nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒02‒14
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Parents' Responses to Teacher Qualifications By Simon Chang; Deborah A. Cobb-Clark; Nicolás Salamanca
  3. Sitting next to a dropout: Study success of students with peers that came to the lecture hall by a different route By Daniel Goller; Andrea Diem; Stefan C. Wolter
  4. School selectivity, peers, and mental health By Aline Bütikofer; Rita Ginja; Fanny Landaud; Katrine Loken
  5. The Effects of Leisure Activities on Academic Performance By Laura Urgelles; Bernd Frick
  6. Academic Performance and Salary Expectations of Competitive and Recreational Athletes vs. Inactive Students By Laura Urgelles; Bernd Frick
  7. Gender, Income, and Numeracy Test Scores By Molly Paterson; Jaai Parasnis; Michelle Rendall
  8. The Impact Evaluation of Vietnam’s Escuela Nueva (New School) Program on Students’ Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills By Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Glewwe, Paul; Lee, Jongwook; Vu, Khoa

  1. By: Simon Chang (The University of Western Australia); Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (The University of Sydney); Nicolás Salamanca (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course Institute of Labor Economics (IZA))
    Abstract: We identify the causal effect of teacher qualifications on parents’ investments in their children. Exploiting a unique, high-stakes educational setting in which teachers are randomly assigned to classes, we show that parents react to more qualified teachers by increasing their financial investments in their children. The key mechanism is an increase in parents’ belief that academic achievement is driven by student effort—for which financial investment is instrumental. However, higher teacher qualifications do not improve student test scores. This is likely due to a negative effect of teacher qualifications on students’ belief in the importance of effort for academic achievement. Our findings uncover various family-wide behavioral reactions to teacher qualifications and highlight the intricacies in educational production within households.
    Keywords: Teacher quality; Student achievement; Parental investment; Beliefs; School effort
    JEL: D10 I21 I24
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: Maria De Paola (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria); Francesca Gioia (Dipartimento di Scienze Giuridiche "Cesare Beccaria", Università di Milano); Vincenzo Scoppa (Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF, Università della Calabria)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools and universities to transit from traditional class-based teaching to online learning. This paper investigates the impact produced by this shift on students’ performance. We use administrative data of four cohorts of students enrolled in an Italian University and adopt a difference-in-differences strategy exploiting the fact that the transition to online teaching has taken place at the beginning of the second semester, while classes were face-to-face in the first semester. We compare students’ performance in the second semester of 2020 with their performance in the first semester and contrast this difference with the difference between second and first semester in the previous academic years. Controlling for a number of variables proxying for COVID-19 incidence and internet connections' quality, we find that online teaching has reduced students’ performance of about 1.4 credits per semester (0.11 Standard Deviations). Freshmen are those who suffer more, while almost no negative effect is found for Master’s Degree students. Since the need for self-discipline in an online environment could cause students’ low achievements, we study the role of procrastination and show that online teaching has been particularly detrimental for students affected by present-bias problems.
    Keywords: Team, Online Teaching, Students’ Performance, COVID-19, Procrastination
    JEL: I21 I23 I28 D90 L86
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: Daniel Goller; Andrea Diem; Stefan C. Wolter
    Abstract: Higher education brings together students from diverse educational backgrounds, including students, who after dropping out of a first course of study, transferred to an academically less demanding institution. While peers are important contributors to student success, the influence of those dropouts with a knowledge advantage on first-time students is largely unexplored. Using an administrative data set covering every individual in the Swiss higher education system, we study the impact of the presence of academically better prepared students on the study success of first-time students. Our identification strategy relies on conditional idiosyncratic variations in the proportion of returning dropouts in university of applied sciences cohorts. We find negative effects of university dropouts who re-enroll in the same subject on the success of first-time students. In contrast, dropouts who change subjects are positively associated to the success of their new peers. Using causal machine learning methods, we find that the effects (a) are non-linear and (b) vary for different proportions of dropouts in university of applied sciences cohorts.
    Keywords: University dropouts, peer effects, better prepared students, causal machine learning
    JEL: A23 C14 I23
    Date: 2022–01
  4. By: Aline Bütikofer (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Rita Ginja (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Bergen); Fanny Landaud (Institute for Fiscal Studies); Katrine Loken (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Bergen)
    Abstract: Although many students suffer from anxiety and depression, and often identify school pressure and concerns about their futures as the main reasons for their worries, little is known about the consequences of a selective school environment on students’ mental health. Using a regression discontinuity analysis in the largest Norwegian cities, we show that eligibility to enroll in a more selective high school increases the probability of enrollment in higher education and decreases the probability of diagnosis or treatment of psychological problems. We provide suggestive evidence that changes in both teacher and peers’ characteristics are likely drivers of these effects.
