nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒04‒05
thirteen papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Old Boys' Clubs and Upward Mobility Among the Educational Elite By Valerie Michelman; Joseph Price; Seth D. Zimmerman
  2. Social segregation at French University: some geographical disparities during the 2006-2016 period By Pierre Courtioux; Tristan-Pierre Maury; Johan Seux
  3. How much are students aware of environmental issues? Is this awareness related to their socioeconomic status? A look from PISA 2006 and 2015. By Cecilia Adrogué; María Eugenia
  4. Sorting it Out: The Effects of Charter Expansion on Teacher and Student Composition at Traditional Public Schools By Sorensen, Lucy; Holt, Stephen B
  5. Estimating the Employment and Educational Effects of Vocational Training: the Role of School Quality By Cristiano C. Carvalho; Raphael Corbi, Rodrigo De-Losso
  6. Diversity in Schools: Immigrants and the Educational Performance of U.S. Born Students By David N. Figlio; Paola Giuliano; Riccardo Marchingiglio; Umut Özek; Paola Sapienza
  7. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Teaching Outcomes in Higher Education By Philipp Hansen; Lennart Struth; Max Thon; Tim Umbach
  8. Managers' Productivity and Recruitment in the Public Sector: The Case of School Principals By Muñoz, Pablo; Prem, Mounu
  9. International student exchange and academic performance By Dirk Czarnitzki; Wytse Joosten; Otto Toivanen
  10. Intergenerational transmission of lockdown consequences: Prognosis of the longer-run persistence of COVID-19 in Latin America By Guido Neidhöfer; Nora Lustig; Mariano Tommasi
  11. Personal Characteristics and Intention for Entrepreneurship By Yalcintas, Murat; Iyigun, Oykü; Karabulut, Gokhan
  12. First-in-their-family students at university: Can non-cognitive skills compensate for social origin? By Rebecca Edwards; Rachael Gibson; Colm Harmon; Stefanie Schurer
  13. Reducing Parent-School Information Gaps and Improving Education Outcomes: Evidence from High-Frequency Text Messages By Samuel Berlinski; Matias Busso; Taryn Dinkelman; Claudia Martínez A.

  1. By: Valerie Michelman; Joseph Price; Seth D. Zimmerman
    Abstract: This paper studies how exclusive social groups shape upward mobility, and whether interactions between low- and high-status peers can integrate the top rungs of the economic and social ladder. Our setting is Harvard in the 1920s and 1930s, where new groups of students arriving on campus encountered a social system centered on exclusive old boys' clubs. We combine archival and Census records of students' college lives and long-run careers with a room-randomization design based on a scaled residential integration policy. We first show that high-status students from prestigious private high schools perform worse academically than other students, but are much more likely to join exclusive campus clubs. The club membership premium is large: members earn 32% more than other students, and are more likely to work in finance and join country clubs, both characteristic of the era's elite. The membership premium persists after conditioning on high school, legacy status, and even family. Random assignment to high-status peers raises the rates at which students join exclusive social groups on campus, but overall effects are driven entirely by large gains for private school students. In the long run, a shift from the 25th percentile of residential peer group status to the 75th percentile raises the rate at which private school students work in finance by 41% and their membership in adult social clubs by 26%. We conclude that social interactions among the educational elite mediate access to top positions in the economy and society, but may not provide a path to these positions for underrepresented groups. Differences in academic and career outcomes by high school type persist through at least the class of 1990, suggesting that this causal channel remains relevant at contemporary elite universities.
    JEL: I24 I26 J24
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Pierre Courtioux (Paris School of Business, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Tristan-Pierre Maury (EDHEC - EDHEC Business School); Johan Seux (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    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 disavantaged students for each French "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, a well as between Bachelor and Master degrees at the national level. However, this averall 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.
    Abstract: Nous analysons la ségrégation sociale à l'Université en France sur la période 2006-2016. Sur la base de l'indice d'exposition normalisé, nous montrons qu'au niveau national, la ségrégation se fixe à des niveaux plus faibles que ceux mis en évidence par d'autres travaux pour l'enseignement secondaire et que contrairement à ce dernier les niveaux de ségrégation ne sont pas systématiquement plus élevés dans les académies d'Île-de-France ou dans celles liées à une grande agglomération (Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Lille). Nous montrons également que le niveau de ségrégation à l'Université baisse avec le niveau de diplôme au niveau national. Toutefois, cette tendance globale ne semble pas portée par l'ensemble des académies, mais plutôt par un nombre limité de grandes académies. Par ailleurs, nous montrons une très grande variabilité de la ségrégation au cours du cursus par académie, avec des académies peu ségrégées pour certains niveaux d'études et fortement pour d'autres.
