nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒03‒22
fifteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Minimum Wage Effects on Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Canadian Data By Alessandrini, Diana; Milla, Joniada
  2. Ségrégation sociale à l'Université : des disparités académiques sur la période 2006-2016 By Pierre Courtioux; Tristan-Pierre Maury; Johan Seux
  3. Caste in Class: Evidence from Peers and Teachers By Javier García-Brazales
  4. Diversity in Schools: Immigrants and the Educational Performance of U.S. Born Students By Figlio, David N.; Giuliano, Paola; Marchingiglio, Riccardo; Ozek, Umut; Sapienza, Paola
  5. Teacher Characteristics and Student Performance: Evidence from Random Teacher-Student Assignments in China By Huang, Wei; Li, Teng; Pan, Yinghao; Ren, Jinyang
  6. Age of Starting School, Academic Performance, and the Impact of Non-Compliance: An Experiment within an Experiment, Evidence from Australia By Beatton, Tony; Kidd, Michael; Niu, Anthony; Vella, Francis
  7. International student exchange and academic performance By Dirk Czarnitzki; Wytse Joosten; Otto Toivanen
  8. Intergenerational transmission of lockdown consequences: Prognosis of the longer-run persistence of COVID-19 in Latin America By Guido Neidhöfer; Nora Lustig; Mariano Tommasi
  9. The Effects of Free Secondary School Track Choice: A Disaggregated Synthetic Control Approach By Kristina Strohmaier; Aderonke Osikominu; Gregor Pfeifer
  10. Grades and Employer Learning By Hansen, Anne Toft; Hvidman, Ulrik; Sievertsen, Hans Henrik
  11. Underrepresentation of Women in Undergraduate Economics Degrees in Europe: A Comparison with STEM and Business By Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Vidal-Fernández, Marian; Yengin, Duygu
  12. Can Mentoring Alleviate Family Disadvantage in Adolscence? A Field Experiment to Improve Labor-Market Prospects By Sven Resnjanskij; Jens Ruhose; Simon Wiederhold; Ludger Woessmann
  13. Education and Innovation By Barbara Biasi; David J. Deming; Petra Moser
  14. Student Learning in Online College Programs By Stephanie Riegg Cellini; Hernando Grueso
  15. The Long-Run Effect of Public Libraries on Children: Evidence from the Early 1900s By Karger, Ezra

  1. By: Alessandrini, Diana (St. Francis Xavier University); Milla, Joniada (Saint Mary’s University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of the minimum wage on individuals' schooling decisions and the type of human capital acquired by students. Using Canadian longitudinal data, we explore 136 minimum wage amendments across provincial jurisdictions, and find three novel results. First, the minimum wage affects both the quantity and the type of human capital acquired by individuals. High minimum wages stimulate the accumulation of occupation-specific human capital at community colleges but discourage enrollment in academic programs offered by universities. Quantitatively, a 10% increase in the minimum wage increases community-college enrollment by 6% and reduces university enrollment by 5%. Second, high minimum wages strengthen the link between parental background and children educational attainment, worsening the university participation gap between individuals with high and low parental education. Finally, minimum wages also affect whether students dropout of post-secondary education or return to school later in life as mature students.
