nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒05‒23
twelve papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. A Thousand Cuts: Cumulative Lead Exposure Reduces Academic Achievement By Alex Hollingsworth; Mike Huang; Ivan Rudik; Nicholas J. Sanders
  2. Do Management Practices Matter in Further Education? By McNally, Sandra; Schmidt, Luis; Valero, Anna
  3. Austerity Harmed Student Achievement By Caterina Pavese; Enrico Rubolino
  4. Educational Inequality By Blanden, Jo; Doepke, Matthias; Stuhler, Jan
  5. The Colonial Legacy of Education: Evidence from of Tunisia By Mhamed Ben Salah; Cédric Chambru; Maleke Fourati
  6. Does Religious Diversity Improve Trust and Performance? Evidence from Lebanon By Canaan, Serena; Deeb, Antoine; Mouganie, Pierre
  7. Enhanced Intergenerational Occupational Mobility through Trade Expansion: Evidence from Vietnam By Mitra, Devashish; Pham, Hoang; Ural Marchand, Beyza
  8. "Earthquake exposure and schooling: impacts and mechanisms". By Khalifany-Ash Shidiqi; Antonio Di Paolo; Álvaro Choi
  9. A Partial Identification Approach to Identifying the Determinants of Human Capital Accumulation: An Application to Teachers By Nirav Mehta
  10. When Parents Decide: Gender Differences in Competitiveness By Jonas Tungodden; Alexander Willén; Alexander L.P. Willén
  11. The Academic Market and the Rise of Universities in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1000-1800) By David de la Croix; Frédéric Docquier; Alice Fabre; Robert Stelter
  12. Diving in the minds of recruiters: What triggers gender stereotypes in hiring? By Van Borm, Hannah; Baert, Stijn

  1. By: Alex Hollingsworth; Mike Huang; Ivan Rudik; Nicholas J. Sanders
    Abstract: We study how ambient lead exposure impacts learning in elementary school by leveraging a natural experiment where a large national automotive racing organization switched from leaded to unleaded fuel. We find increased levels and duration of exposure to lead negatively affect academic performance, shift the entire academic performance distribution, and negatively impact both younger and older children. The average treated student in our setting has an expected income reduction of $5,200 in present value terms. Avoiding said treatment has an effect size similar to improving teacher value added by one-fourth of a standard deviation, reducing class size by 5 students, or increasing school spending per pupil by $750. The marginal impacts of lead are larger in impoverished, non-white counties, and among students with greater duration of exposure, even after controlling for the total quantity of exposure.
    Keywords: education, air pollution, lead, test scores, children
    JEL: I14 I21 Q51 Q53
    Date: 2022
  2. By: McNally, Sandra (University of Surrey); Schmidt, Luis (London School of Economics); Valero, Anna (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: Further Education colleges are a key way in which 16-19 year olds acquire skills in the UK (much like US Community Colleges), especially those from low income backgrounds. Yet, little is known about what could improve performance in these institutions. We design and conduct the world's first management practices survey in these colleges (based on the World Management Survey) and match this to administrative longitudinal data on over 40,000 students. Value added regressions with rich controls suggest that structured management matters for educational outcomes (e.g. upper secondary qualifications), especially for students from low-income backgrounds. In a hypothetical scenario where a learner is moved from a college at the 10th percentile of management practices to the 90th, this would be associated with 8% higher probability of achieving a good high school qualification, which is nearly half of the educational gap between those from poor and non-poor backgrounds. Hence, improving management practices may be an important channel for reducing inequalities.
    Keywords: management practices, further education
    JEL: I20 J24
    Date: 2022–04
  3. By: Caterina Pavese; Enrico Rubolino
    Abstract: This paper shows that austerity-induced spending cuts harmed student performance in standardized national tests. To identify this relationship, we use cross-municipality variation in the timing of eligibility for the Italian Domestic Stability Pact as an exogenous shifter of local public spending. We then compare test scores for students that were from the same municipality but were exposed to different levels of austerity spending cuts, based on their birth year. Combining administrative data on public spending and test scores with an instrumental variable model, we show that the implied test score impact of austerity is between 2.1-2.4 (1.7- 1.9) percent of a standard deviation per 1,000 euros per-pupil reduction in current (capital) spending. The effects are more pronounced for children with limited resources at home. By contrast, effects are substantially dampened in municipalities with high-skill politicians and school principals, which are more likely to allocate the marginal spending cut toward less productive spending categories.
