nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒05‒24
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Gender Differences in Persistence in a Field of Study By Michael Kaganovich; Morgan Taylor; Ruli Xiao
  2. Academic performance and territorial patterns of students with an immigrant background in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area By Silvia de Almeida; Joao Firmino; Jose Mesquita; Maria Joao Hortas; Luis Catela Nunes
  3. What Drives Social Returns to Education? A Meta-Analysis By Cui, Ying; Martins, Pedro S.
  4. The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School System By Eric Brunner; Shaun Dougherty; Stephen L. Ross
  5. A Quantitative Framework for Analyzing the Distributional Effects of Incentive Schemes By Hugh Macartney; Robert McMillan; Uros Petronijevic
  6. Effects of Scaling up Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students By Figlio, David N.; Hart, Cassandra M. D.; Karbownik, Krzysztof
  7. Zooming to Class?: Experimental Evidence on College Students' Online Learning during COVID-19 By Kofoed, Michael S.; Gebhart, Lucas; Gilmore, Dallas; Moschitto, Ryan
  8. An Econometric Study of the Impact of Education on the Economic Development of Low-Income Countries By G., Germinal; Taleb Da Costa, Marcella
  9. Stratification of Returns to Higher Education in Peru: The Role of Education Quality and Major Choices By Sanchez, Alan; Favara, Marta; Porter, Catherine

  1. By: Michael Kaganovich; Morgan Taylor; Ruli Xiao
    Abstract: Weaker retention of women in quantitatively oriented fields, particularly STEM* is widely seen in US higher education. This persistence gap is often explained by less generous grading in these fields and the conjectured tendency of female students to generally exhibit stronger “sensitivity” to grades. We examine student persistence in a wide spectrum of academic fields using a rich Indiana University Learning Analytics dataset. We find that the phenomenon of women’s relatively lower persistence in STEM in response to lower grades does not universally extend to other disciplines. Further, a stronger response, in terms of attrition, to grades received is not a gender-specific characteristic but more likely to reflect gender differences in the underlying field preferences. In other words, it is a weaker preference for a field of study that is likely to make students more responsive to grades received in it, rather than the other way around as is commonly suggested.
    Keywords: college major choice, persistence, sensitivity to grades
    JEL: I23 I24 J24 D21
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Silvia de Almeida; Joao Firmino; Jose Mesquita; Maria Joao Hortas; Luis Catela Nunes
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the territorial distribution of students with an immigrant background enrolled in the 3rd cycle of basic education in Portugal and on the differences in the academic performance of students enrolled in the last year of this cycle based on their birthplace and immigrant background when compared to their native peers in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. These differences are examined by estimating several linear regression models using as dependent variable three performance indicators – student’s results in the 9th grade national exams in the Maths and Portuguese Language subjects, as well as a binary indicator of a successful academic record during the 3rd cycle. The observed results confirm the hypothesis that there are significant differences in the students’ academic performance depending on their immigrant background and birthplace: (i) 2nd-generation and 1st-generation students perform worse than Native students; (ii) students from Brazil and PALOP countries have the most significant differences compared to students from Portugal. We also identify that a substantial part of these differences is already present in the end of the 2nd cycle of basic education. Furthermore, our results indicate that a considerable part of the differences is explained by factors inherent to the school and the class of the student, and not so much to the municipality, which might indicate the existence of some type of segregation experienced by these students, either at intra-municipality level (by the different schools) or intra-school level (by the different classes).
    Keywords: Students with an immigrant background, academic results, Lisbon Metropolitan Area
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Cui, Ying (Queen Mary, University of London); Martins, Pedro S. (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: Education can generate important externalities that contribute towards economic growth and convergence. In this paper, we study such externalities and their drivers by conducting the first meta-analysis of the social returns to education literature. We analyse over 1,000 estimates from 32 journal articles published since 1993, covering 15 countries of different levels of development. Our results indicate that: 1) there is publication bias (but not citation bias) in the literature; 2) spillovers slow down with economic development; 3) tertiary schooling and schooling dispersion increase spillovers; and 4) spillovers are smaller under fixed-effects and IV estimators but larger when measured at the firm level.
    Keywords: returns to education, education externalities
    JEL: I26 I28 J24 J31 C36
    Date: 2021–04
  4. By: Eric Brunner; Shaun Dougherty; Stephen L. Ross
    Abstract: We examine the effect of attending stand-alone technical high schools on student short- and long-term outcomes using a regression discontinuity design. Male students are 10 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school and have half a semester less time enrolled in college, although effects on college fade-out. Male students have 32% higher quarterly earnings. Earnings effects may in part reflect general skills: male students have higher attendance rates and test scores, and industry fixed effects explain less than 1/3rd of earnings gains. We find little evidence that attending a technical high school affects the outcomes of female students.
