nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2021‒11‒01
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Gender and Choices in Higher Education By Anne Boring; Jennifer Brown
  2. How age at school entry affects future educational and socioemotional outcomes: Evidence from PISA. By Pauline Givord
  3. An intensive, school-based learning camp targeting academic and non-cognitive skills evaluated in a randomized trial By Hvidman, Charlotte; Koch, Alexander; Nafziger, Julia; Albeck Nielsen, Søren; Rosholm, Michael
  4. You Are Who You Eat With: Academic Peer Effects from School Lunch Lines By Presler, Jonathan
  5. Impact evaluation in a multi-input multi-output setting: Evidence on the effect of additional resources for schools By Giovanna D'Inverno; Mike Smet; Kristof De Witte
  6. What Shapes Cognitions of Climate Change in Europe? Ideology, Morality and the Role of Educational Attainment By Heinz Welsch
  7. It All Starts with Beliefs: Addressing the Roots of Educational Inequities by Shifting Parental Beliefs By John A. List; Julie Pernaudet; Dana Suskind
  8. School Food Policy Affects Everyone: Retail Responses to the National School Lunch Program By Jessie Handbury; Sarah Moshary

  1. By: Anne Boring (OFCE - Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques - Sciences Po - Sciences Po); Jennifer Brown (University of Utah)
    Abstract: Data on the labor market outcomes of university graduates show that gender pay gaps appear soon after graduation in nearly every field of study. We provide descriptive evidence of a plausible cause of the gender starting-salary gap: choices within an educational setting that differ between male and female students, even after accounting for academic specialization. We examine the choices of undergraduate students at a selective French university who are competing for seats at foreign universities to fulfill a mandatory exchange program requirement. Holding fixed students' field of study, we find that average and high-ability female students request exchange universities that are worse-ranked than their male peers. A survey eliciting students' preferences suggests that male students prioritize the academic characteristics of potential exchange universities more often, whereas similar female students consider both the academic and non-academic characteristics of exchange destinations. We explore the short-term consequences of these differing preferences using a simulation that assigns students to exchange seats solely on university ranking and students' academic performance. Female students' assignment improves almost uniformly, whereas top-performing male students face increased competition for seats and male students with average grades face less competition as high-achieving female students shift towards better-ranked assignments.
    Keywords: gender gaps,choices,higher education
    Date: 2021–06–01
  2. By: Pauline Givord (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (INSEE))
    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: 2021–05–01
  3. By: Hvidman, Charlotte; Koch, Alexander; Nafziger, Julia; Albeck Nielsen, Søren; Rosholm, Michael
    JEL: I21 C21 D91 I28
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Presler, Jonathan (Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research, Saint Louis University)
    Abstract: Using daily lunch transaction data from NYC public schools, I determine which students frequently stand next to one another in the lunch line. I use this `revealed' friendship network to estimate academic peer effects in elementary school classrooms, improving on previous work by defining not only where social connections exist, but the relative strength of these connections. Equally weighting all peers in a reference group assumes that all peers are equally important and may bias estimates by underweighting important peers and overweighting unimportant peers. I find that students who eat together are important influencers of one another's academic performance, with stronger effects in math than in reading. Further exploration of the mechanisms supports my claim that these are friendship networks. I also compare the influence of friends from different periods in the school year and find that connections occurring around standardized testing dates are most influential on test scores.
    Keywords: Peer effect; network; education; lunch line
    JEL: C31 I21
    Date: 2021–06–01
  5. By: Giovanna D'Inverno; Mike Smet; Kristof De Witte
    Abstract: This paper proposes an innovative approach to evaluate the causal impact of a policy change in a multi-input multi-output setting. It combines insights from econometric impact evaluation techniques and efficiency analysis. In particular, the current paper accounts for endogeneity issues by introducing a quasi-experimental setting within a conditional multi-input multi-output efficiency framework and by decomposing the overall efficiency between ‘group-specific’ efficiency (i.e., reflecting internal managerial inefficiency) and ‘program’ efficiency (i.e., explaining the impact of the policy intervention on performance). This framework allows the researcher to interpret the efficiency scores in terms of causality. The practical usefulness of the methodology is demonstrated through an application to secondary schools in Flanders, Belgium. By exploiting an exogenous threshold, the paper examines whether additional resources for disadvantaged students impact the efficiency of schools. The empirical results indicate that additional resources do not causally influence efficiency around the threshold.