    Keywords: minimum wage, post-secondary enrollment, post-secondary dropouts
    JEL: J31 J38 J24 I23
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Pierre Courtioux (Paris School of Business (PSB) et Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne (CES)); Tristan-Pierre Maury (EDHEC Business School); Johan Seux (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: This article is the first quantitative and exhaustive analysis of social segregation in French universities. Over the period 2006-2016, we calculate the Normalized Exposure index of very advantaged and disadvantaged students for each "académies" and levels of education (one-year degree, two-year degree, Bachelor and Master). At the national level, values of Normalized Exposure index reveal the existence of social segregation in French universities, although at lower levels than those highlighted by other articles on secondary education. The geographical analysis of segregation shows that the levels of segregation are not systematically higher in the Île-de-France's "académies" or in those linked to a large agglomeration (Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Lille) as it is the case for secondary school: the overall level of segregation depends little on the size of the académie. However, the level of social segregation proper to advantaged students is positively related to the share of students that come from other "académies". Eventually, we study the levels of segregation by education level: there is a decrease in segregation between the one-year and two-year tertiary degrees, as well as between Bachelor and Master degrees at the national level. However, this overall trend does not seem to be carried by all "académies", but only by a limited number. In addition, there is an important variability of segregation across education levels as far as one "académie" can be characterized by low level of segregation for certain education levels and important ones for others
    Keywords: regional diversity; segregation index; university
    JEL: I23 I24 R5
    Date: 2021–03
  3. By: Javier García-Brazales (CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros)
    Abstract: Differences in academic achievement across Indian castes are both large and persistent. I make use of rich individual data to explore how class caste composition affects academic progress as well as the mechanisms in place. Benefiting from exogenous assignment of students to classes and teachers, I find that a one-percentage point increase in the proportion of low-caste class- mates leads to a fall of around 2% of a standard deviation in the mathematics score and to much smaller effects in English. This phenomenon is mediated through lower effort exerted by the students, which itself emanates from the students' worsened perception about the extent to which their teachers value them. This non-cognitive channel, which has not been previously identified in the peer effects literature, suggests that the use of a fairly malleable input such as more open and receptive teachers among low-caste students would be an appropriate policy response.
    Keywords: Castes, peer effects, non-cognitive skills, India.
    JEL: I24 J15 J24
    Date: 2020–09
  4. By: Figlio, David N. (Northwestern University); Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles); Marchingiglio, Riccardo (Northwestern University); Ozek, Umut (American Institutes for Research); Sapienza, Paola (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of exposure to immigrants on the educational outcomes of US-born students, using a unique dataset combining population-level birth and school records from Florida. This research question is complicated by substantial school selection of US-born students, especially among White and comparatively affluent students, in response to the presence of immigrant students in the school. We propose a new identification strategy to partial out the unobserved non-random selection into schools, and find that the presence of immigrant students has a positive effect on the academic achievement of US-born students, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Moreover, the presence of immigrants does not affect negatively the performance of affluent US-born students, who typically show a higher academic achievement compared to immigrant students. We provide suggestive evidence on potential channels.
    Keywords: immigrant students, educational attainment
    JEL: I21 I24 J15
    Date: 2021–03
  5. By: Huang, Wei (National University of Singapore); Li, Teng (National University of Singapore); Pan, Yinghao (National University of Singapore); Ren, Jinyang (Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impacts of teacher characteristics on student performance using a nationally representative and randomly assigned teacher-student sample in China. We find that having a more experienced or female homeroom teacher (HRT) with additional classroom management duties significantly improves students' test scores and cognitive and noncognitive abilities. In contrast, these effects are not observed for subject teachers who are responsible only for teaching. More experienced or female HRTs are also associated with a better classroom environment, more self-motivated students, more parental involvement, and higher parental expectations. These mechanisms explain 10-25 percent of HRT effects on test scores and cognitive ability and 50-60 percent of HRT effects on noncognitive ability. Our findings highlight the importance of teacher management skills in education production.
    Keywords: teacher value-added, education production function, student performance
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2021–03
  6. By: Beatton, Tony (University of Queensland); Kidd, Michael (Queensland University of Technology); Niu, Anthony (RMIT University); Vella, Francis (Georgetown University)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the difference in academic performance of the oldest and youngest students in a given grade. We employ Queensland Department of Education school administration panel data for the population of state school students for the years 2008-2016. Academic performance is measured by National standard test scores (NAPLAN) and teacher assessed measures of performance and effort for individuals in grades 3, 5 and 7. The empirical analysis employs a regression discontinuity design (RDD) based on administrative rules on age of school enrolment. The class assigning mechanism operates via a known cut-off date and results in the oldest child in the grade being almost a year older than the youngest. However, as parents may anticipate a disadvantage in their child being the youngest in grade they may choose to delay the timing of initial enrolment. This lack of compliance potentially creates difficulties for the RDD identification strategy, in particular the assumption of exchangeability around the cut-off. We exploit a change in the cut-off rule from a 2008 reform which postponed the school starting age by 6 months and produced a large increase in the compliance rate. This enables one to gauge the importance of non-compliance in estimating the treatment effect of being older versus younger in cohort. We find that the pre-reform treatment effect is small and generally statistically insignificant. Post-reform there is a sizeable and statistically significant treatment effect which diminishes as the sample proceeds through school grades, 3, 5 and 7.
