nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒09‒27
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Returns to College(s): Relative Value-Added and Match Effects in Higher Education By Jack Mountjoy; Brent R. Hickman
  2. A Second Chance? The Labor Market Outcomes of Reforming Access to Adult Education By Patrick Bennett; Richard Blundell; Kjell G. Salvanes
  3. The Faster the Better? The Effect of Ultra-Fast Broadband on Students’ Performance By Carlo Cambini; Lorien Sabatino; Sarah Zaccagni
  4. Student Employment and Education: A Meta-Analysis By Katerina Kroupova; Tomas Havranek; Zuzana Irsova
  5. Does Education Prevent Job Loss During Downturns? Evidence from Exogenous School Assignments and COVID-19 in Barbados By Diether W. Beuermann; Nicolas L. Bottan; Bridget Hoffmann; C. Kirabo Jackson; Diego A. Vera Cossio
  6. Life Course Effects Of The Lanham Preschools: What The First Government Preschool Effort Can Tell Us About Universal Early Care And Education Today By Taletha M. Derrington; Alison Huang; Joseph P. Ferrie
  7. Community Colleges and Upward Mobility By Jack Mountjoy
  8. The Pandemic's Effect on Demand for Public Schools, Homeschooling, and Private Schools By Tareena Musaddiq; Kevin Stange; Andrew Bacher-Hicks; Joshua S. Goodman
  9. Improving Workplace Climate in Large Corporations: A Clustered Randomized Intervention By Sule Alan; Gozde Corekcioglu; Matthias Sutter

  1. By: Jack Mountjoy; Brent R. Hickman
    Abstract: Students who attend different colleges in the U.S. end up with vastly different economic outcomes. We study the role of relative value-added across colleges within student choice sets in producing these outcome disparities. Linking high school, college, and earnings registries spanning the state of Texas, we identify relative college value-added by comparing the outcomes of students who apply to and are admitted by the same set of institutions, as this approach strikingly balances observable student potential across college treatments and renders our extensive set of covariates irrelevant as controls. Methodologically, we develop a framework for identifying and interpreting value-added under varying assumptions about match effects and sorting gains. Empirically, we estimate a relatively tight, though non-degenerate, distribution of relative value-added across the wide diversity of Texas public universities. Selectivity poorly predicts value-added within student choice sets, with only a fleeting selectivity earnings premium fading to zero after a few years in the labor market. Non-peer college inputs like instructional spending more strongly predict value-added, especially conditional on selectivity. Colleges that boost BA completion, especially in STEM majors, also tend to boost earnings. Finally, we probe the potential for (mis)match effects by allowing value-added schedules to vary by student characteristics.
    JEL: C21 H75 I23 I24 I26 J24 J31 J62
    Date: 2021–09
  2. By: Patrick Bennett; Richard Blundell; Kjell G. Salvanes
    Abstract: Developing effective tools to address prime-aged high school dropouts is a key policy question. We leverage high quality Norwegian register data to examine the labour market outcomes of expanding access to adult workers and exploit a large policy reform which greatly enabled access to high school education for adults. Our focus is on women and the results show a large and significant increase in education investments with a strong rise in the rate of college completion, leading to higher earnings, increased employment, and decreased fertility. They also point to an effective policy to reduce the gender earnings gap.
    Keywords: adult education, returns to education, fertility, gender inequality
    JEL: I26 I28 J13
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Carlo Cambini (Department of Production and Management Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy); Lorien Sabatino (Department of Production and Management Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy); Sarah Zaccagni (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the impact of ultra-fast broadband (UBB) access on student performance. These networks are based on optical fiber, allowing significantly higher speed compared to traditional copper-line connections. Our empirical analysis leverages on a unique dataset that combines information on broadband diffusion with data on student performance in 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade for the period 2012-2017. We exploit the staggered roll-out of UBB, starting from 2015. Through an event study approach, we find evidence of endogeneity between student performance and broadband diffusion. We deal with this issue through an instrumental variable approach that exploits plausibly exogenous variation in the diffusion of the essential UBB input. Our results suggest that ultra-fast connections significantly decrease students’ performance in Mathematics and Italian language in 8th grade. Instead, we do not find any significant effect in 2nd and 5th grade. Male students from low-educated parental backgrounds are those more adversely affected, especially if they attend schools with a low IT usage.
    Keywords: ultra-fast broadband, internet, student performance, instrumental variables
    JEL: C23 C26 I21 I28 J24
    Date: 2021–09–16
  4. By: Katerina Kroupova (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic); Tomas Havranek (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic & CEPR); Zuzana Irsova (Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: Educational outcomes have many determinants, but one that most young people can readily control is choosing whether to work while in school. Sixty-nine studies have estimated the effect, but results vary from large negative to positive estimates. We show that the results are systematically driven by context, publication bias, and treatment of endogeneity. Studies ignoring endogeneity suffer from an upward bias, which is almost fully compensated by publication selection in favor of negative estimates. Net of the biases, the literature suggests a negative but economically inconsequential mean effect. The effect is more negative for high-intensity employment and educational outcomes measured as decisions to dropout, but it is positive in Germany. To derive these results we collect 861 previously reported estimates together with 32 variables reflecting estimation context, use recently developed nonlinear techniques to correct for publication bias, and employ Bayesian and frequentist model averaging to a sign a pattern to the heterogeneity in the literature.
