidance, they are presented in an appendix to the paper. The more precisely estimated results using VAM suggest a positive independent school effect on: final GPA, test results in English and Swedish, the likelihood of graduating on time, and attending post-secondary education. We however also find indications of more lenient grading practices among independent schools, and we cannot rule out that all of the independent school advantage reflects more generous grading standards. Results from a school level analysis reveals that the average independent school impact masks substantial variation. Notably, schools with a higher share of qualified teachers tend to exhibit smaller GPA-gains, but also show signs of adhering to stricter grading standards.
    Keywords: private provision, mixed markets, voucher school reform, upper secondary education
    JEL: H44 I21 I26 I28
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Bietenbeck, Jan (Lund University)
    Abstract: I study how motivation shapes own and peers' educational success. Using data from Project STAR, I find that academic motivation in early elementary school, as measured by a standardized psychological test, predicts contemporaneous and future test scores, high school GPA, and college-test taking over and above cognitive skills. Exploiting random assignment of students to classes, I find that exposure to motivated classmates causally affects contemporaneous reading achievement, a peer effect that operates over and above spillovers from classmates' past achievement and socio-demographic composition. However, peer motivation does not affect longer-term educational success, likely because it does not change own motivation.
    Keywords: motivation, personality, peer effects, Project STAR
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2020–11
  3. By: Murphy, Richard; Weinhardt, Felix
    Abstract: This article establishes a new fact about educational production: ordinal academic rank during primary school has lasting impacts on secondary school achievement that are independent of underlying ability. Using data on the universe of English school students, we exploit naturally occurring differences in achievement distributions across primary school classes to estimate the impact of class rank. We find large effects on test scores, confidence, and subject choice during secondary school, even though these students have a new set of peers and teachers who are unaware of the students’ prior ranking in primary school. The effects are especially pronounced for boys, contributing to an observed gender gap in the number of Maths courses chosen at the end of secondary school. Using a basic model of student effort allocation across subjects, we distinguish between learning and non-cognitive skills mechanisms, finding support for the latter.
    Keywords: rank; cognitive skills; peer effects; productivity; ES/J003867/1; UKRI block grant
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2020–11–01
  4. By: Araujo P., Maria Daniela; Heineck, Guido; Cruz Aguayo, Yyannú
    Abstract: Since 2007, the Ecuadorian government has required teacher candidates to pass national skill and content knowledge tests before they are allowed to participate in merit-based selection competitions for tenured positions at public schools in an attempt to raise teacher quality. We evaluate the impact of this policy using linked administrative teacher information to data from a unique experimental study where almost 15,000 kindergarten children were randomly assigned to their teachers in the 2012-2013 school year in Ecuador. We find positive and significant effects of testscreened tenured teachers of at least a 0.105 standard deviation for language and a 0.085 standard deviation for math, which persist even after controlling for teacher education, experience, cognitive ability, personality traits and classroom practices.
    Keywords: teacher quality,education policy evaluation,Latin America
    JEL: I20 I21 I25 I28 J45
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Shahe Emran, M.; Ferreira, Francisco; Jiang, Yajing; Sun, Yan
    Abstract: This paper extends the Becker-Tomes model of intergenerational educational mobility to a rural economy characterized by farm-nonfarm occupational dualism and provides a comparative analysis of rural China and rural India. The model builds a micro-foundation for the widely used linear-in-levels estimating equation. Returns to education for parents and productivity of financial investment in children’s education determine relative mobility, as measured by the slope, while the intercept depends, among other factors, on the degree of persistence in nonfarm occupations. Unlike many existing studies based on coresident samples, our estimates of intergenerational mobility do not suffer from truncation bias. The sons in rural India faced lower educational mobility compared with the sons in rural China in the 1970s to 1990s. To understand the role of genetic inheritance, Altonji et al. (2005) biprobit sensitivity analysis is combined with the evidence on intergenerational correlation in cognitive ability in economics and behavioral genetics literature. The observed persistence can be due solely to genetic correlations in China, but not in India. Father’s nonfarm occupation was complementary to his education in determining a sons’ schooling in India, but separable in China. There is evidence of emerging complementarity for the younger cohorts in rural China. Structural change in favor of the nonfarm sector contributed to educational inequality in rural India. Evidence from supplementary data on economic mechanisms suggests that the model provides plausible explanations for the contrasting roles of occupational dualism in intergenerational educational mobility in rural India and rural China.
