nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒05‒02
six papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Getting Lucky: The Long-Term Consequences of Exam Luck By Fanny Landaud; Éric Maurin; Barton Willage; Alexander L.P. Willén
  2. Sometimes It Works! The Effect of a Reform of the Short Vocational Track on School-to-Work Transition By Comi, Simona Lorena; Grasseni, Mara; Origo, Federica
  3. The Impact of COVID-19 on Community College Enrollment and Student Success: Evidence from California Administrative Data By Bulman, George; Fairlie, Robert W.
  4. The Global Distribution of College Graduate Quality By Paolo Martellini; Todd Schoellman; Jason A. Sockin
  5. Walking the line: Does crossing a high stakes exam threshold matter for labour market outcomes? By Oliver Anderson
  6. Empirical Assessment and Comparison of Educational Efficiency between Major Countries across the World By Chen, Lipeng; Yu, Yang; Addis, Amsalu K.; Guo, Xiao

  1. By: Fanny Landaud; Éric Maurin; Barton Willage; Alexander L.P. Willén
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of exam luck on individuals’ education and labor market success. We leverage unique features of the Norwegian education system that produce random variation in the content of the exams taken by students at the end of high school. Lucky students take exams in subjects they are better at, and we show that this generates significant improvements in both their high school GPA and diploma probability. Subsequently, exam luck generates substantial and persistent wage differentials across otherwise identical individuals. These luck-induced wage effects are of a similar magnitude as those generated by well-known education inputs, such as parental education and teacher quality.
    Keywords: luck, fairness, wage differentials, returns to education, high-stakes exams
    JEL: D63 H52 I21 I23 I24 I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Comi, Simona Lorena (University of Milan Bicocca); Grasseni, Mara (University of Bergamo); Origo, Federica (University of Bergamo)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact on the length of school-to-work transition of a reform that extended from two to three years the short vocational track in Italy in the early 2000s. In the empirical analysis we use the Two Way Fixed Effect methodology to estimate the impact of the reform, exploiting its staggered implementation across regions. The analysis is restricted to graduates from the short vocational track before and after the reform. The results show that the reform had a positive impact and reduced school-to-work transition by around 5 months (a 24% reduction). Moreover, the new short vocational track proved to be extremely effective for migrants and females, whose school-to-work transition was reduced by 1.4 years and 0.9 years, respectively. In implementing the new short vocational track, some regions adopted a quasi-market organization in which private training institutions competed with public schools. This model proved to be more effective in shortening school-to-work transitions, in particular for migrants. This study makes an important contribution to the literature on the labor-market effect of vocational education by showing that lengthening the short vocational track, and changing the overall content of curricula, can speed up school-to-work transition.
    Keywords: school-to-work transition, vocational education, policy evaluation
    JEL: I26 I28 J24
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Bulman, George (University of California, Santa Cruz); Fairlie, Robert W. (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Abstract: Although enrollment at California's four-year public universities mostly remained unchanged by the pandemic, the effects were substantial for students at California Community Colleges, the largest higher education system in the country. This paper provides a detailed analysis of how the pandemic impacted the enrollment patterns, fields of study, and academic outcomes of these students through the first four semesters after it started. Consistent with national trends, enrollment dropped precipitously during the pandemic – the total number of enrolled students fell by 11 percent from fall 2019 to fall 2020 and by another 7 percent from fall 2020 to fall 2021. The California Community College system lost nearly 300,000 students over this period. Our analysis reveals that enrollment reductions were largest among African- American and Latinx students, and were larger among continuing students than first-time students. We find no evidence that having a large online presence prior to the pandemic protected colleges from these negative effects. Enrollment changes were substantial across a wide range of fields and were large for both vocational courses and academic courses that can be transferred to four-year institutions. In terms of course performance, changes in completion rates, withdrawal rates, and grades primarily occurred in the spring of 2020. These findings of the effects of the pandemic at community colleges have implications for policy, impending budgetary pressures, and future research.
    Keywords: pandemic, COVID-19, coronavirus, community college, enrollment, grades, completion, students of color
    JEL: I23 I21
    Date: 2022–03
  4. By: Paolo Martellini; Todd Schoellman; Jason A. Sockin
    Abstract: We measure college graduate quality — the average human capital of a college’s graduates—using the average earnings of the college’s graduates adjusted to a common labor market. Our implementation uses the database of the website Glassdoor, which has the necessary information on earnings and education for non-migrants and migrants who graduate from roughly 3,300 colleges in 66 countries. Graduates of colleges in the richest countries have 50 percent more human capital than graduates of colleges in the poorest countries. Migration reinforces these differences. Poorer countries do not just lose a higher share of their skilled workers; their emigrants are highly positively selected on human capital. Finally, we show that these stocks and flows matter for growth and development by showing that college graduate quality predicts the share of a college’s students who become inventors, engage in entrepreneurship, and become top executives, both within and across countries.
    Keywords: Human capital; Entrepreneurship; Migration; Development; Innovation; College quality
    JEL: J30 O11 O15 J60
    Date: 2022–03–07
  5. By: Oliver Anderson (UCL Centre for Education Policy & Equalising Opportunities)
    Abstract: This paper offers new insight into the link between success in high stakes exams and subsequent education and labour market outcomes. It is the first study to look holistically at the impact of crossing an important high stakes threshold on both academic and vocational education choices and ultimately labour market outcomes. It does so by comparing those either side of a formerly important threshold in the English education system at the end of compulsory schooling (achieving five general certificate of secondary education A* to C passes) which was commonly regarded as the minimum benchmark for continuing into post-compulsory education. I find that crossing this threshold led to an 6.3-6.7 percentage point increase in the proportion of men and women (respectively) going on to take academic qualifications, with little change in the proportion taking vocational qualifications, leading to a net increase in those staying on after compulsory schooling. Women's daily earnings in 2017-18 (11-13 years after leaving compulsory schooling) were 3.1 percentage points higher for those just crossing the threshold, but men's early labour market outcomes were unchanged. The results for men can be explained by low returns to academic qualifications for marginal learners. The findings for women do not disappear after accounting for subsequent education choices, suggesting that crossing the threshold may play a signalling role for employers as well as education institutions.
    JEL: I20 I24
    Date: 2022–04
  6. By: Chen, Lipeng; Yu, Yang; Addis, Amsalu K.; Guo, Xiao
    Abstract: Education is a fundamental factor to enhance a country’s comprehensive national strength and international competitiveness. Recently, several governments have been attracting investments in educational sectors in contemplation of meliorating a country’s overall strength. This study empirically assesses and compares the educational efficiency of 29 major countries across the world using panel data for 2010–2016 by employing data envelopment analysis (DEA) and the super-slacks-based measure (super-SBM) model at the static level combined with the Malmquist index (MI) to investigate educational efficiency at the dynamic level. The results indicate, inter alia, huge average education efficiency differences existed among the studied countries, the highest being Japan (3.2845) and lowest Norway (0.4137), there are differences in the bias of technological progress among the studied countries during the sample period and technological progress directly affects the sustainability of educational efficiency, the growth rate of total factor productivity (TFP) index has been reduced in 2010–2013 but increased in 2014–2016 and techno-logical progress has been the dominant factor influencing the rise of the education TFP index. Based on the results, this study identifies the merits and drawbacks of education efficiency across the sample countries and presents relevant recommendations to promote investment in the education sector and human capital.
    Keywords: Educational efficiency; Super-SBM model; Malmquist index; Total factor productivity (TFP) index; Data envelopment analysis (DEA)
    JEL: I21 I25 I28
    Date: 2022–02

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