    Keywords: regional diversity,segregation index,university,diversité régionale,indice de ségrégation,université
    Date: 2021–03
  3. By: Cecilia Adrogué; María Eugenia
    Abstract: Contemporary global environmental problems have highlighted the importance of acting responsibly towards natural resources and the environment. The role of science education in shaping how people interact with the environment, therefore, has gained importance. In line with this concern, in 2005, UNESCO launched its Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) (2005-2014), by which educational institutes around the world would focus on educating individuals for a more sustainable future. The main purpose of this study is to present the results of the changes in environmental literacy of students before and after the implementation of this policy, as well as to analyze which are the main features that affect the probability of being environmentally aware. For this aim, we estimate a probit model with data provided by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 and 2015. The estimation suggests that in 2015 students are more aware of the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than in 2006, and that those from more disadvantaged socio-economic classes are less aware of the three environmental awareness analyzed; this difference is deeper in the case of upper-middle and lower-middle income countries.
    Keywords: Environmental awareness, environmental literacy, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), socio-economic variables
    JEL: I29 Q59
    Date: 2020–11
  4. By: Sorensen, Lucy; Holt, Stephen B (University at Albany, SUNY)
    Abstract: Since their introduction in the 1990s, charter schools have grown from a small-scale experiment to a ubiquitous feature of the public education landscape. The current study uses the legislative removal of a cap on the maximum number of charters in North Carolina as a natural experiment to assess the impacts of charter school growth on teacher quality and student composition in traditional public schools (TPS) at different levels of local market penetration. Using an instrumental variable difference-in-differences approach to account for endogenous charter demand, we find that intensive local charter entry reduces the inflow of new teachers at nearby TPS, leading to a more experienced and credentialed teaching workforce on average. However, we find that the entry of charters serving predominantly White students leads to reductions in average teacher experience, effectiveness, and credentials at nearby TPS. Overall these findings suggest that the composition of the teacher workforce in TPS will continue to change as charter schools further expand, and that the spillover effects of future charter expansion will vary by the types of students served by charters.
    Date: 2021–03–02
  5. By: Cristiano C. Carvalho; Raphael Corbi, Rodrigo De-Losso
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence of the short and long-run effects of vocational training (VT) on labor market and educational outcomes, with a particular interest in how school quality may confound estimates. VT schools may differ from regular schools not only in terms of type of training, but also in the availability of resources. We take advantage of a particular institutional arrangement in the state of Paraná, Brazil, where a single private institution named FIEP provides both VT and regular education under two separate but closely related entities, while non-FIEP institutions provide regular education. As both VT and regular schools within FIEP have more resources and better inputs than non-FIEP schools, simply comparing outcomes of VT and regular students can be misleading even if students were assigned randomly to schools. Using a unique survey applied to different cohorts of high school graduates, we show that quality plays an important but nuanced role when comparing the effects of general and VT in the short and long run. In particular, our propensity score estimates indicate that FIEP VT graduates have higher short-run employability than both FIEP and non-FIEP non-VT students. However, non-VT graduates from the better-funded FIEP system are more likely to continue to higher education, so that the short-run employment effect all but dissipates as they enter the labor force in the long-run.
    Keywords: Vocational education; short and long-run labor market outcomes; higher education
    JEL: C21 I25 I26 I31 J24 J31
    Date: 2021–03–23
  6. By: David N. Figlio; Paola Giuliano; Riccardo Marchingiglio; Umut Özek; Paola Sapienza
    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.