    Keywords: student employment, educational outcomes, meta-analysis, publication bias, Bayesian model averaging
    JEL: C83 I21 J22
    Date: 2021–09
  5. By: Diether W. Beuermann; Nicolas L. Bottan; Bridget Hoffmann; C. Kirabo Jackson; Diego A. Vera Cossio
    Abstract: Canonical human capital theories posit that education, by enhancing worker skills, reduces the likelihood that a worker will be laid-off during times of economic change. Yet, this has not been demonstrated causally. We link administrative education records from 1987 through 2002 to nationally representative surveys conducted before and after COVID-19 onset in Barbados to explore the causal impact of improved education on job loss during this period. Using a regression discontinuity (RD) design, Beuermann and Jackson (2020) show that females (but not males) who score just above the admission threshold for more selective schools in Barbados attain more years of education than those that scored just below (essentially holding initial ability fixed). Here, in follow-up data, we show that these same females (but not males) are much less likely to have lost a job after the onset of COVID-19. We show that these effects are not driven by sectoral changes, or changes in labor supply. Because employers observe incumbent worker productivity, these patterns are inconsistent with pure education signalling, and suggest that education enhances worker skill.
    JEL: H0 I2 J0
    Date: 2021–09
  6. By: Taletha M. Derrington; Alison Huang; Joseph P. Ferrie
    Abstract: We examine the effects WWII Lanham Act Nursery Schools (LNS) on high school and young adult educational and labor outcomes of participants in the landmark Project Talent (PT) study. All PT places that received funding for LNS schools and all PT places that did not were identified by examining program records and contemporaneous newspaper accounts. Focusing on students who in 1960 attended high school in the same city or town where they were born, we estimate intent to treat effects of access to LNS preschool on high school academic and social emotional outcomes and on educational attainment and labor outcomes at five and eleven years following high school graduation. Preschool boosts high school academic outcomes for men and (in at least one specification) income 11 years after high school graduation. For women, preschool exposure had a negative effect on some social emotional outcomes in high school. We found no or inconsistent effects for other outcomes. The Lanham experience demonstrates that even with the less sophisticated understanding of child development of the early 1940s, the first universal, government-funded preschool program had positive impacts on boys’ outcomes at least through high school. Given today’s expanded understanding of child development and focus on the quality of early care and education programming, these findings provide some optimism as communities, states, and the federal government contemplate expanding funding for today’s early learning environments.
    JEL: I21 I26 J13 N32
    Date: 2021–09
  7. By: Jack Mountjoy
    Abstract: Two-year community colleges enroll nearly half of all first-time undergraduates in the United States, but to ambiguous effect: low persistence rates and the potential for diverting students from 4-year institutions cast ambiguity over 2-year colleges' contributions to upward mobility. This paper develops a new instrumental variables approach to identifying causal effects along multiple treatment margins, and applies it to linked education and earnings registries to disentangle the net impacts of 2-year college access into two competing causal margins: significant value-added for 2-year entrants who otherwise would not have attended college, but negative impacts on students diverted from immediate 4-year entry.
    JEL: C31 C36 I23 I24 I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2021–09
  8. By: Tareena Musaddiq; Kevin Stange; Andrew Bacher-Hicks; Joshua S. Goodman
    Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic drastically disrupted the functioning of U.S. public schools, potentially changing the relative appeal of alternatives such as homeschooling and private schools. Using longitudinal student-level administrative data from Michigan and nationally representative data from the Census Household Pulse Survey, we show how the pandemic affected families’ choices of school sector. We document four central facts. First, public school enrollment declined noticeably in fall 2020, with about 3 percent of Michigan students and 10 percent of kindergartners using other options. Second, most of this was driven by homeschooling rates jumping substantially, driven largely by families with children in elementary school. Third, homeschooling increased more where schools provided in-person instruction while private schooling increased more where instruction was remote, suggesting heterogeneity in parental concerns about children’s physical health and instructional quality. Fourth, kindergarten declines were highest among low income and Black families while declines in other grades were highest among higher income and White families, highlighting important heterogeneity by students’ existing attachment to public schools. Our results shed light on how families make schooling decisions and imply potential longer-run disruptions to public schools in the form of decreased enrollment and funding, changed composition of the student body, and increased size of the next kindergarten cohort.
    JEL: I20 I24
    Date: 2021
  9. By: Sule Alan; Gozde Corekcioglu; Matthias Sutter
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of a program aiming at improving the workplace climate in corporations. The program is implemented via a clustered randomized design and evaluated with respect to the prevalence of support networks, antisocial behavior, perceived relational atmosphere, and turnover rate. We find that professionals in treated corporations are less inclined to engage in toxic competition, exhibit higher reciprocity toward each other, report higher workplace satisfaction and a more collegial atmosphere. Treated firms have fewer socially isolated individuals and a lower employee turnover. The program's success in improving leader-subordinate relationships emerges as a likely mechanism to explain these results.
    Keywords: workplace climate, relational dynamics, leadership quality, RCT
    JEL: C93 M14 M53
    Date: 2021

This nep-edu issue is ©2021 by Nádia Simões. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.