nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒06‒13
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Inequality of Opportunity in Educational Achievement in Western Europe: contributors and channels By Gustavo A. Marrero; Juan C. Palomino; Gabriela Sicilia
  2. Returns to Higher Education - Graduate and Discipline Premiums By Zhu, Yu; Xu, Lei
  3. Educational Inequality* By Jo Blanden; Matthias Doepke; Jan Stuhler
  4. Peers Affect Personality Development By Xiaoque Shan; Ulf Zölitz
  5. Measuring Knowledge By James J. Heckman; Jin Zhou
  6. The Third Mission in the Academic Profession: Empirical Insights into Academic Identities By Püttmann, Vitus; Thomsen, Stephan L.
  7. The Effect of Higher Education on Women's Obesity and Smoking: Evidence from College Openings in Turkey By Baltagi, Badi H.; Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso; Karatas, Haci M.
  8. Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Abilities at Older Ages: Causal Evidence from Nonparametric Bounds By Vikesh Amin; Jere R. Behrman; Jason M. Fletcher; Carlos A. Flores; Alfonso Flores-Lagunes; Hans-Peter Kohler

  1. By: Gustavo A. Marrero (Universidad de La Laguna); Juan C. Palomino (University of Oxford); Gabriela Sicilia (Universidad de La Laguna)
    Abstract: Evidence on inequality of opportunity in terms of educational achievement (IOpE) has not yet explored the relevance of different contributors and channels. Using the latest microdata from the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment, we find that IOpE accounts, on average, for 32% of total educational inequality in Western Europe, with substantial variation across countries. Differences in households’ cultural environment and in parental occupation are the most important contributors, with school’s characteristics being also relevant in Central Europe. We then estimate for the first time the role of channelling variables in translating differences in circumstances into different educational achievement. In most countries, students’ educational and occupational expectations, their reading habits and skills, and the repetition of previous courses are the most influential channels. These findings provide policymakers with key insights to design educational interventions to effectively increase educational -and, ultimately, social- opportunities across European countries.
    Keywords: Education systems, Inequality of opportunity, Channels of transmission, Western Europe
    JEL: D63 I24 I28 O52
    Date: 2022–05
  2. By: Zhu, Yu (University of Dundee); Xu, Lei (Bournemouth University)
    Abstract: This paper reviews and evaluates progress in recent research on the graduate premium in general as well as the differential graduate premiums by discipline, accounting for higher-education choice by individuals under substantial uncertainty. The contribution of this review, relative to previous reviews, is the collection of a wider variety of evidence that all bears on a relatively narrow issue, namely the graduate and discipline premiums, allowing for selection into undergraduate degree and degree subjects which include the option value of undertaking postgraduate degrees. The issue of subject-job match quality after graduation is only treated as a sensitivity check to the main results, due to concerns with self-selection. We emphasize that the sizes of the graduate and discipline premiums are context-specific, especially regarding how HE is structured and financed in a country, without going into details. Much higher weight is placed on the most up-to-date research that sheds light on the causal effects of higher-education and subject choice, and the conclusions are heavily driven by the best evidence rather than by consensus built around correlations. This paper ends with a short summary of the empirical evidence and a brief discussion of possible areas for future research.
    Keywords: graduate premium, discipline premiums, higher-education choice, subject-job match, causal effects
    JEL: I26 I23 I24
    Date: 2022–05
  3. By: Jo Blanden; Matthias Doepke; Jan Stuhler
    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.
    JEL: I21 I24 J62
    Date: 2022–04
  4. By: Xiaoque Shan; Ulf Zölitz
    Abstract: Do the people around us influence our personality? To answer this question, we conduct an experiment with 543 university students who we randomly assign to study groups. Our results show that students become more similar to their peers along several dimensions. Students with more competitive peers become more competitive, students with more open-minded peers become more open-minded, and students with more conscientious peers become more conscientious. We see no significant effects of peers’ extraversion, agreeableness, or neuroticism. To explain these results, we propose a simple model of personality development under the influence of peers. Consistent with the model’s prediction, personality spillovers are concentrated in traits predictive of performance. Students adopt personality traits that are productive in the university context from their peers. Our findings highlight that socialization with peers can influence personality development.