    Keywords: public spending, test scores
    JEL: I22 I24 H52 H75
    Date: 2022–05
  4. By: Blanden, Jo (University of Surrey); Doepke, Matthias (Northwestern University); Stuhler, Jan (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This chapter provides new evidence on educational inequality and reviews the literature on the causes and consequences of unequal education. We document large achievement gaps between children from different socio-economic backgrounds, show how patterns of educational inequality vary across countries, time, and generations, and establish a link between educational inequality and social mobility. We interpret this evidence from the perspective of economic models of skill acquisition and investment in human capital. The models account for different channels underlying unequal education and highlight how endogenous responses in parents' and children's educational investments generate a close link between economic inequality and educational inequality. Given concerns over the extended school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, we also summarize early evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children's education and on possible long-run repercussions for educational inequality.
    Keywords: educational inequality, education finance, social mobility
    JEL: I21 I24 J62
    Date: 2022–04
  5. By: Mhamed Ben Salah (IHEID, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva); Cédric Chambru (University of Zurich); Maleke Fourati (Mediterranean School of Business, South Mediterranean University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of exposure to colonial public primary education on contemporary education outcomes in Tunisia. We assemble a new data set on the location of schools with the number of pupils by origin, along with population data during the French protectorate (1881-1956). We match those with contemporary data on education at both district and individual level. We find that the exposure of local population to colonial public primary education has a long-lasting effect on educational outcomes, even when controlling for colonial investments in education. A one per cent increase in Tunisian enrolment rate in 1931 is associated with a 1.69 percentage points increase in literacy rate in 2014. Our results are driven by older generations, namely individuals who attended primary schools before the 1989/91 education reform. We suggest that the efforts undertaken by the Tunisian government after independence to promote schooling finally paid off after 40 years and overturned the effects of history.
    Keywords: Colonial investment; Primary education; Tunisia
    JEL: D10 N37 N47
    Date: 2022–05–16
  6. By: Canaan, Serena (Simon Fraser University); Deeb, Antoine (University of California, Santa Barbara); Mouganie, Pierre (Simon Fraser University)
    Abstract: Religious divisions have long played a primary role in major conflicts throughout much of the world. Intergroup contact may increase trust between members of different religions. However, evidence on how inter-religious contact affects individuals' behavior towards one another is scarce. We examine this question in the setting of a four-year university in Lebanon, a country with a long history of deep divisions and armed conflicts between religious groups. To identify causal effects, we exploit the university's random assignment of first-year students to peer groups. We proxy students' religious backgrounds by whether they attended secular, Christian or Islamic high schools—the last of which have the most religiously homogeneous student body. Results indicate that for students from Islamic high schools, exposure to peers from different religious backgrounds decreases their enrollment in courses taught by instructors with distinctively Muslim names, suggesting that contact improves trust towards members of other religions. Moreover, we show that students from Islamic schools experience improvements in GPA when interacting with those from other groups, while exposure to Islamic students reduces secular students' academic performance.
    Keywords: diversity, religious schools, intergroup contact
    JEL: I23 J15
    Date: 2022–04
  7. By: Mitra, Devashish (Syracuse University); Pham, Hoang (Oregon State University); Ural Marchand, Beyza (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: Using eight rounds of the Vietnam Household Living Standards Surveys (VHLSSs) spanning 16 years and exploiting the US Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) in 2001 as a large export shock, we investigate the impact of this shock on intergenerational occupational mobility in Vietnam employing a difference-in-differences research design. Our analysis suggests that the BTA has led to substantial upward occupational mobility, allowing both sons and daughters to have better occupations than their parents, with the effects being larger for daughter-mother pairs. The effect is larger in the long-run compared to the short-run. We find evidence that the driving force is an increase in skill demand via gender-biased expansion in export volumes. The effects are largely driven by intersectoral resource reallocation rather than within-sector upgrades. In addition, the BTA induced a higher likelihood of college education for both sons and daughters, but of vocational training only for sons. Overall, the BTA shock accounts for 36% of the overall increase in mobility for both genders. Our results control for Vietnam's own tariff reductions, which do not seem to have any statistically significant impact on mobility.
    Keywords: International Trade; Export Market Access; Intergenerational Mobility
    JEL: F13 F16 F66 J62 O19
    Date: 2022–04–26
  8. By: Khalifany-Ash Shidiqi (Department of Economics, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Faculty of Economics and Business, Indonesia & University of Barcelona, Faculty of Economics and Business, 690 Diagonal Av. 08034, Barcelona, Spain.); Antonio Di Paolo (AQR-IREA, University of Barcelona, Faculty of Economics and Business, 690 Diagonal Av. 08034, Barcelona, Spain.); Álvaro Choi (University of Barcelona, Faculty of Economics and Business, 690 Diagonal Av. 08034, Barcelona, Spain.)