    JEL: I21 I26 J16
    Date: 2021–05
  5. By: Hugh Macartney; Robert McMillan; Uros Petronijevic
    Abstract: This paper develops the first quantitative framework for analyzing distributional effects of incentive schemes in public education. The analysis is built around a hump-shaped effort function, estimated semi-parametrically using exogenous incentive variation and rich administrative data. We identify key primitives that rationalize this effort function by estimating a flexible teacher effort-choice model. Both the model and parameter estimates are necessary components in our counterfactual framework for tracing the effects of alternative accountability systems on the entire test score distribution, with effort adjusting endogenously. We find widespread schemes that set a fixed target for all students give rise to a steep performance-inequality tradeoff. Further, counterfactual incentive policies can outperform existing schemes for the same cost -- reducing the black-white test score gap by 7% (via student-specific bonuses), and lowering test-score inequality across students by 90% (via student-specific targets). Our quantitative approach opens up new possibilities for incentive design in practice.
    Keywords: Incentives, Effort, Accountability Scheme, Education Production, Test Score Distribution, Inequality, Conditional Average Treatment Effect, Semi-Parametric, Counterfactual, Education Reform
    JEL: D82 I21 J33 M52
    Date: 2021–05–11
  6. By: Figlio, David N. (Northwestern University); Hart, Cassandra M. D. (University of California, Davis); Karbownik, Krzysztof (Emory University)
    Abstract: Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and leveraging a student fixed effects design, we explore how the massive scale-up of a Florida private school choice program affected public school students' outcomes. Program expansion modestly benefited students (through higher standardized test scores and lower absenteeism and suspension rates) attending public schools closer to more pre-program private school options. Effects are particularly pronounced for lower-income students, but results are positive for more affluent students as well. Local and district-wide private school competition are both independently related to student outcomes.
    Keywords: school choice, school competition, student achievement, behavioral outcomes
    JEL: H75 I21 I22 I28
    Date: 2021–04
  7. By: Kofoed, Michael S. (U.S. Military Academy, West Point); Gebhart, Lucas (U.S. Military Academy); Gilmore, Dallas (U.S. Military Academy); Moschitto, Ryan (U.S. Military Academy)
    Abstract: COVID-19 shifted schools and colleges to online instruction with little causal evidence of outcomes. In the fall of 2020, we randomized 551 West Point students in a required Introductory Economics course across twelve instructors to either an online or in-person class. Final grades for online students dropped by 0.215 standard deviations; a result apparent in both assignments and exams and largest for academically at-risk students. A post-course survey finds that online students struggled to concentrate in class and felt less connected to their instructors and peers. We find that the shift to online education had negative results for learning.
    Keywords: online learning, COVID-19, randomized control trial
    JEL: I21 I23 H75
    Date: 2021–05
  8. By: G., Germinal; Taleb Da Costa, Marcella
    Abstract: This paper has two purposes. The primary purpose of this paper is to investigate the contribution that education brings to society and to analyze how the educational system of low-income countries affects their economic development. The second purpose is to provide recommendations that will incentivize the improvement of the education system in low-income countries. To achieve these two objectives, we used several econometric techniques to measure the validity of three hypotheses. The first hypothesis measures the impact of literacy rate on human development of low-income countries. The second hypothesis measures the means years of schooling on income per capita in low-income countries, and the third hypothesis measures the impact of education on employment.
    Keywords: Econometrics, Applied Econometrics, Education Policy, Statistical Methods, Regression Analysis, Economic Development
    JEL: C1 C12 C21 C50 C54
    Date: 2021–05
  9. By: Sanchez, Alan (Group for the Analysis od Development (GRADE)); Favara, Marta (University of Oxford); Porter, Catherine (Lancaster University)
    Abstract: In the last two decades, access to higher education has increased substantially in Latin America. The quantity of new programs available has created concerns about education quality, which has implications for the labor market. We use rich longitudinal data from a Peruvian cohort tracked from ages 8 to 26 (the Young Lives study) to analyze the profile of students enrolled in different 'types' of higher education, and to explore the returns to higher education before and during the COVID-19 crisis. We find evidence of stratification at higher education level: (a) students from the wealthiest households tend to enroll in universities (as opposed to technical institutes), and choose majors and institutions with the highest income rewards; (b) students with higher levels of cognitive skills and socio-emotional competencies tend to attend better quality universities; (c) there are hidden gender gaps: females are more likely to enroll in majors that are the least rewarded in the labor market. In the 2020 labor market, by age 26 we find that: (d) pre-COVID, positive returns to higher education are only observable for those that attended better quality universities; (e) during the pandemic, higher education became a protective factor, with the income premium being higher for everyone that attended this education level; (f) the male income premium doubled during the pandemic.
    Keywords: higher education, returns to higher education, COVID-19, Young Lives, Peru
    JEL: I2 I23 I26
    Date: 2021–04

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