    Keywords: educational mobility; rural economy; occupational dualism; farm-nonfarm; complementarity; coresidency bias; China; India
    JEL: O12 J62
    Date: 2020–11–01
  6. By: Steve Machin; Sandra McNally; Camille Terrier; Guglielmo Ventura
    Abstract: Some countries, notably those which have long had a weak history of vocational education like the UK and the US, have recently seen a rapid expansion of hybrid schools which provide both general and vocational education. England introduced ‘University Technical Colleges’ (UTCs) in 2010 for students aged 14 to 18. 49 UTCs have been created since then. We use a spatial instrumental variable approach based on geographical availability to evaluate the causal effect of attending a UTC on student academic and vocational achievement and on their labour market outcomes. For those pupils who enter the UTC at a non-standard transition age of 14, UTCs dramatically reduce their academic achievement on national exams at age 16. However, for students who enter at a more conventional transition age of 16, UTCs boost vocational achievement without harming academic achievement. They also improve achievement in STEM qualifications, and enrolment in apprenticeships. By age 19, UTC students are less likely to be unemployed and more likely to study STEM at university.
    Keywords: technical education, tracking, school value-added
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Marina S. Telezhkina (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Andrey G. Maksimov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Globalisation and the development of technology called forth an expansion and a fundamental transformation of systems of higher education around the world. This research proposes a theoretical model that demonstrates that the growth in higher education enrolment is in response to technological shocks in which either high-skill-biased technologies, technologies replacing middle-skill workers or technologies raising the productivity of high-skill workers, which increases the wage premium of high-skill workers. The authors illustrate the workings of the model using Russian data for 2000–2018, discuss changes in the structure of the labour force, relative wages and enrolment in higher education during the last twenty years
    Keywords: educational economics, higher education expansion, demand for schooling, demand for higher education, technologies, economic development.
    JEL: I21 I25 I26 O14 O15 O33
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Palmer, Lindsay; Pagoto, Sherry L.; Workman, Deja; Lewis, Kathrine A.; Rudin, Lauren R.; De Luna, Nina; Herrera, Valeria; Brown, Nathanial P.; Bibeau, Jessica; Arcangel, Kaylei
    Abstract: Undergraduates majoring in STEM at US universities/colleges completed an online survey in July 2020 and answered open-ended questions about their concerns about returning to campus and about learning online from home in Fall 2020. Students’ concerns about returning to campus included student noncompliance with university COVID-19 prevention guidelines, infection risk, poor instructional quality, inadequate university plans for preventing/handling outbreaks, negative impacts on social interactions, and transportation/commuting. Concerns about online learning from home included difficulty focusing on schoolwork, lack of hands-on/experiential learning, negative impacts on social interactions, family/home environment, concerns that online learning wastes time/money, and inadequate technology/Internet access. Universities should address student concerns and provide resources to overcome barriers to effective learning.
    Date: 2020–11–20
  9. By: Chu, Shuai (Renmin University of China and Global Labor Organization.); Zeng, Xiangquan (Renmin University of China and Global Labor Organization.); Zimmermann, Klaus F. (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, CEPR and Global Labor Organization)
    Abstract: Non-cognitive abilities are supposed to affect students' educational performance, who are challenged by parental expectations and norms. Parental gender stereotypes are shown to strongly decrease student wellbeing in China. Students are strongly more depressed, feeling blue, unhappy, not enjoying life and sad with no male-female differences while parental education does not matter.
