nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒03‒14
ten papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Covid-19 pandemic and school closure: learning loss in mathematics in primary education By Dalit Contini; Maria Laura Di Tommaso; Caterina Muratori; Daniela Piazzalunga; Lucia Schiavon
  2. Pell Grants and Labor Supply: Evidence from a Regression Kink By Kofoed, Michael S.
  3. The Long-Run Effects of College Remedial Education By De Benedetto, Marco Alberto; De Paola, Maria; Scoppa, Vincenzo; Smirnova, Janna
  4. Birth Order, Socioeconomic Background and Educational Attainment By Andra Hiriscau; Mihaela Pintea
  5. Targeted Vouchers, Competition Among Schools, and the Academic Achievement of Poor Students By Christopher A. Neilson
  6. Self-Confidence and Motivated Memory Loss: Evidence from Schools By Roy-Chowdhury, V.
  7. Does Over-Education Raise Productivity And Wages Equally ? The Moderating Role Of Workers’ Origin And Immigrants’ Background By Valentine Jacobs; François Rycx; Mélanie Volral
  8. Heterogeneous Peer Effects under Endogenous Selection: An Application to Local and Migrant Children in Elementary Schools in Shanghai By Chen, Yuanyuan; Feng, Shuaizhang; Yang, Chao
  9. Smart Matching Platforms and Heterogeneous Beliefs in Centralized School Choice By Felipe Arteaga; Adam J. Kapor; Christopher A. Neilson; Seth D. Zimmerman
  10. Robots and Unions: The Moderating Effect of Organised Labour on Technological Unemployment By Haapanala, Henri; Marx, Ive; Parolin, Zachary

  1. By: Dalit Contini; Maria Laura Di Tommaso; Caterina Muratori; Daniela Piazzalunga; Lucia Schiavon
    Abstract: Italy was the first Western country hit by Covid-19 in February 2020, responding with a tight lockdown and full school closure until the end of the school year. This paper estimates the effect of the pandemic and school closure on the math skills of primary school pupils in Italy. We compare the learning achievements of two cohorts of pupils, the pre-Covid and the Covid cohort. For both cohorts, we match scores on the national standardised assessment in grade 2 with scores on a standardised test delivered by the researchers at the end of grade 3. The pandemic had a large negative impact on the pupils' performance in mathematics (-0.19 standard deviations). Among children of low-educated parents, the learning loss was larger for the best-performing ones (up to -0.51 s.d.) and for girls (-0.29 s.d.).
    Keywords: COVID-19, school closure, learning loss, mathematics, standardised tests, inequality, primary school
    JEL: I21 I24
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Kofoed, Michael S. (U.S. Military Academy, West Point)
    Abstract: A concern in higher education policy is that students are taking longer to graduate. One possible reason for this observation is an increase in off-campus labor market participation among college students. Financial aid may play a role in the labor/study choice of college students-as college becomes more affordable, students may substitute away from work and toward increased study. I use data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) to exploit nonlinearity in the Pell Grant formula to estimate a regression kink and regression discontinuity designs. I find that conditional on receiving the minimum of $550, students reduce their labor supply by 0.4 hours per week, which translates to a 2.4 percent decrease in hours worked. Students who receive the average Pell Grant of $2,250 are 7.6 percentage points (or around 12 percent) less likely to work and, if working, supply 5.10 less hours per week, or around a 30.67 percent reduction. I find Pell Grants do increase academic achievement, implying that students substitute study time for work.
    Keywords: Pell Grants, financial aid, regression kink, labor supply
    JEL: I22 I23 J20
    Date: 2022–02
  3. By: De Benedetto, Marco Alberto (University of Calabria); De Paola, Maria (University of Calabria); Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria); Smirnova, Janna (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: We investigate the long-run impact of college remedial education on students' academic performance and employment status. By implementing a Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design we show that attending remedial courses positively affects the probability to get a university degree, whereas no significant effect is found on labour market outcomes.
    Keywords: remediation, education, employment, RDD
    JEL: I23 I28 C26
    Date: 2022–02
  4. By: Andra Hiriscau (Department of Economics, William & Mary); Mihaela Pintea (Department of Economics, Florida International University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of birth order on educational attainment in the United States and the underlying mechanism producing these effects. Using a family fixed effects model, we find negative birth order effects on educational outcomes. However, this effect varies depending on the household’s income, being the strongest for households with the highest income and diminishing as households’ income decreases. In addition, we show that the timing of income across childhood is important for completed education, as the largest gap in educational attainment between siblings emerges between those who were born and spent their early childhood in wealthier households.
    Keywords: birth order, human capital development, household income, education
    JEL: D1 I2 J1
    Date: 2022–02
  5. By: Christopher A. Neilson (Princeton University)
    Abstract: I develop a model of supply and demand with imperfect competition to study the primary education market in Chile. I use this framework to empirically analyze how voucher policy affects competitive incentives for schools to supply quality. First, I show descriptive and causal evidence that the introduction of a voucher targeted at poorer students led private schools to improve quality, especially in the poorest neighborhoods. Then, I use my estimated demand model to quantify the mechanisms that incentivized for-profit schools to improve. My estimates indicate that schools mark down quality below the competitive benchmark, and this markdown is larger in poorer areas. The targeted voucher policy induced nuanced changes in the two mechanisms that drive the observed improvements in quality in my model market power and marginal revenue. The results indicate that the policy improved equity by providing more resources and increasing competition in neighborhoods where incentives to invest in quality are weakest.
