nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒05‒31
ten papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Myth of Teacher Shortage in India By Sandip Datta; Geeta Gandhi Kingdon
  2. Not just words! Effects of a light-touch randomized encouragement intervention on students’ exam grades, self-efficacy, motivation, and test anxiety By Tamás Keller; Péter Szakál
  3. Gender Differences in Student Evaluations of Teaching: Identification and Consequences By Cannon, Edmund; Cipriani, Giam Pietro
  4. How age at school entry affects future educational and socioemotional outcomes: Evidence from PISA. By Pauline Givord
  5. The COVID-19 pandemic: A threat to higher education? By Bonaccolto-Töpfer, Marina; Castagnetti, Carolina
  6. Do International Study Programmes Pay off for Local Students? By Wang, Zhiling; Pastore, Francesco; Karreman, Bas; van Oort, Frank
  7. School Feeding Programmes, Education and Food Security in Rural Malawi By Roxana Elena Manea
  8. Get Rich or Fail Your Exam Tryin': Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Spillover Effects of Blended Learning By Mehic, Adrian; Olofsson, Charlotta
  9. The employment destination of PhD-holders in Italy: non-academic funded projects as drivers of successful segmentation By Giulio Marini
  10. Literacy and Information By Tohari, Achmad; Parsons, Christopher; Rammohan, Anu

  1. By: Sandip Datta (Delhi School of Economics, New Delhi.); Geeta Gandhi Kingdon (Institute of Education, University College London.)
    Abstract: This paper examines the widespread perception in India that the country has an acute teacher shortage of about one million teachers in public elementary schools, a view repeated in India’s National Education Policy 2020. Using official DISE data, we show that there is hardly any net teacher deficit in the country since there is roughly the same number of surplus teachers as the number of teacher vacancies. Secondly, we show that measuring teacher requirements after removing the estimated fake students from enrolment data greatly reduces the required number of teachers and increases the number of surplus teachers, yielding an estimated net surplus of about 342,000 teachers. Thirdly, we show that if we both remove fake enrolment and also make a suggested hypothetical change to the teacher allocation rule to adjust for the phenomenon of emptying public schools (which has slashed the national median size of public schools to a mere 64 students, and rendered many schools ‘tiny’), the estimated net teacher surplus is about 764,000 teachers. Fourthly, we highlight that if government does fresh recruitment to fill the supposed nearly one-million vacancies as promised in the National Education Policy 2020, the already modest national mean pupil-teacher-ratio of 22.8 would fall to 15.9, at a permanent fiscal cost of nearly Rupees 480 billion (USD 6.6 billion) per year in 2017-18 prices, which is higher than the individual GDPs of 56 countries in that year. The paper highlights the major economic efficiencies that can result from an evidence-based approach to teacher recruitment and deployment policies.
    Keywords: Public elementary schools, pupil teacher ratio, teacher vacancies, teacher surplus, fake pupil enrolment, teacher absence, India
    JEL: I20 I21
    Date: 2021–05–01
  2. By: Tamás Keller (Centre for Social Sciences: Research Center for Educational and Network Studies Research Center for Economic and Regional Studies: Institute of Economics TÁRKI Social Research Institute, Budapest); Péter Szakál (University of Szeged)
    Abstract: Motivated by the self-determination theory of psychology, we ask how simple school practices can forge students’ engagement with the academic aspect of school life. We carried out a large-scale preregistered randomized field experiment with a crossover design, involving all the students of the University of Szeged in Hungary. Our intervention consisted of an automated encouragement message that praised students’ past achievements and signaled trust in their success. The treated students received encouragement messages before their exam via two channels: e-mail and SMS message. Control students did not receive any encouragement. Our primary analysis compared the end-of-semester exam grades of the treated and control students, obtained from the university’s registry. Our secondary analysis explored the difference between the treated and control students’ self-efficacy, motivation, and test anxiety, obtained from an online survey before students’ exams. In the whole sample, we did not find an average treatment effect on students’ exam grades. However, in the subsample of those who answered the endline survey, the treated students reported higher self-efficacy than the control students. The treatment affected students’ motivation before their first exam—but not before their second—and did not affect students’ test anxiety. Our results indicate that automated encouragement messages sent shortly before exams do not boost students’ exam grades. Nevertheless, since occasionally received light-touch encouragement messages instantly increased students’ self-efficacy even before an academically challenging exam situation, we conclude that encouraging students systematically and not just shortly before their exams might lead to positive emotional involvement and help create a school climate that engages students with the academic aspect of school life.
