nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒06‒20
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Effect of Secondary Education on Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills By Ollikainen, Jani-Petteri; Pekkarinen, Tuomas; Uusitalo, Roope; Virtanen, Hanna
  2. Public Higher Education Costs and College Enrollment By Delaney, Taylor; Marcotte, Dave E.
  3. Minimum Age Requirements and the role of the School Choice Set By Julio Cáceres-Delpiano; Eugenio P. Giolito
  4. What the Mean Measures of Mobility Miss: Learning About Intergenerational Mobility from Conditional Variance By Ahsan, Md. Nazmul; Emran, M. Shahe; Jiang, Hanchen; Shilpi, Forhad
  5. Specialists or All-Rounders: How Best to Select University Students? By Silva, Pedro Luís
  6. From immediate acceptance to deferred acceptance: effects on school admissions and achievement in England By Parag A. Pathak; Kevin Ren; Camille Terrier
  7. What Can We Learn from Student Performance Measures? Identifying Treatment in the Presence of Curves and Letter Grades By Waddell, Glen R.; Putz, Jenni
  8. The making of civic virtues: a school-based experiment in three countries By Simon Briole; Marc Gurgand; Eric Maurin; Sandra McNally; Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela; Daniel Santin
  9. Education inequality By Jo Blanden; Matthias Doepke; Jan Stuhler

  1. By: Ollikainen, Jani-Petteri (LABORE Labour Institute for Economic Research); Pekkarinen, Tuomas (VATT, Helsinki); Uusitalo, Roope (University of Jyväskylä); Virtanen, Hanna (ETLA - The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy)
    Abstract: We exploit admission cutoffs to secondary schools to study the effects of general academically oriented, versus vocational secondary schooling on cognitive and non-cognitive skills using a regression discontinuity design. We measure these skills using the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Skills Test that due to compulsory military service covers the vast majority of Finnish men and is a strong predictor of later labor market success. We find that large differences in average skills across students that differ in their schooling when entering military service are due to selection rather than causal effects of secondary schooling on either cognitive or non-cognitive skills.
    Keywords: non-cognitive skills, regression discontinuity, secondary schooling
    JEL: J24 I21
    Date: 2022–05
  2. By: Delaney, Taylor (American University); Marcotte, Dave E. (American University)
    Abstract: How have changes in the costs of enrolling full-time at public two- and four-year colleges affected student decisions about whether and where to enroll in college? Using local differences in the growth of tuition at community colleges and public four-year colleges we study the impact of public higher education costs on the post-secondary enrollment decisions of high school graduates over three decades. We model prospective students' decisions about whether to attend community college, a public four-year university in their state of residence, other colleges, or no college at all, as relative costs change. We identify enrollment impacts by instrumenting college costs using policy variation imposed by state appropriations and tuition caps. We estimate that in counties where local community college tuition doubled (about average for the study period), the likelihood of post-secondary enrollment fell by about 0.05, on a mean of about 0.80. In addition to reducing college enrollment overall, rising costs at community colleges diverted other students to four-year colleges. Rising relative costs of four-year public colleges similarly diverted some students toward community colleges but did not limit college attendance in the aggregate. We also find evidence of endogeneity in cost-setting at the institution level.
    Keywords: higher education, costs, enrollment
    JEL: I22 I23
    Date: 2022–05
  3. By: Julio Cáceres-Delpiano; Eugenio P. Giolito
    Abstract: Using several data sources from Chile, we study the impact of the size of the school choice set at the time of starting primary school. With that purpose, we exploit multiple cutoffs defining the minimum age at entry, which not only define when a student can start elementary school, but also the set of schools from which she/he can choose. Moreover, differences across municipalities in the composition of the schools according to these cutoffs, allow us not only to account for munic- ipality fixed factors (educational markets) but also for differences in the characteristics between schools choosing different deadlines. That is, we compare the difference in outcomes for children living in the same municipality around the different cutoffs with those for children in other mu- nicipalities that experience a different change in the available set of schools across cutoffs (double difference in RD). We show that a larger set of schools increases the probability of starting in a better school, measured by a non-high-stakes examination. Moreover, this quasi-experimental variation reveals an important reduction in the likelihood of dropping out and a reduction in the probability that a child would switch schools during her/his school life. Secondly, for a subsam- ple of students who have completed high school, we observe that a larger school choice set at the start of primary school increases students’ chances of taking the national examination required for higher education and the likelihood of being enrolled in college.