    Keywords: Data envelopment analysis, Impact evaluation, Efficiency, Causal inference, Equal Educational Opportunities
    Date: 2020–08–31
  6. By: Heinz Welsch (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Cognitions about climate change are of critical importance for climate change mitigation as they influence climate-relevant behaviors and the support of climate policy. Using about 30,000 observations from a large-scale representative survey from 23 European countries, this study provides two major findings. First, important policy-relevant climate change cognitions do not only differ by individuals’ ideological identity (left versus right) but – independently – by their moral identity, that is, the pattern of endorsement of the moral foundations: Care, Fairness, Liberty, Loyalty, Authority and Purity/Sanctity. In particular, controlling for ideological position the cognitions that the world climate is changing, that climate change is human-made, and that climate change impacts are bad are significantly negatively related to stronger endorsement of the Authority and Sanctity foundations while being positively related to stronger endorsement of the Loyalty and Fairness foundations. Second, not only the ideology-related cognitive divide but the morality-related divide is larger in individuals with tertiary education, consistent with the idea that individuals with greater science literacy and numeracy use these skills to adjust their cognitions to their group identity. The finding that better education may amplify rather than attenuate the ideology and morality dependence of decision-relevant climate change cognitions sheds doubt on the proposition that better education unambiguously furthers the prospects for climate change mitigation.
    Keywords: climate change cognition; identity-protective cognition; ideological identity; moral identity; moral foundations; educational attainment
    Date: 2021–10
  7. By: John A. List; Julie Pernaudet; Dana Suskind
    Abstract: Socioeconomic inequalities in child development crystallize at early stages, with associated disparities in parental investment in children. A key to understanding the data patterns is to document the sources underlying the observed inequalities. We first show that there are dramatic differences in parental beliefs across socioeconomic backgrounds (SES), with parents of higher SES being more likely to believe that parental investments impact child development. We then use two field experiments targeted to low-SES families to explore the mutability of such beliefs and their link to parental investments. In both cases, we find that parental beliefs about child development are malleable. The less intensive version of the program based on educational videos changes parental beliefs, but fails to lastingly increase parental investments and child outcomes. By contrast, in the more intensive version of our program combining home visits and feedback, the augmented beliefs are associated with enriched parent-child interactions and improved vocabulary, math, and social-emotional skills for the children. Together, these results suggest that changing parental beliefs can be an important pathway to raising parental investments and reducing socioeconomic gaps in children’s skills, but that simple informational policies may not be sufficient.
    JEL: C93 D83 I21 J13
    Date: 2021–10
  8. By: Jessie Handbury; Sarah Moshary
    Abstract: We study the private market response to the National School Lunch Program, documenting economically meaningful spillovers to non-recipients. We focus on the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), an expansion of the lunch program under the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Under the CEP, participating schools offer free lunch to all students. We leverage both the staggered roll-out and eligibility criterion for the CEP, which is limited to schools where at least 40% of students participate in other means-tested welfare programs. We find that local adoption of the CEP causes households with children to reduce their grocery purchases, leading to a 10% decline in grocery sales at large retail chains. Retailers respond with chain-level price adjustments: chains with the most exposure lower prices by 2.5% across all outlets in the years following adoption, so that the program's welfare benefits propagate spatially. Using a stylized model of grocery demand, we estimate that, by 2016, the indirect benefit had reduced grocery costs for the median household by approximately 4.5%.
    JEL: H42 I38 L11 R32
    Date: 2021–10

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.