    JEL: I21 I24 J15
    Date: 2021–03
  7. By: Philipp Hansen (University of Cologne); Lennart Struth (University of Cologne); Max Thon (University of Cologne); Tim Umbach (
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic forced much of the world to adapt suddenly to severe restrictions. In this study, we attempt to quantify the impact of the pandemic on student performance in higher education. To collect data on important covariates, we conducted a survey among first-year students of Microeconomics at the University of Cologne. In contrast to other studies, we are able to consider a particularly suitable performance measure that was not affected by the COVID-19 restrictions implemented shortly before the start of the summer term 2020. While the average performance improves in the first term affected by the restrictions, this does not apply to students with a low socioeconomic background. Trying to identify more specific channels explaining this finding, interestingly, our data yield no evidence that the average improvement results from the altered teaching formats, suggesting instead that the enhanced performance stems from an increase in available study time.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Education and Inequality, Higher Education, Well Being
    JEL: I24 I23 I31
    Date: 2021–03
  8. By: Muñoz, Pablo; Prem, Mounu
    Abstract: We study whether differences in management can explain variation in productivity and how more effective managers can be recruited in absence of high-powered incentives. To investigate this, we first extend the canonical teacher value-added model to account for school principals, and we document substantial variation in their ability to improve students' learning. Teachers' survey responses and quasi-experimental designs based on changes in school management validate our measure of principal effectiveness. Then, we leverage the timing of adoption of a civil service reform and show that despite having relatively rigid wages, public schools were able to attract more effective managers after increasing the competitiveness and transparency of their personnel selection process.
    Date: 2021–03–22
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. By: Yalcintas, Murat; Iyigun, Oykü; Karabulut, Gokhan
    Abstract: This study analyzes the relationship between entrepreneurship intention and personal characteristics and skills by using the surveys we conducted in Turkey on 1465 senior university students. We use a modified version of the Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) scale and the Political Skills Inventory to measure some personal characteristics and skills. We also use the nine sub-dimensions of these two scales. Probit model and wavelet coherence analysis results show that proactivity, entrepreneurship, and networking sub-dimensions of the scales are related to entrepreneurship intention. We also find that gender, the number of siblings, the grade point average (GPA) of the students, their family's education level, the parent' ownership of an enterprise, and the number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) that they are a member of are also related to entrepreneurship intention. Results may be useful to understand and enhance entrepreneurship potential.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship,Self-employment entry,Occupational choice
    JEL: C90 D63
    Date: 2021
  12. By: Rebecca Edwards (University of Sydney); Rachael Gibson (University of Sydney); Colm Harmon (University of Edinburgh & IZA Bonn); Stefanie Schurer (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: We study the role of non-cognitive skills (NCS) in university readiness and performance of first-in-family students (FIFS) using both nationally representative survey data and linked survey-administrative data on an incoming student cohort at a leading Australian university. In both data sources we find that FIFS enter university with lower cognitive skills (-0.3 SD), but with the same NCS as non-FIFS. FIFS have 0.24 SD lower grade-point averages (GPA) and are up to 50 percent more likely to drop-out after Year 1 than non-FIFS. Yet, FIFS catch up with non-FIFS by the end of Year 2. Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Openness (when adjusting for measurement error with anchoring vignettes), and Locus of Control (when allowing for non-linearities) are predictive of GPA. High levels of Conscientiousness offset FIFS performance penalties; low levels exacerbate them, especially when controlling for measurement error. Our findings accentuate the importance of NCS as facilitator of educational mobility.
    Keywords: Non-cognitive skills, university performance, socioeconomic gradient in education, first-in-family, linked survey and administrative data, anchoring vignettes.
    JEL: A22 J24
    Date: 2021–03
  13. By: Samuel Berlinski; Matias Busso; Taryn Dinkelman; Claudia Martínez A.
    Abstract: Grade retention and early dropout are two of the biggest challenges facing education systems in middle-income countries today, representing waste in school resources. We investigate whether reducing parent-school information gaps can improve outcomes that are early-warning signals for grade retention and dropout. We conducted an experiment in low-income schools in Chile to test the effects and behavioral changes triggered by a program that sends attendance, grade, and classroom behavior information to parents via weekly and monthly text messages. Our 18-month intervention raised average math GPA by 0.09 of a standard deviation and increased the share of students satisfying attendance requirements for grade promotion by 4.5 percentage points. Treatment effects were larger for students at higher risk of later grade retention and dropout. We find some evidence of positive classroom spillovers. Leveraging existing school inputs to implement a light-touch, cost-effective information intervention can improve education outcomes in lower-income settings.
    JEL: D8 I25 N36
    Date: 2021–03

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