nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒03‒07
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Socioeconomic Differences in the Long-Term Effects of Teacher Absence on Student Outcomes By Borgen, Nicolai T.; Markussen, Simen; Raaum, Oddbjørn
  2. Wheels of Change: Transforming Girls' Lives with Bicycles By Fiala, Nathan; Garcia-Hernandez, Ana; Narula, Kritika; Prakash, Nishith
  3. No evidence for positive effects of strict tracking and cognitive homogenization on student performance: A critical reanalysis of Esser and Seuring (2020) By Heisig, Jan Paul; Matthewes, Sönke Hendrik
  4. Race and the Mismeasure of School Quality By Joshua Angrist; Peter Hull; Parag A. Pathak; Christopher R. Walters
  5. A Bridge to Graduation: Post-secondary Effects of an Alternative Pathway for Students Who Fail High School Exit Exams By Lincove, Jane Arnold; Mata, Catherine; Cortes, Kalena E.
  6. A 'Ghetto' of One's Own: Communal Violence, Residential Segregation and Group Education Outcomes in India By Kalra, Aarushi
  7. Public Expenditures Efficiency On Education Distribution in Developing Countries By Jean-François Brun; Constantin Thierry Compaore
  8. Does higher education matter for health? By Ji, Sisi; Zhu, Zheyi
  9. Schoolgirls Not Brides: Secondary Education as a Shield Against Child Marriage By Hélène Giacobino; Elise Huillery; Bastien Michel; Mathilde Sage

  1. By: Borgen, Nicolai T.; Markussen, Simen; Raaum, Oddbjørn
    Abstract: While the scarce evidence on teacher absence identifies effects on student short-term test scores, this article studies potential effects on long-term educational attainment. We use population-wide Norwegian register data to study the effects of certified teacher absence during lower secondary school (grades 8-10) on non-completion of upper secondary education by age 21 as well as academic achievement in 10th grade. In a school fixed effects model, we find that an increase in teacher absence of 5 percentage points reduces students' examination grades by 2.3% of a standard deviation and increases the risk of dropout by 0.6 percentage points. While exposure to teacher absence is unrelated to family background, particularly large effects for low SES students drive the overall impact of teacher absence. Teacher absence does not affect the dropout of high SES students. The long-term effects on dropout are partly mediated by relatively large effects of teacher absence on the short-term academic achievements of low SES students at the bottom of the grade distribution. Overall, our findings indicate that reductions in instructional quality increase social inequality in long-term educational outcomes.
    Date: 2021–10–29
  2. By: Fiala, Nathan (University of Connecticut); Garcia-Hernandez, Ana (Universidad del Rosario); Narula, Kritika (Analysis Group); Prakash, Nishith (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: Reducing the gender gap in education is a primary goal for many countries. Two major challenges for many girls are the distance to school and their safety when commuting to school. In Zambia, we studied the impact of providing a bicycle to a school-going girl who lives more than 3 km from the school. We randomized whether a girl received a bicycle with a small cost to her family to cover replacement parts, a bicycle where these costs are covered by the program, and therefore is zero cost to the family, or a control group. One year after the intervention, we find that the bicycle reduced average commuting time to school by 35%, reduced late arrival by 66%, and decreased absenteeism by 27%. We find continued improvement in girls' attendance and reduction in dropouts two, three, and four years after the intervention. We also find evidence of improved math test scores, girls expressing higher feelings of control over their lives and, for those who received bicycles with a small cost to her family, higher levels of aspirations, self-image, and a desire to delay marriage and pregnancy. Heterogeneity analysis by distance to school shows an inverted U-shape for most of the schooling and empowerment results, suggesting greater impact for girls that live further away from school. These results suggest that empowerment outcomes worked through increased attendance in school.
    Keywords: girls' education, attendance, dropout, grade transition, test scores, bicycles, female aspiration, female empowerment, safety, Zambia
    JEL: H42 I21 I25 J16 O15
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: Heisig, Jan Paul; Matthewes, Sönke Hendrik
    Abstract: In a recent contribution, Esser and Seuring (2020) draw on data from the National Educational Panel Study to attack the widespread view that tracking in lower secondary education exacerbates inequalities in student outcomes without improving average student performance. Exploiting variation in the strictness of tracking across 13 of the 16 German federal states (e.g., whether teacher recommendations are binding), Esser and Seuring claim to demonstrate that stricter tracking after grade 4 results in better performance in grade 7 and that this can be attributed to the greater homogeneity of classrooms under strict tracking. We show these conclusions to be untenable: Esser and Seuring’s measures of classroom composition are highly dubious because the number of observed students is very small for many classrooms. Even when we adopt their classroom composition measures, simple corrections and extensions of their analysis reveal that there is no meaningful evidence for a positive relationship between classroom homogeneity and student achievement—the channel supposed to mediate the alleged positive effect of strict tracking. We go on to show that students from more strictly tracking states perform better already at the start of tracking (grade 5), which casts further doubt on the alleged positive effect of strict tracking on learning progress and leaves selection or anticipation effects as more plausible explanations. On a conceptual level, we emphasize that Esser and Seuring’s analysis is limited to states that implement different forms of early tracking and cannot inform us about the relative performance of comprehensive and tracked system that is the focus of most of the previous literature.