    Keywords: national standard achievement tests, compliance rates, fuzzy regression discontinuity
    JEL: I29
    Date: 2021–03
  7. By: Dirk Czarnitzki; Wytse Joosten; Otto Toivanen
    Abstract: International student exchange has become an important part of university-level studies and the EU plans to increase it significantly. We analyze how international student exchange affects students’ academic human capital. Using detailed studentlevel data from four faculties (Economics and Business, Law, Engineering and Science) of a large Belgian public university we find that, on average, exchange students lose 7% in terms of grades relative to their non-mobile peers, but less so in Erasmus-facilitated exchange. Since students’ academic performance is an important factor in companies’ hiring decisions, participation in international exchange seems to have a non-negligible impact on labor market outcomes.
    Keywords: exchange programs, student mobility, academic performance
    Date: 2021–03–09
  8. By: Guido Neidhöfer (ZEW); Nora Lustig (Tulane University); Mariano Tommasi (Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: The shock on human capital caused by COVID-19 is likely to have long lasting consequences, especially for children of low-educated families. Applying a counterfactual exercise we project the effects of school closures and other lockdown policies on the intergenerational persistence of education in 17 Latin American countries. First, we retrieve detailed information on school lockdowns and on the policies enacted to support education from home in each country. Then, we use this information to estimate the potential impact of the pandemic on schooling, high school completion, and intergenerational associations. In addition, we account for educational disruptions related to household income shocks. Our findings show that, despite that mitigation policies were able to partly reduce instructional losses in some countries, the educational attainment of the most vulnerable could be seriously affected. In particular, the likelihood of children from low educated families to attain a secondary schooling degree could fall substantially.
    Keywords: COVID-19, lockdowns, human capital, school closures, intergenerational persistence, education, inequality, Latin America
    JEL: I24 I38 J62
    Date: 2021–03
  9. By: Kristina Strohmaier; Aderonke Osikominu; Gregor Pfeifer
    Abstract: We exploit a recent state-level reform in Germany that granted parents the right to decide on the highest secondary school track suitable for their child, changing the purpose of the primary teacher's recommendation from mandatory to informational. Applying a disaggregated synthetic control approach to administrative district-level data, we find that transition rates to the higher school tracks increased substantially, with stronger responses among children from richer districts. Simultaneously, grade repetition in the first grades of secondary school increased dramatically, suggesting that parents choose school tracks also to align with their own aspirations – resulting in greater misallocation of students.
    Keywords: school tracking, student performance, synthetic control method, treatment effect distributions, treatment effect heterogeneity
    JEL: C21 C46 I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2021
  10. By: Hansen, Anne Toft (VIVE - The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science); Hvidman, Ulrik (Aarhus University); Sievertsen, Hans Henrik (University of Bristol)
    Abstract: This study examines the labor-market returns of skill signals. We identify the labor-market effect of grade point averages (GPA) by leveraging a nationwide change in the scaling of grades in Danish universities. Results show that a reform-induced increase in GPA that is unrelated to ability causes higher earnings immediately after graduation, but the effect fades in subsequent years. The effect at labor-market entry is largest for individuals with fewer alternative signals and the earnings adjustment occurs both within and across firms. Although employers initially screen candidates based on skill signals, our findings suggest that they rapidly learn about worker productivity.