    Keywords: Preregistered randomized field experiment, encouragement message, exam grades, test anxiety, self-efficacy, motivation
    JEL: I23 I21 C93 D91
    Date: 2021–05
  3. By: Cannon, Edmund (University of Bristol); Cipriani, Giam Pietro (University of Verona)
    Abstract: Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) have been suggested as one possible cause for low representation of women among academic economists. While econometric analyses using control variables certainly report that SETs can be influenced by the gender of both teacher and student, such studies may still be biased if there is non-random allocation of teachers to teaching. Even if causal estimates of gender effects are unbiased, the inference that SETs contribute to gender discrimination is hazardous, since hiring or promotion committees would not have access to these controls when evaluating SETs. We use data from an Italian university to quantify the effect of controls on gender effects and conclude that there is insufficient evidence to blame SETs for a gender imbalance in Economics.
    Keywords: students' evaluation of teaching, gender bias, matching, teaching allocation, hiring and promotion
    JEL: A22 I21 J16
    Date: 2021–05
  4. By: Pauline Givord (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques)
    Abstract: This study provides new empirical evidence of birthday effects over a range of educational and socioemotional outcomes. It relies on data from the recent cycles of the Program for International School Assessment (PISA) for six European countries. Age at entry has a significant and sizeable impact on cognitive outcomes for 15-year-old students as measured in PISA. The magnitude of the birthday effects on socioemotional skills varies, but overall the results suggest that those students who enter school relatively younger have more negative relationships with their teachers and peers at school. These students also have lower intrinsic motivation and self-esteem and have less ambitious educational expectations than their peers who entered school older.
    Keywords: Birthday effects; PISA; Instrumental variables; socioemotional outcomes
    Date: 2021–05
  5. By: Bonaccolto-Töpfer, Marina; Castagnetti, Carolina
    Abstract: Transition to online teaching during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to various concerns about educational quality. So far, researchers have mainly focused on the effects on school teaching. This paper looks at the effects on a large Italian university (University of Pavia, Lombardy). Administrative data allows us to track both students' evaluation of teaching and student performance. Using a difference-in-differences design, we exploit the fact that the summer term 2020 started right after the first lockdown and compare students' outcome during this term to those of the same term in the previous year. In contrast to the literature, our results suggest no substantial effects of the pandemic on higher education. The findings are robust across various dimensions of courses, students and lecturers. In particular, the results suggest also no difference between top and bottom students or students from wealthier and poorer families.
    Keywords: Online teaching,COVID-19 pandemic,difference-in-differences,higher education
    JEL: G18 I18 I23 I24
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Wang, Zhiling (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli); Karreman, Bas (Erasmus University Rotterdam); van Oort, Frank (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: International study programmes are increasing in number worldwide, but little is known about the impact on local students' job prospects, especially in a non-English speaking countries. Using rich administrative data from Statistics Netherlands, we analyse labour market outcomes of native graduates in master programmes of Dutch universities between 2006 to 2014 within 5 years after graduation. A coarsened exact matching analysis within cohort-university-detailed field of study group addresses the self-selection issue by generating a matched sample of students with similar characteristics. We find that graduates from international programmmes obtain a wage premium of 2.3% starting from the 1st year after graduation, ceteris paribus. The wage premium keeps increasing by about 1% every year. We investigate the mechanisms through which the wage premium operates. The wage premia can neither be explained by wage increase via cross-firm mobility, nor by faster upward mobility within a firm. Instead, evidence point towards the differential characteristics of the first job upon graduation. Graduates from international programmes are much more likely to choose large firms that have a higher share of foreign-born employees and have business of trade for the first job. They get a head start in wage level and the initial wage advantages persist in the long-run.