    Abstract: Natural disasters are a significant threat to human development. In this paper, we analyze the effects of being exposed to a strong earthquake during school age on schooling outcomes. We merge geolocated data about the intensity of the shock at the district level with individual information from the Indonesia Family Life Survey. The identification strategy exploits variation in exposure to the natural shock by birth cohort and district of residence, considering as the treated group individuals who were residing in affected districts while they were in school age. Earthquake exposure reduces years of schooling by somewhat less than one year and negatively affects the probability of completing compulsory education but does not alter the chances of enrolling into post-compulsory education. Falsification analysis and several robustness checks corroborate the causal interpretation of our findings. The analysis of the potential mechanisms indicates that induced migration and casualties occurring at the family level as a consequence of the earthquake do not seem to play a relevant role. However, damages in educational infrastructures do represent a relevant channel through which natural disasters harm human capital formation. Part of the overall impact of the earthquake represents a delay in schooling progression, but a substantial share of its effect consists in a permanent loss of human capital among affected individuals.
    Keywords: Natural disasters, Earthquake, Schooling, Educational infrastructures. JEL classification: I25, I24, O15, Q54.
    Date: 2022–05
  9. By: Nirav Mehta
    Abstract: This paper views teacher quality through the human capital perspective. Teacher quality exhibits substantial growth over teachers’ careers, but why it improves is not well understood. I use a human capital production function nesting On-the-Job-Training (OJT) and Learning-by-Doing (LBD) and experimental variation from Glewwe et al. (2010), a teacher incentive pay experiment in Kenya, to discern the presence and relative importance of these forces. The identified set for the OJT and LBD components has a closed-form solution, which depends on experimentally estimated average treatment effects. The results provide evidence of an LBD component, as well as an informative upper bound on the OJT component.
    Keywords: human capital, teacher quality, on-the-job training, learning-by-doing, partial identification
    JEL: I20 I28 J20 J24 J45 C10
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Jonas Tungodden; Alexander Willén; Alexander L.P. Willén
    Abstract: Parents make important choices for their children in many areas of life, yet the empirical literature on this topic is scarce. We study parents’ competitiveness choices for their children by combining two large-scale artefactual field experiments with high-quality longitudinal administrative data. We document three main sets of findings. First, parents choose more competition for their sons than daughters. Second, this gender difference can largely be explained by parents’ beliefs about their children’s competitiveness preferences. Third, parents’ choices predict children's later-in-life educational outcomes. Taken together, these findings provide novel evidence on the role of parents in shaping children’s long-term outcomes.
    Date: 2022
  11. By: David de la Croix (UCL IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain = Catholic University of Louvain, LIDAM - Louvain Institute of Data Analysis and Modeling in economics and statistics, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Frédéric Docquier (LISER - Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research); Alice Fabre (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université); Robert Stelter (Unibas - University of Basel, MPIDR - Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research - Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)
    Abstract: We argue that market forces shaped the geographic distribution of upper-tail human capital across Europe during the Middle Ages, and contributed to bolstering universities at the dawn of the Humanistic and Scienti c Revolutions. We build a unique database of thousands of scholars from university sources covering all of Europe, construct an index of their ability, and map the academic market in the medieval and early modern periods. We show that scholars tended to concentrate in the best universities (agglomeration), that better scholars were more sensitive to the quality of the university (positive sorting) and migrated over greater distances (positive selection). Agglomeration, selection and sorting patterns testify to an integrated academic market, made possible by the use of a common language (Latin).
    Keywords: Agglomeration,Publications,Scholars,Discrete choice model,Universities,Upper-Tail Human Capital
    Date: 2022–04–26
  12. By: Van Borm, Hannah; Baert, Stijn
    Abstract: We investigate the drivers of gender differentials in hiring chances. More concretely, we test (i) whether recruiters perceive job applicants in gender stereotypical terms when making hiring decisions and (ii) whether the activation of these gender stereotypes in recruiters' minds varies by the salience of gender in a particular hiring context and the gender prototypicality of a job applicant, as hypothesised in Ridgeway and Kricheli-Katz (2013). To this end, we conduct an innovative vignette experiment in the United States with 290 genuine recruiters who evaluate fictitious job applicants regarding their hireability and 21 statements related to specific gender stereotypes. Moreover, we experimentally manipulate both the gender prototypicality of a job applicant and the salience of gender in the hiring context. We find that employers perceive women in gender stereotypical terms when making hiring decisions. In particular, women are perceived to be more social and supportive than men, but also as less assertive and physically strong. Furthermore, our results indicate that the gender prototypicality of job applicants moderates these perceptions: the less prototypical group of African American women, who are assumed to be less prototypical, are perceived in less stereotypical terms than white women, while some stereotypes are more outspoken when female résumés reveal family responsibilities.
    Keywords: hiring,gender discrimination,stereotypes,race,motherhood
    JEL: J71 J16 J15 J13 J24
    Date: 2022

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