    Keywords: personality, malleability, peer effects, experiment
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2022
  5. By: James J. Heckman; Jin Zhou
    Abstract: Empirical studies in the economics of education, the measurement of skill gaps across demographic groups, and the impacts of interventions on skill formation rely on psychometrically validated test scores that record the proportion of items correctly answered. Test scores are sometimes taken as measures of an invariant scale of human capital that can be compared over time and people. We show that for a prototypical test, invariance is violated. We use an unusually rich data set from an early childhood intervention program that measures knowledge of narrowly defined skills on essentially equivalent subsets of tasks. We examine if conventional, broadly-defined measures of skill are the same across people who are comparable on detailed knowledge measures. We reject the hypothesis of aggregate scale invariance and call into question the uncritical use of test scores in research on education and on skill formation. We compare different measures of skill and ability and reject the hypothesis of valid aggregate measures of skill.
    JEL: C81 I21 J71
    Date: 2022–04
  6. By: Püttmann, Vitus (Leibniz University of Hannover); Thomsen, Stephan L. (Leibniz University of Hannover)
    Abstract: In line with the growing relevance of higher education and science for societal development and innovation processes, there has been a steady increase in the salience of interrelations with the extra-academic environment in the context of academics' work. Insights into the status of this so-called third mission in the academic profession remain fragmented, however. We use the concept of an academic identity as an analytical lens to investigate this status empirically based on an original survey among 4,284 professors in Germany across the full range of academic disciplines. The results show that the third mission is firmly included in the academic identities of many, but not all, professors and that the forms of inclusion differ. Specifically, we are able to identify four types of identities: (1) the dedicated type who embraces the third mission as a whole; (2) the idealistic type who emphasizes responsibility toward society and sociopolitical matters; (3) the pragmatic type who emphasizes material work-related and personal benefits; and (4) the reserved type, characterized by an overall distanced stance. We furthermore find evidence of a strong impact of disciplinary communities on the specific types of identities that academics develop, whereas the organizational context and the cohorts to which academics belong appear less relevant. In addition, there are indications that individual characteristics shape the identity formation process. Last, there are strong and differential associations between academics' identities and their actual third mission engagement. Overall, it appears that the third mission—at least if its multifaceted nature is considered—is a relevant area of activity for a significant share of the academic profession.
    Keywords: third mission, knowledge transfer, continuing education, societal engagement, academic profession, academic identity, professor
    JEL: I23 O35 O36
    Date: 2022–05
  7. By: Baltagi, Badi H. (Syracuse University); Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso (Syracuse University); Karatas, Haci M. (Giresun University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between higher education and body weight and smoking behavior among women in Turkey. We exploit the largely exogenous and substantial increase in the openings of universities throughout Turkey. Based on the spatial and temporal variability of university openings, we construct college accessibility measures at the level of the city of residence when the woman turned 17 years of age to serve as instruments for college enrollment. The college accessibility measures have a substantial 5 percentage-point (about 80%) impact on the probability of college enrollment, and we show they also impact lower levels of schooling, likely through expectations. Using the college accessibility measures as instruments for college enrollment, we find that a one percentage point increase in the probability of college enrollment reduces BMI by about 0.21% and the probability of being classified as obese by 0.44 percentage points. Regarding smoking, we find that a similar increase in the probability of college enrollment increases the probability of being a current smoker by 0.73 to 1.1 percentage points. Both results contrast with previous findings for Turkey and other countries, likely denoting heterogeneities in the level of schooling considered (primary or secondary versus tertiary) and in the level of economic development of these countries.
    Keywords: health, tertiary education, women, body mass index, obesity, smoking, Turkey
    JEL: I12 I21 I23 I26 C26
    Date: 2022–05
  8. By: Vikesh Amin (Central Michigan University); Jere R. Behrman (University of Pennsylvania); Jason M. Fletcher (University of Wisconsin-Madison, NBER, and IZA); Carlos A. Flores (California Polytechnic State University); Alfonso Flores-Lagunes (Syracuse University, IZA, and GLO); Hans-Peter Kohler (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We revisit the much-investigated relationship between schooling and health, focusing on cognitive abilities at older ages using the Harmonized Cognition Assessment Protocol in the Health & Retirement Study. To address endogeneity concerns, we employ a nonparametric partial identification approach that provides bounds on the population average treatment effect using a monotone instrumental variable together with relatively weak monotonicity assumptions on treatment selection and response. The bounds indicate potentially large effects of increasing schooling from primary to secondary but are also consistent with small and null effects. We find evidence for a causal effect of increasing schooling from secondary to tertiary on cognition. We also replicate findings from the Health & Retirement Study using another sample of older adults from the Midlife in United States Development Study Cognition Project.
    Keywords: Schooling, Cognition, Bounds, Aging, Partial Identification
    JEL: I10 I26 J14
    Date: 2022–05–20

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