    Keywords: LatinAmerica; Chile; School choice set; School achievements
    JEL: A21 I24 I25 I28
    Date: 2022–04
  4. By: Ahsan, Md. Nazmul; Emran, M. Shahe; Jiang, Hanchen; Shilpi, Forhad
    Abstract: A large literature on intergenerational mobility focuses on the conditional mean of children's economic outcomes to understand the role of family background, but ignores the information contained in conditional variance. Using exceptionally rich data free of coresidency bias, we provide evidence on three large developing countries (China, India, and Indonesia) that suggests a strong influence of father's education on conditional variance of children's schooling. We find substantial heterogeneity across countries, gender, and geography (rural/ urban). Cohort based estimates suggest that the effects of father's education on the conditional variance has changed qualitatively, in some cases a positive effect in the 1950s cohort turning into a substantial negative effect in the 1980s cohort. We develop a methodology to incorporate the effects of family background on the conditional variance along with the standard conditional mean effects. We derive risk adjusted measures of relative and absolute mobility by accounting for an estimate of the risk premium for the conditional variance faced by a child. The estimates of risk adjusted relative and absolute mobility for China, India and Indonesia suggest that the standard measures substantially underestimate the effects of family background on children's educational opportunities, and may give a false impression of high educational mobility. The downward bias is specially large for the children born into the most disadvantaged households where fathers have no schooling, while the bias is negligible for the children of college educated fathers. The standard (but partial) measures may lead to incorrect ranking of regions and groups in terms of relative mobility. Compared to the risk adjusted measures, the standard measures are likely to underestimate gender gap and rural-urban gap in educational opportunities.
    Keywords: Conditional Variance,Family Background,Intergenerational Educational Mobility,Risk Adjusted Mobility Measures,China,India,Indonesia
    JEL: I24 J62 O12
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Silva, Pedro Luís (University of Porto)
    Abstract: This paper studies whether universities should select their students only using specialised subject-specific tests or based on a broader set of skills and knowledge. I show that even if broader skills are not improving graduates' outcomes in the labour market, the university chooses to use them as a criterion for selection alongside the mastery of more subject-specific tools. Empirically, I exploit the variation between subject-specific and non-specific entrance exam sets on Portuguese students' large administrative dataset. My central finding is that, on average, universities with less specialised admission policies admit a pool of students who obtain a higher final GPA.
    Keywords: university choice, admission tests, job market, general skills
    JEL: I23 I24 I28 J24
    Date: 2022–05
  6. By: Parag A. Pathak; Kevin Ren; Camille Terrier
    Abstract: Countries and cities around the world increasingly rely on centralized systems to assign students to schools. Two algorithms, deferred acceptance (DA) and immediate acceptance (IA), are widespread. The latter is often criticized for harming disadvantaged families who fail to get access to popular schools. This paper investigates the effect of the national ban of the IA mechanism in England in 2008. Before the ban, 49 English local authorities used DA and 16 used IA. All IA local authorities switched to DA afterwards, giving rise to a cross-market difference-in-differences research design. Our results show that the elimination of IA reduces measures of school quality for low-SES students more than high-SES students. After the ban, low-SES students attend schools with lower value-added and more disadvantaged and low-achieving peers. This effect is primarily driven by a decrease in low-SES admissions at selective schools. Our findings point to an unintended consequence of the IA to DA transition: by encouraging high-SES parents to report their preferences truthfully, DA increases competition for top schools, which crowds out low-SES students.
    Keywords: Schools, school admissions, immediate acceptance, deferred acceptance
    Date: 2021–11–15
  7. By: Waddell, Glen R. (University of Oregon); Putz, Jenni (University of Oregon)
    Abstract: Grade-based performance measures are often relied on when considering the efficacy of education-related policy interventions. Yet, it is common for measures of student performance to be subjected to curves and discretized through letter-grade transformations. We show how transformed grades systematically challenge causal identification. Even without explicit curving, transformations to letter grade are particularly problematic and yield treatment estimates that are weighted combinations of inflated responsiveness around letter thresholds and "zeros" away from these thresholds. Curving practices can also introduce false patterns of treatment heterogeneity, attenuating measured responses to treatment among high-performing students, for example, or inflating measured responses among low-performing students.
    Keywords: program evaluation, grades, curves, gpa, education
    JEL: I21 I26 C21
    Date: 2022–05
  8. By: Simon Briole; Marc Gurgand; Eric Maurin; Sandra McNally; Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela; Daniel Santin
    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
    Date: 2022–12
  9. By: Jo Blanden; Matthias Doepke; Jan Stuhler
    Abstract: This paper 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, children
    Date: 2022–12

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