    Keywords: job-market signaling, employer learning, higher education
    JEL: I20 J20 I26
    Date: 2021–03
  11. By: Megalokonomou, Rigissa (University of Queensland); Vidal-Fernández, Marian (University of Sydney); Yengin, Duygu (University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: In the last decade, the proportion and academic performance of women who pursue university degrees has increased relative to men in a range of developing countries (OECD, 2015). Nonetheless, the percentage of undergraduate economics degrees awarded to women has remained between 30% and 35% during 2001-2018 in the U.S. (Siegfried, 2019). In a recent work by Lundberg and Stearns (2019), they show that the gender gap worsens as women economists progress in their professional careers in the U.S., where they end up representing only 10% of university professors. European countries seem to have less of a "leaky pipeline," where the same figure sits at 22% (Auriol, Friebel, and Wilhelm, 2020). To put this figure into perspective, our paper describes the cross-country underrepresentation of women graduating in economics degrees in Europe relative to their country-specific women/men university graduation rates. Second, we compare the underrepresentation of women in economics to its closest alternative namely business, as well as its gender underrepresented counterpart, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Finally, we lean on recent evidence to suggest policies to increase the relative share of women pursuing undergraduate economics degrees in Europe with a strong focus on policies aimed at high schools. Overall, we find that, over the period 2013-2018, the underrepresentation of women in economics graduates has worsened in Europe and that on average two of every five students are women. While the gender representation of university graduates in STEM is worse than in economics, it has experienced a mild increase over the period of study. Unlike Economics, its closest alternative, business, has a slight women overrepresentation, with 1.1 women graduating for every man.
    Keywords: women, economics, STEM, university
    JEL: J16 J24
    Date: 2021–03
  12. By: Sven Resnjanskij; Jens Ruhose; Simon Wiederhold; Ludger Woessmann
    Abstract: We study a mentoring program that aims to improve the labor-market prospects of school-attending adolescents from disadvantaged families by offering them a university-student mentor. Our RCT investigates program effectiveness on three outcome dimensions that are highly predictive of adolescents’ later labor-market success: math grades, patience/social skills, and labor-market orientation. For low-SES adolescents, the one-to-one mentoring increases a combined index of the outcomes by half a standard deviation after one year, with significant increases in each dimension. Part of the treatment effect is mediated by establishing mentors as attachment figures who provide guidance for the future. The mentoring is not effective for higher-SES adolescents. The results show that substituting lacking family support by other adults can help disadvantaged children at adolescent age.
    Keywords: mentoring, disadvanted youths, adolescence, school performance, patience, social skills, labor-market orientation, field experiment
    JEL: I24 J24 H52
    Date: 2021
  13. By: Barbara Biasi; David J. Deming; Petra Moser
    Abstract: This chapter summarizes existing evidence on the link between education and innovation and presents open questions for future research. After a brief review of theoretical frameworks on the link between education, innovation, and economic growth, we explore three alternative policies to encourage innovation through education: expanding access to basic skills, improving the quality of education, and investing in universities. We also review the literature on the role of innovation for education. We conclude by outlining possible avenues for future research.
    JEL: I20 I23 L26 O30
    Date: 2021–03
  14. By: Stephanie Riegg Cellini; Hernando Grueso
    Abstract: We draw on administrative data from the country of Colombia to assess differences in student learning in online and traditional on-campus college programs. The Colombian context is uniquely suited to study this topic, as students take a compulsory exit examination at the end of their studies. We can therefore directly compare performance on the exit exam for students in online and on-campus programs both across and within institutions, degrees, and majors. Using inverse probability weighting methods based on a rich set of background characteristics coupled with institution-degree-major fixed effects, our results suggest that bachelor’s degree students in online programs perform worse on nearly all test score measures (including math, reading, writing, and English) relative to their counterparts in on-campus programs. Results for shorter technical certificates are more mixed. While online students perform significantly worse than on-campus students on exit exams in private institutions, they perform better in SENA—the main public vocational institution in the country.
    JEL: I21 I23 O15
    Date: 2021–03
  15. By: Karger, Ezra
    Abstract: Between 1890 and 1921, Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of 1,618 public libraries in cities and towns across the United States. I link these library construction grants to census data and measure the effect of childhood public library access on adult outcomes. Library construction grants increased children's educational attainment by 0.10 years, did not affect wage income, and increased non-wage income by 4%. These income effects are driven by occupational choice. Access to a public library caused children to shift away from occupations like manual labor, factory-work, and mining into safer and more prestigious occupations like farm-ownership, clerical, and technical jobs. I show that compulsory schooling laws had parallel effects on children, increasing educational attainment, non-wage income and occupational prestige without affecting wage income. Economists often rely solely on wage income to measure the returns to education. But public libraries and compulsory schooling laws in the early 1900s increased educational attainment and had positive effects on children's adult labor market outcomes without affecting wage income.
    Date: 2021–01–28

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