nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒09‒13
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Early-Years Multi-Grade Classes and Pupil Attainment By Borbely, Daniel; Gehrsitz, Markus; McIntyre, Stuart; Rossi, Gennaro; Roy, Graeme
  2. Parental Responses to Children's Achievement Test Results By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Ho, Tiffany; Salamanca, Nicolás
  3. Should Schools Grade Student Behavior? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Comportment Grade Reforms By Florian Schoner; Lukas Mergele; Larissa Zierow
  4. Reaping the Rewards Later: How Education Improves Old-Age Cognition in South Africa By Plamen Nikolov; Steve Yeh
  5. The urban rural-education gap: do cities indeed make us smarter? By Raoul van Maarseveen
  6. Long-Term Consequences of Teaching Gender Roles: Evidence from Desegregating Industrial Arts and Home Economics in Japan By HARA Hiromi; Núria RODRÃ GUEZ-PLANAS
  7. Social Mobility in Germany By Dodin, Majed; Findeisen, Sebastian; Henkel, Lukas; Sachs, Dominik; Schüle, Paul
  8. The Effect of Tertiary Education Expansion on Fertility: A Note on Identification By Bharati, Tushar; Chang, Simon; Li, Qing
  9. Can New Learning Opportunities Reshape Gender Attitudes for Girls?: Field Evidence from Tanzania By So Yoon Ahn; Youjin Hahn; Semee Yoon

  1. By: Borbely, Daniel (University of Dundee); Gehrsitz, Markus (University of Strathclyde); McIntyre, Stuart (University of Strathclyde); Rossi, Gennaro (University of Strathclyde); Roy, Graeme (University of Glasgow)
    Abstract: We study the effect of exposure to older, more experienced classroom peers resulting from the widespread use of multi-grade classes in Scottish primary schools. For identification, we exploit that a class-planning algorithm quasi-randomly assigns groups of pupils to multi-grade classes. We find that school-starters benefit from exposure to second-graders in measures of numeracy and literacy. We find no evidence that these gains are driven by smaller class sizes or more parental input. While short-lived, these benefits accrue independent of socioeconomic background, to boys and girls alike, and do not come at the expense of older peers from the preceding cohort.
    Keywords: multi-grade classes, peer effects, class-size, cognitive skills
    JEL: C36 H52 I21 I26 I28 J24
    Date: 2021–08
  2. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Ho, Tiffany (ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR)); Salamanca, Nicolás (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)
    Abstract: We use quasi-experimental variation in the timing of national standardized test-score reports to estimate the causal impact of giving parents objective information about children's academic achievement. Releasing test scores leads to more modest perceptions of academic achievement and reduced school satisfaction. The use of private tutoring is increased, while extracurricular activities are reduced. Examining the underlying mechanisms, we show that is it public-school parents and parents of children receiving unexpectedly "bad" test scores who alter their perceptions. Learning that a child scores above the national average raises perceived academic achievement and time devoted to education, while reducing leisure time.
    Keywords: parental investments, test-score information, parental perceptions, overconfidence
    JEL: I21 J13 D10 D90
    Date: 2021–08
  3. By: Florian Schoner; Lukas Mergele; Larissa Zierow
    Abstract: Numerous countries require teachers to assign comportment grades rating students’ social and work behavior in the classroom. However, the impact of such policies on student outcomes remains unknown. We exploit the staggered introduction of comportment grading across German federal states to estimate its causal effect on students’ school-to-work transitions as well as cognitive and non-cognitive abilities. Analyzing census data, household surveys, and nationwide student assessments, we show that comportment grading does not meaningfully affect these outcomes and rule out large effect sizes. Our results are consistent with these grades being insufficiently salient for students to alter actual student behaviors.
    Keywords: school reforms, report cards, labor market transition, student achievement
    JEL: D91 I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Plamen Nikolov (State University of New York (at Binghamton)); Steve Yeh (Columbia University)
    Abstract: Cognitive abilities are fundamental for decision-making, and understanding the causes of human capital depreciation in old age is especially important in an aging society. Using a longitudinal labor survey that collects direct proxy measures of cognitive skills, we study the effect of educational attainment on cognitive performance in late adulthood in South Africa. We find robust evidence that an increase in a year of schooling improves memory performance and general cognition. We also find evidence of heterogeneous effects of educational attainment on cognitive performance. We explore the mechanisms through which education can affect cognitive performance. We show that a more supportive social environment, improved health habits, and reduced stress levels likely play a critical role in mediating the beneficial effects of educational attainment on cognition among the elderly.