    Keywords: Gender identity, gender stereotypes, student wellbeing, non-cognitive abilities, mental health, subjective wellbeing
    JEL: I12 I26 I31 J16 O15
    Date: 2020–11–18
  10. By: Abdulloev, Ilhom; Epstein, Gil S.; Gang, Ira N.
    Abstract: We consider how the possibility of international migration affects an individual’s educational choices in their home country. Without the opportunity to emigrate abroad people choose their educational investment (and hence their skill level) as we might expect, taking into account the utility they derive from the status their attainment bestows. A result of this paper is that if there are low chances of obtaining professional (requires tertiary schooling) jobs in the host country, individuals may well choose an educational track leading to a less-skilled lower status occupational profession in order to increase their chances of obtaining a job in the host country after migration. Thus, all home country students may choose the non-professional education track. Those who might have otherwise pursued higher, professional education may forgo that schooling. The theory developed here explains the forsaken schooling phenomenon, which shows that low-skilled and skilled home country workers are willing to accept low-skilled positions in host countries. This leads to the forgoing of professional schooling in the home country since it is not optimal for the worker in the home country to choose a high skilled education since, they will be overqualified in the host country. This will have a long run affect. As time goes on, therefore, people who consider migrating abroad will have either lower years of schooling, or generally have not completed professional schools (technical-vocational or tertiary).
    Keywords: traps,migration,poverty,inequality,education,skill,brain gain,brain drain
    JEL: O15 P46 F22 I24
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Zheng, Yanqiao (Zhejiang University); Zhang, Xiaoqi (Southeast University); Zhu, Yu (University of Dundee)
    Abstract: We develop a novel approach to study overeducation by extracting pre-match information from online recruitment platforms using word segmentation and dictionary building techniques, which can offer significant advantages over traditional survey-based approaches in objectiveness, timeliness, sample sizes, area coverage and richness of controls. We apply this method to China, which has experienced a 10-fold expansion of its higher education sector over the last two decades. We find that about half of online job-seekers in China are two or more years overeducated, resulting in 5.1% pay penalty. However, the effect of overeducation on pay varies significantly by college quality, city type, and the match of college major with industry. Graduates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or LEM (Law, Economics and Management) from Key Universities are much less likely to be overeducated in the first place, and actually enjoy a significant pay premium even when they are in the situation.
    Keywords: overeducation, online recruitment data, major-industry mismatch, China
    JEL: I23 I26
    Date: 2020–11
  12. By: Parolin, Zachary (Columbia University); Lee, Emma
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many school districts to turn to distance or at-home learning. Studies are emerging on the negative effects of distance learning on educational performance. Less is known, however, about the socio-economic, geographic, and demographic characteristics of students exposed to distance-learning across the United States. We introduce a U.S. School Closure & Distance Learning Database that tracks in-person attendance across more than 100,000 schools from January through October 2020. We measure year-over-year change in in-person attendance for each school throughout 2020 to estimate whether the school is engaged in distance learning after the onset of the pandemic. Our findings reveal large socio-economic, geographic, and demographic disparities in exposure to distance learning. In October 2020, schools recording the lowest third-grade math scores are nearly twice as likely to be closed compared to schools recording the highest math scores. The average racial composition of closed schools is 25 percentage points less white compared to schools operating in-person (40% versus 65%). Moreover, closures are more common in schools with a higher share of students who experience homelessness, are of limited English proficiency, are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch, live in single-parent families, or are racial/ethnic minorities. Distance learning is more common in high schools and middle schools relative to elementary schools, but disparities in exposure to distance learning are comparable across school type. Given the potential negative consequences of school closures on educational performance, the vast inequalities in exposure to distance learning portend rising disparities in learning outcomes.
    Date: 2020–11–15
  13. By: Roxana Elena Manea
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the impacts of the elimination of primary school fees in Mainland Tanzania. We use 2002 and 2012 census data and conduct a difference-in- differences analysis. Spatial and temporal variation in the implementation process of the reform is generated by distinguishing between cohorts that were exposed to the reform and cohorts that were not, and by considering the intensity of the reform, which is defined based on pre-reform educational outcomes at the gender-district level. We find that exposure to an average of 1.7 years of free primary education has reduced educational inequality by 0.66 standard deviations. We also find that this outcome has been mainly driven by a reform-induced reduction of 6.8 percentage points in the proportion of people who have never attended primary education. The benefits of fee removal have been relatively larger for females compared to males. Therefore, the educational gender gap has been narrowed. Nevertheless, policy- makers should be wary of the reform’s limited reach in preventing dropouts and its diminishing effects as time elapses from the year when the reform was rolled out.
    Keywords: School fee; Educational Inequality; Tanzania
    Date: 2020–11–23

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