    Date: 2021–10–08
  5. By: Laura Urgelles (University of Paderborn); Bernd Frick (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of the participation in different leisure activities on university and college students’ average grade. In a first step, we calculate an OLS regression and find that for male students being a member in a fraternity is negatively related with the average grade. Contrarily, being an active member of a political or religious group is posi-tively correlated with the average grade. In a second step we analyze the influence of the two leisure activities most popular among students (music & arts and sports) in more detail. Using an instrumental variables approach, this study finds that the participation in music and arts positively affects female students’ grades. The participation in sports is negatively related with the average grade, although these results are not significant for the female and male subsamples. This paper contributes to the existing knowledge on the subject by providing empirical evidence for the involvement of students in higher education in a range of leisure activities (e.g. music & arts, sports, fraternities, involvement in the university administration, and activity in political and religious groups). Based on these findings, causal inferences about music and arts can be made as well as inferences about participation in sports. As a result, students may rethink their decisions on leisure time allocations. Higher education institutions might also be able to use this information to adapt their funding decisions in order to support academically beneficial activities such as orchestras, theater groups, or musical bands.
    Keywords: leisure activities, higher education, academic performance, instrumental variable regression
    JEL: Z20 Z29 I23 J22 J24 L83 C21 C26
    Date: 2022–02
  6. By: Laura Urgelles (University of Paderborn); Bernd Frick (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: The aim of the present study was to find out whether salary expectations vary with the different types of athletic involvements. Previous studies based on high school pupil data show that the involvement in sports is beneficial for the grade but only to a certain degree. That is, during the high season of sport, athletes’ grades deteriorate (Schultz, 2017). At the college and university level, most studies find a positive relation between athletic participation and grades (Fricke et al., 2018). Labor economists have identified numerous positive effects of athletic participation, including a higher salary for athletes (Kuhn & Weinberger, 2005; Lechner & Downward, 2017) and former athletes (Ewing, 2007). We conducted an own survey among German university and college students during the summer semester 2016 and obtained a data set with information on sports participation for 4,592 students. Based on this information we group our participants in three athlete types: inactive students (IS), recreational athletes (RA) and competitive athletes (CA). We analyze three equations in a system of seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) with a three-stage least square estimator. Our (alternative) dependent variables are the current average grade, the number of semesters needed to acquire the degree, and the salary expectations. We find that CA expect a significantly higher salary than their inactive peers. CA tend to study longer until they achieve their degrees. We also find that the higher the weekly hours spent on sports, the lower is the student’s grade. The higher the amount of hours spent studying however, the better the grade and the faster the student achieves the degree.
    Keywords: higher education, academic performance, athlete types, sports, seemingly unrelated regressions
    JEL: C83 I23 J22 J24 L83 Z20 Z29
    Date: 2022–02
  7. By: Molly Paterson (Monash University); Jaai Parasnis (Department of Economics, Monash University); Michelle Rendall (Department of Economics, Monash University)
    Abstract: The performance of students in numeracy tests reveals gaps based on students’ gender and household income. In this paper, using longitudinal data on Australian children, we show the interrelationship between (i) socioeconomic gaps based on early-life household income, and (ii) the gender gap in numeracy. We find that between Grades 3 to 9, boys have a distinct advantage in numeracy scores over girls, which widens over time. We also find that, by Grade 9, poorer female students are doubly disadvantaged. This disadvantage does not arise because of differences in socioeconomic status between boys and girls but because the effect of a lower socioeconomic background on test scores is significant only for girls. We find that mother’s education and labor force status play an important role in the emergence of gender gaps, at both ends (top and bottom) of the income distribution. We confirm that early life circumstances continue to impact student’s achievement well into adolescence and these exacerbate gender gaps, thus demonstrating the importance of targeted early interventions to address gaps in key skills acquisition for the modern economy.
    Keywords: Australia, parental education, household income, numeracy, gender
    JEL: I20 I24 J16
    Date: 2022–02
  8. By: Dang, Hai-Anh H.; Glewwe, Paul; Lee, Jongwook; Vu, Khoa
    Abstract: This paper evaluates how Vietnam's Escuela Nueva (VNEN) program, an educational reform for primary schools supported by the World Bank, affected the cognitive (mathematics and Vietnamese) and non-cognitive (socioemotional) skills of students in that country. We use propensity score matching to estimate both short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (5-7 years) average treatment effects on the treated (ATT). We find that the impacts of VNEN on students' cognitive skills are relatively small in the short-term, and that they are larger for boys, ethnic minorities, and students in Northern Vietnam. The VNEN program modestly increased primary school students' non-cognitive skills in the short-term; these impacts on non-cognitive skills are sizable and significant for ethnic minority students, although there seems to be little gender difference. The long-term impacts are less precisely estimated, but they appear to fade away, showing little or no impact of the VNEN program on cognitive skills. There is little variation of long-term impacts by gender or geographical region, although the imprecision of the estimates for ethnic minority students does not allow us to rule out large long-term impacts on cognitive skills for those students. The program's impacts on non-cognitive skills also seem to have dissipated in the long-term.
    Date: 2022

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