nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒04‒18
six papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Gifted Children Programs’ Short and Long-Term Impact: Higher Education, Earnings, and the Knowledge-Economy By Lavy, V; Goldstein, Y
  2. Do Second Chances Pay Off? Evidence from a Natural Experiment with Low-Achieving Students By Bizopoulou, Aspasia; Megalokonomou, Rigissa; Simion, Stefania
  3. The intergenerational transmission of cognitive skills: An investigation of the causal impact of families on student outcomes By Hanushek, Eric Alan; Jacobs, Babs; Schwerdt, Guido; van der Velden, Rolf; Vermeulen, Stan; Wiederhold, Simon
  4. The Making of Civic Virtues: A School-Based Experiment in Three Countries By Briole, Simon; Gurgand, Marc; Maurin, Eric; McNally, Sandra; Ruiz-Valenzuela, Jenifer; Santín, Daniel
  5. Paying Students to Stay in School By Andrew McKendrick
  6. What a difference three years of economics education make: Evidence from lower-track schools in Germany By Eberle, Mira; Oberrauch, Luis

  1. By: Lavy, V (University of Warwick, Hebrew University, and NBER); Goldstein, Y (Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: We estimate the short-run and longer-term effects of gifted children programs (GCP) in high schools in Israel. The program tracks the most talented students into gifted children classes, starting 10th grade. They receive more resources in smaller classes, a unique curriculum, access to high-quality teachers, and courses in universities. We use test scores in exams that measure cognitive achievements or intelligence and ability, measured in different ages, to select a comparison group of equally gifted students from other cities where GCP was not offered at the time. Based on administrative data, we follow 22 cohorts of GCP participants who graduated high school in 1992-2013. We measure treatment effects on outcomes, ranging from high school to the labor market in their 30s and 40s. Remarkably, the results we obtain do not vary when using alternative measures of ability or in the age, they are assessed. The evidence on the impact of GCP on academic achievements in high school is mixed, some compulsory subjects are affected negatively, and fewer are affected positively. However, these estimates are very small, implying a tiny effect size. These results stand in contrast to the abundance of educational resources enjoyed by GCP participants, in addition to better peers in terms of SES background and outcomes. We discuss in this context the objective of the program to widen the scope and area of interest of its participants beyond the regular curriculum. We also highlight the potential adverse effect of the Big-Fish-Little Pond Effect. In the longer run, we find meaningful positive effects of GCP on higher education attainment. All gifted children achieve a BA degree, but a much higher share of GCP participants graduate with a double major. The effect of getting a Ph.D. is also positive, driven by more Ph.D. degrees in Elite Universities. GCP participants study more math, computer, and physical sciences but engage less in engineering programs. The net effect on STEM degrees is, therefore, zero. However, a much higher share of GCP participants graduated with two STEM majors. This evidence, along with the significant effect on a double major, suggests that GCP enhances the impact of “multipotentiality,†which characterizes many gifted adolescents. We find no effect of GCP on employment and earnings. Nor do we find that they work more than other equally talented children in the various sectors of the knowledge economy: hi-tech manufacturing, hi-tech services, and academic institutions. Finally, we examine marriage and family formation patterns as mediating effects and find no discerned GCP effects. In the short-term, medium-run, and into adulthood, these comprehensive sets of results are not qualitatively different for females and males gifted children who participated in GCP. Treatment heterogeneity by giftedness level allows us to compare our results to earlier studies that used regression discontinuity designs to identify GCP effects on only marginally eligible students for such programs. We find meaningful differences in treatment effect between marginal and inframarginal gifted children, suggesting that it is essential to examine GCP’s impact over the whole spectrum of Giftedness. Importantly, we find that GCP similarly affects low and high-SES students. Half of the students among the six youngest cohorts in our sample started the program in middle school, while the others did that in high school. We find no differences in GCP effect on high school and university outcomes by the length of the program.