    Keywords: international programme, native students, wage premium, coarsened exact matching
    JEL: I23 J24 F22
    Date: 2021–05
  7. By: Roxana Elena Manea
    Abstract: Existing investigations of the impact of school feeding programmes on educational outcomes have provided mixed evidence of success. In this chapter, I investigate a potential explanation for this lack of consensus in the literature. I argue that the prevailing food security situation at the time and place of the programme's evaluation plays a major role. I study the case of rural Malawi. I use an instrumental variable approach and propensity score matching to estimate the impact of school feeding on primary school enrolment and retention rates. I focus on villages with overlapping characteristics. I estimate that school feeding has increased enrolments by 7 percentage points on average, but the impact on retention rates has been relatively limited. However, when I distinguish between food-secure and food-insecure areas, not only do I find a larger impact on enrolments in food-insecure areas, but I also uncover a significant increase of around 2 percentage points in the retention rate of students in these same areas. Across the board, impacts are not significant in food-secure areas. I conclude that school feeding programmes bear an impact on education as long as they also intervene to relax a binding food constraint.
    Keywords: School feeding programmes;Education; Food security; Malawi
    Date: 2021–05–18
  8. By: Mehic, Adrian (Department of Economics, Lund University); Olofsson, Charlotta (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We evaluate a natural experiment at a Swedish university, in which students were randomized to either taking all their courses online, or to have some courses online and some on campus (blended learning). Our setting creates two groups for the online courses: One group with no access to campus whatsoever, and one group treated with campus classes in parallel, but unrelated, courses. We show that campus access in parallel courses improved academic performance in online courses only among female students with affluent parents. Detailed individual-level survey data suggests that there was no relationship between social status and adverse mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, by estimating each student's network position, linked with administrative data on parental income, we show that female students with wealthy parents have significantly less constrained social networks, enabling them to utilize scarcely available campus time to communicate with classmates more efficiently.
    Keywords: COVID-19; blended learning; online education; social networks
    JEL: I23 I28 J16 Z13
    Date: 2021–05–13
  9. By: Giulio Marini (Quantitative Social Sciences Centre in the Social Research Institute, University College London)
    Abstract: In all developed countries in recent years, the non-academic labour market destination of PhD-holders (segmentation) has emerged as an issue. Universities and other research-intensive institutions can no longer absorb the major share of PhD-holders. Their employment has become a matter of segmentation both in horizontal (economic sector) and in vertical (income) dimensions. The paper tests what factors segment labour market outcomes in both dimensions – economic sector and income. Findings suggest that whilst scientific mobility and type of funding during PhD period do not play a notable role, some types of experiences such as post-doc, instead, predict exit from academic employment and also a higher income overall. The most significant experiences that contribute to segmentation are in fact projects funded by private companies or international organizations in postdoctoral periods. Policy-making implications are relevant for both PhD-holders, universities and external organizations. For instance, non-academic employers may maximise their collaborations with universities with beneficial outcomes for PhD-holders themselves as well
    Keywords: doctoral holders, employability, industry-university relations, post-doctoral funding, self-employment, natural experiment, Italy
    JEL: I23 I25 I26 J21 J24 J31 J62 O32 C36
    Date: 2021–05–01
  10. By: Tohari, Achmad (University of Western Australia); Parsons, Christopher (University of Western Australia); Rammohan, Anu (University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: Information campaigns aimed at empowering the poor often fall short of meeting their desired aims. We study literacy's role in determining their efficacy. First, exploiting an RD design, we show that receipt of information increased household rice receipts by 30 percentage points. Second, we show that approximately half of the effect is driven by household head literacy. Leveraging novel data on the locations and timings of school openings in the 1970s INPRES school building program, we document that household heads' literacy gained during childhood was pivotal for their households subsequently receiving their full entitlement of rice during adulthood.
    Keywords: poverty, targeting, information, literacy, dynamic complementarity
    JEL: D04 D73 I21 I28 I32 I38 J24 O12
    Date: 2021–05

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