    Keywords: human capital, educational attainment, cognitive performance, developing countries, sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: J14 J24 I21 F63 N37
    Date: 2021–09
  5. By: Raoul van Maarseveen
    Abstract: Despite the existence of a large urban-rural education gap in many countries, little attention has been paid whether cities enjoy a comparative advantage in the production of human capital. Using Dutch administrative data, this paper finds that conditional on family characteristics and cognitive ability, children who grow up in urban regions consistently attain higher levels of human capital compared to children in rural regions. The elasticity of university attendance with respect to population density is 0.07, which is robust across a wide variety of specifications. Hence, the paper highlights an alternative channel to explain the rise of the city. .
    JEL: I20 J24 R10
    Date: 2020–04
  6. By: HARA Hiromi; Núria RODRÃ GUEZ-PLANAS
    Abstract: We explore whether a 1990 Japanese educational reform that eliminated gender-segregated and gender-stereotyped industrial arts and home economics classes in junior high schools led to behavioral changes among these students some two decades later when they were married and in their early forties. Using a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design and Japanese time-use data from 2016, we find that the reform had a direct impact on Japanese women's attachment to the labor force, which seems to have changed the distribution of gender roles within the household, as we observe both a direct effect of the reform on women spending more time in traditionally male tasks during the weekend and an indirect effect on their husbands, who spend more time in traditionally female tasks. We present suggestive evidence that women's stronger attachment to the labor force may have been driven by changes in beliefs regarding men's and women's gender roles. As for men, the reform only had a direct impact on their weekend time spent on household production if they were younger than their wives and had small children. In such relationships, the reform also had the indirect effect of reducing the time their wives spent on weekend household production without increasing the wives' labor-market attachment. Interestingly, the reform increased fertility only when it decreased wives' time spent on childcare. Otherwise, the reform delayed fertility.
    Date: 2021–08
  7. By: Dodin, Majed; Findeisen, Sebastian; Henkel, Lukas; Sachs, Dominik; Schüle, Paul
    Abstract: We characterize intergenerational social mobility in Germany using census data on the educational attainment of 526,000 children and their parents' earnings. Our measure of educational attainment is the A-Level degree, a requirement for access to university and the most important qualification in the German education system. On average, a 10 percentile increase in the parental income rank is associated with a 5.2 percentage point increase in the probability to obtain an A-Level. This parental income gradient has not changed for the birth cohorts from 1980 to 1996, despite a large-scale policy of expanding upper secondary education in Germany. At the regional level, there exists substantial variation in mobility estimates. Place effects, rather than sorting of households into different regions, seem to account for most of these geographical differences. Mobile regions are, among other aspects, characterized by high school quality and enhanced possibilities to obtain an A-Level degree in vocational schools.
    Keywords: Intergenerational Mobility,Educational Attainment,Local Labor Markets
    JEL: I24 J62 R23
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Bharati, Tushar (University of Western Australia Business School); Chang, Simon (University of Western Australia); Li, Qing (Shanghai University)
    Abstract: We draw attention to two identification issues with previous studies that utilized tertiary education expansion to estimate the causal effect of education on fertility: (i) the mis-categorization of women past the usual college-entry age as "unexposed" to the expansion, and (ii) a possible violation of the exclusion restriction when using the expansion as an instrument for female education. We exploit the tertiary education expansion in Taiwan starting in 1996, with a novel focus on women past college-entry age, to document significant negative effects on the fertility of women as old as 30 at the onset of the expansion. We also show that the expansion lowered the fertility of women both with and without tertiary education, suggesting that the effect did not operate through education alone.
    Keywords: college expansion, marriage market, fertility, Taiwan
    JEL: I23 J13
    Date: 2021–08
  9. By: So Yoon Ahn (University of Illinois at Chicago); Youjin Hahn (Yonsei University); Semee Yoon (Yonsei University)
    Abstract: We study how educational opportunities change adolescents' gender attitudes in Tanzania, using an experiential education program focused on STEM subjects. After the intervention, girls' gender attitudes became more progressive by 0.29 standard deviations, but boys' gender attitudes did not change. Perceived improvement in the labor market opportunities appears to be an important channel to explain the result. The intervention also increased girls' weekly study hours and boosted their interests in STEM-related subjects and occupations. Our results show that providing STEM-related educational opportunities to girls in developing countries can be an effective way of improving their gender attitudes.
    Keywords: STEM, labor market outcomes, developing countries
    JEL: I25 J13 J16
    Date: 2021–09

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