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Bizopoulou, Aspasia (VATT, Helsinki); Megalokonomou, Rigissa (University of Queensland); Simion, Stefania (University of Bristol)
    Abstract: In several countries, students who fail end-of-high-school high-stakes exams are faced with the choice of retaking them or forgoing postsecondary education. We explore exogenous variation generated by a 2006 policy that imposed a performance threshold for admission into postsecondary education in Greece to estimate the effect of retaking exams on a range of outcomes. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design and novel administrative data, we find that low-achieving students who retake national exams improve their performance by half a standard deviation, but do not receive offers from higher quality postsecondary placements. The driving mechanism for these results stems from increased competition.
    Keywords: postsecondary education admission, low-achieving students, exogenous policy, fuzzy regression discontinuity design
    JEL: J16 I21 I23
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Hanushek, Eric Alan; Jacobs, Babs; Schwerdt, Guido; van der Velden, Rolf; Vermeulen, Stan; Wiederhold, Simon
    Abstract: The extensive literature on intergenerational mobility highlights the importance of family linkages but fails to provide credible evidence about the underlying family factors that drive the pervasive correlations. We employ a unique combination of Dutch survey and registry data that links math and language skills across generations. We identify the connection between cognitive skills of parents and their children by exploiting within-family between-subject variation in these skills. A causal interpretation of the between-subject estimates is reinforced by novel IV estimation that isolates variation in parent cognitive skills due to teacher and classroom peer quality. The between-subject and IV estimates of the key intergenerational persistence parameter are strikingly similar and close at about 0.1. Finally, we show the strong influence of family skill transmission on children's choices of STEM fields.
    Keywords: intergenerational mobility,parent-child skill transmission,causality,STEM
    JEL: I24 I26 J12 J24 J62
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Briole, Simon (Paris School of Economics); Gurgand, Marc (Paris School of Economics); Maurin, Eric (Paris School of Economics); McNally, Sandra (University of Surrey); Ruiz-Valenzuela, Jenifer (London School of Economics); Santín, Daniel (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: With the rise of polarization and extremism, the question of how best to transmit civic virtues across generations is more acute than ever. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that schools can be the place for this transmission by empowering students and gathering them around concrete and democratically chosen objectives. We draw on an RCT implemented in a large sample of middle schools in three European countries. The evaluated program leads students to carry out collective citizenship projects in their immediate communities under the supervision of teachers trained in student-centered teaching methods. The program significantly increases student altruism, their political self-efficacy as well as the quality of their relationship with their classmates and their respect for the rules of school life (less sanctions and absenteeism). In all three countries, the benefits are greater for students with the highest level of altruism and interest in politics at baseline. Investments made at an early age appear to be complement to those made during adolescence for the production of civic virtues.
    Keywords: citizenship, education, teaching practices, project-based learning, RCT, youth
    JEL: I20 I24 J24
    Date: 2022–03
  5. By: Andrew McKendrick
    Abstract: I examine the impact of the Education Maintenance Allowance, a conditional cash transfer in England that was available nationally from 2004 to 2011, on a range of short- and long-term outcomes. Average treatment effects are identified, assuming unconfoundedness, using Inverse Probability Weighting Regression Adjustment. Treatment effect heterogeneity is examined using Causal Forests, a new machine learning approach. I find beneficial impacts of EMA on retention, university attendance and, for the first time, insecure work, as measured by the probability of being on a “zero hours†contract. Other outcomes (educational attainment, risky behaviours, and labour market outcomes) are found not to be impacted.
    Keywords: Education Maintenance Allowance, Causal Forest, Heterogeneity, Labour Market Outcomes, Job Security, Risky Behaviours
    JEL: H52 I12 I28 J22
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Eberle, Mira; Oberrauch, Luis
    Abstract: A large body of literature documents that school-based financial education generally improves financial knowledge, yet little is known about the effect of instruction in the broader economic domain. This paper evaluates the effect of a curriculum reform introducing mandatory economic education on economic competence and knowledge in German lower-track schools, in which students have lower socio-economic status and end up having lower incomes when entering the workforce. While we find small but positive effects on basic economic knowledge and interest in economic matters, we observe no effects on competences, i.e., factual and procedural knowledge in the economic domain. Quantile regressions reveal that the effect on students’ knowledge is widely consistent across the entire distribution. With regard to socio-demographic characteristics, we observe strong gender differences already before adulthood.
    Keywords: Economic education,economic knowledge,gender gap
    JEL: A21 I21
    Date: 2022

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