    Date: 2021–10–19
  4. By: Joshua Angrist; Peter Hull; Parag A. Pathak; Christopher R. Walters
    Abstract: In large urban districts, schools enrolling more white students tend to have higher school performance ratings. We use an instrumental variables strategy leveraging centralized school assignment to identify the drivers of the correlation between racial make-up and ratings. Estimates from Denver and New York City suggest the relationship between widely-reported school performance ratings and white enrollment shares reflects selection bias rather than causal school value-added. In fact, value-added in these two cities is essentially unrelated to white enrollment shares. A simple regression adjustment is shown to yield school ratings that are uncorrelated with race, while predicting causal value-added as well or better than the corresponding unadjusted measures.
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 I28
    Date: 2021–12
  5. By: Lincove, Jane Arnold (University of Maryland, Baltimore County); Mata, Catherine (University of Maryland); Cortes, Kalena E. (Texas A&M University)
    Abstract: High school exit exams are meant to standardize the quality of public high schools and to ensure that students graduate with a set of basic skills and knowledge. Evidence suggests that a common perverse effect of exit exams is an increase in dropout for students who have difficulty passing tests, with a larger effect on minority students. To mitigate this, some states offer alternative, non-tested pathways to graduation for students who have failed their exit exams. This study investigates the post-secondary effects of an alternative high school graduation program. Among students who initially fail an exit exam, those who eventually graduate through an alternative project-based pathway have lower college enrollment, but similar employment outcomes to students who graduate by retaking and passing their exit exams. Compared to similar students who fail to complete high school, those students who take the alternative pathway have better post-secondary outcomes in both education and employment.
    Keywords: high school exit exams, high school graduation, post-secondary education, labor market outcomes, employment, earnings
    JEL: I21 I24 J18
    Date: 2022–02
  6. By: Kalra, Aarushi
    Abstract: How does ethnic violence and subsequent segregation shape children's lives? Using exogenous variation in communal violence due to a Hindu nationalist campaign tour across India, I show that violence displaces Muslims to segregated neighbourhoods. Surprisingly, I find that post-event, Muslim primary education levels are higher in cities that were more susceptible to violence. For cohorts enrolling after the riots, the probability of attaining primary education decreases by 2.3% every 100 kilometres away from the campaign route. I exploit differences in the planned and actual route to show that this is due to residential segregation of communities threatened by violence.
    Date: 2021–10–29
  7. By: Jean-François Brun (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne); Constantin Thierry Compaore (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne)
    Abstract: The paper assesses the efficiency of public expenditures in decreasing the unequal distribution of education in developing countries over the period 1980–2010. For this purpose, we use partial frontier estimator to compute output and input efficiency scores. Moreover, we analyze the determinants of education output efficiency by using Exponential Fractional Regression Models (EFRM). The results show that on average, developing countries can reduce their education inequality by 30% without changing their public expenditures on education. Developing countries improved their output efficiency over the study period. However, their input efficiency has decreased relatively slightly since 2005. The results also show that logarithm of GDP and its square, urbanization, government stability and democracy are the main determinants of education output efficiency for both logit and Cloglog specifications.
    Keywords: Education inequality,Efficiency,Public spending
    Date: 2021–01–20
  8. By: Ji, Sisi (Cardiff Business School); Zhu, Zheyi (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: Using 6 sweeps from 1958 British NCDS data we adopt a quasi-parametric approach of propensity score matching to estimate causal effects of higher education attainment on a wide range of cohorts’ health-related outcomes at ages 33, 42 and 50. The non-pecuniary benefits to HE attainments on health are substantial. Higher educated cohorts are more likely to report better health, maintain a healthy weight, be non-smokers and to have a higher sense of control on drinking alcohol and are less likely to be obese. We also highlight the importance of investigating incremental returns to HE within the lifetime of cohorts. Effects on self-reported health (SRH), BMI, drinking alcohol increase with age but continuously decrease with smoking frequency. When taking into account gender heterogeneity, HE has a larger effect on BMI and likelihood of being obese for males and a greater effect on SRH and drinking alcohol and smoking frequencies for females. Furthermore, we find no significant evidence that HE reduces the likelihood of depression, both for males and females.
    Keywords: Casual effect; Health; Higher Education; Propensity Score matching
    JEL: C21 I12 I23 I26
    Date: 2022–02
  9. By: Hélène Giacobino (J-PAL); Elise Huillery (Université Paris Dauphine – PSL and J-PAL); Bastien Michel (Paris School of Economics and Aarhus University); Mathilde Sage (Université Paris Dauphine – PSL)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether eliminating financial and logistical barriers to secondary education can reduce child marriage. Using a randomized controlled trial including 285 localities in Niger, which ranks last in gender development indices, we show that offering a scholarship upon admission to middle school halves both school dropout and child marriage. It also raises girls’ aspirations for themselves as well as mothers’ aspirations for their daughter, plausibly due to changes in girls’ human capital and preferences. As we find no evidence of displacement effects on non-beneficiary adolescent girls, the scholarship creates unambiguously large social benefits.
    Keywords: Child Marriage, Education, Women Empowerment, Externalities, Niger
    JEL: I2 J1
    Date: 2022–01

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