    Keywords: School Choice, School Competition, Targeted Vouchers, Market Power, Chile
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2021–05
  6. By: Roy-Chowdhury, V.
    Abstract: Motivated beliefs theory suggests the absorption of information may be biased, especially when it bears consequences for the ego. This paper finds empirical support for that hypothesis in the field, using longitudinal data on teenagers’ memories of mathematics report card grades and administrative data on actual grades. Students: i) make more errors in recalling lower grades; ii) update their academic self-confidence in association with recalled grades rather than actual grades; and iii) have more flattering memories of grades when the survey was administered with a longer delay. The first two results bolster recent research in demonstrating that patterns of motivated recall are robust to within-individual estimation. The last result extends the field literature in showing that a large part of the mechanism for motivated information absorption is memory loss over time. A structural model is used to represent memories as the outcome of a subconscious choice problem, disentangling competing motives to enhance self-confidence and respect reality. The estimated model indicates that the costs of memory distortions decrease as time passes after information transmission, and students with low self-confidence had a greatly diminished preference for inflating self-confidence via memory distortions.
    Keywords: motivated beliefs, education, ability, recall, selective memory
    JEL: D91 I21 J83
    Date: 2022–02–21
  7. By: Valentine Jacobs (Université de Mons (Soci&ter) and Université libre de Bruxelles (CEBRIG and DULBEA)); François Rycx (Université libre de Bruxelles (CEBRIG and DULBEA), GLO, IRES, IZA, Soci&ter); Mélanie Volral (Université de Mons (Soci&ter) and DULBEA)
    Abstract: We provide first evidence of the impact of over-education, among natives and immigrants, on firmlevel productivity and wages. We use Belgian linked panel data and rely on the methodology from Hellerstein et al. (1999) to estimate ORU (over-, required, and under-education) equations aggregated at the firm level. Our results show that the over-education wage premium is higher for natives than for immigrants. However, since the differential in productivity gains associated with over-education between natives and immigrants outweighs the corresponding wage premium differential, we conclude – based on OLS and dynamic GMM-SYS estimates – that over-educated native workers are in fact underpaid to a greater extent than their over-educated immigrant counterparts. This conclusion is refined by sensitivity analyses, when testing the role of immigrants’ background (e.g. region of birth, immigrant generation, age at arrival in the host country, tenure).
    Keywords: Immigrants, over-education, productivity, wages, linked panel data, Belgium
    JEL: J24 J71
    Date: 2022–02–07
  8. By: Chen, Yuanyuan (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics); Feng, Shuaizhang (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics); Yang, Chao (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)
    Abstract: This paper develops a model that allows for heterogenous contemporaneous peer effects among different types of agents who are endogenously selected into different peer groups. Using our framework, we characterize the reduced-form coefficient in the peer effect literature and show that it is a priori ambiguous in sign. We apply our approach to migrant and local students in Shanghai, where local students all go to public schools, but migrant students are endogenously selected into either public schools or lower-quality private schools. The results suggest large contemporaneous peer effects among all student groups. We conduct policy experiments to examine the effect of transferring migrant students from private schools to public schools. We show that peer effect can be substantially more important than the school effect in accounting for the total treatment effect of moving to better schools.
    Keywords: peer effects, sample selection, education, migrant children
    JEL: C31 C34 I21
    Date: 2022–02
  9. By: Felipe Arteaga (University of California at Berkley); Adam J. Kapor (Princeton University); Christopher A. Neilson (Princeton University); Seth D. Zimmerman (Yale University)
    Abstract: Many school districts with centralized school choice adopt strategyproof assignment mechanisms to relieve applicants of the need to strategize on the basis of beliefs about their own admissions chances. This paper shows that beliefs about admissions chances shape choice outcomes even when the assignment mechanism is strategyproof by influencing the way applicants search for schools, and that "smart matching platforms" that provide live feedback on admissions chances help applicants search more effectively. Motivated by a model in which applicants engage in costly search for schools and over-optimism can lead to under-search, we use data from a largescale survey of choice participants in Chile to show that learning about schools is hard, that beliefs about admissions chances guide the decision to stop searching, and that applicants systematically underestimate non-placement risk. We then use RCT and RD research designs to evaluate live feedback policies in the Chilean and New Haven choice systems. 22% of applicants submitting applications where risks of non-placement are high respond to warnings by adding schools to their lists, reducing non-placement risk by 58%. These results replicate across settings and over time. Reducing the strategic burden of school choice requires not just strategyproofness inside the centralized system, but also choice supports for the strategic decisions that inevitably remain outside of it.
    Keywords: education, schools
    JEL: D83 H75 I2 J01
    Date: 2021–06
  10. By: Haapanala, Henri (University of Antwerp); Marx, Ive (University of Antwerp); Parolin, Zachary (Bocconi University)
    Abstract: We analyse the moderating effect of trade unions on industrial employment and unemployment in countries facing exposure to industrial robots. Applying random effects within-between regression to a pseudo-panel of observations from 28 advanced democracies over 1998-2019, we find that stronger trade unions in a country are associated with a greater decline in the industry sector employment of young and low-educated workers. We also show that the unemployment rates for low-educated workers remain constant in strongly unionised countries with increasing exposure to robots, whereas in weakly unionised countries, low-educated unemployment declines with robot exposure but from a higher starting point. Our results point to unions exacerbating the insider-outsider effects of technological change within the industrial sector, which however is not fully passed on to unemployment.
    Keywords: trade unions, technological change, outsiders/insiders, dual labour market, unemployment, labour economics
    JEL: J5
    Date: 2022–02

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