nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒06‒27
eleven papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Do funds for more teachers improve student outcomes? By Nicolai T. Borgen; Lars J. Kirkebøen; Andreas Kotsadam; Oddbjørn Raaum
  2. Returns to Education in China: Evidence from the Great Higher Education Expansion By Huang, Bin; Tani, Massimiliano; Wei, Yi; Zhu, Yu
  3. Preferred field of study and academic performance By Berlingieri, Francesco; Diegmann, André; Sprietsma, Maresa
  4. Air Pollution and Student Performance in the U.S. By Michael Gilraine; Angela Zheng
  5. Math ability, gender stereotypes about math ability, and educational choices. Combining experimental and survey data By Dominique Cappelletti; Maria Vittoria Levati; Matteo Ploner
  6. School Choice and Higher Education Attainment By Alessandrini, Diana; Milla, Joniada
  7. Gender gaps in low and high-stakes assessments By Fabiana Rocha; Paula Pereda, Maria Dolores, Gabriel Monteiro, Luiza Karpavicius, Liz Matsunaga, Bruna Borges, Clara
  8. Tuition fees and educational attainment By Jan Bietenbeck; Andreas Leibing; Jan Marcus; Felix Weinhardt
  9. Teacher Subject Knowledge, Didactic Skills, and Student Learning in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa By Jan Bietenbeck; Natalie Irmert; Mohammad Sepahvand
  10. The Evolution of Inequality in Education Trajectories and Graduation Outcomes in the US By Belzil, Christian; Hansen, Jörgen; Liu, Xingfei
  11. The Short- And Longer-Term Effects of a Child Labor Ban By Piza, Caio; Souza, André Portela; Emerson, Patrick M.; Amorim, Vivian

  1. By: Nicolai T. Borgen; Lars J. Kirkebøen (Statistics Norway); Andreas Kotsadam; Oddbjørn Raaum
    Abstract: We investigate the effects of a large-scale Norwegian reform that provided extra teachers to 166 lower secondary schools with relatively high student-teacher ratios and low average grades. We exploit these two margins using a regression discontinuity setup and find that the reform reduced the student-teacher ratio by around 10% (from a base level of 22 students per teacher), with no crowding out of other school resources or parental support. However, the reform did not improve test scores and longer-term academic outcomes, and we can reject even small positive effects. We do find that the reform improved the school environment from the students’ perspective, but with the largest impact on aspects most weakly associated with better academic outcomes.
    Keywords: Student-teacher-ratio; class size; test scores; non-cognitive skills; RDD
    JEL: J24 I2
    Date: 2022–06
  2. By: Huang, Bin; Tani, Massimiliano; Wei, Yi; Zhu, Yu
    Abstract: China experienced a near 5-fold increase in annual Higher Education (HE) enrolment in the decade starting in 1999. Using the China Household Finance Survey, we show that the Great HE Expansion has exacerbated a large pre-existing urban-rural gap in educational attainment underpinned by the hukou (household registration) system. We instrument the years of schooling with the interaction between urban hukou status during childhood and the timing of the expansion - in essence a difference-in-differences estimator using rural students to control for common time trends. We find that the Great HE raised earnings by 17% for men and 12% for women respectively, allowing for county fixed-effects. These Two Stage Least Squares (2SLS) estimates, which are robust to additional controls for hukou status at birth fully interacted with birth hukou province, can be interpreted as the Local Average Treatment Effect (LATE) of education on earnings for urban students who enrolled in HE only because of the Great HE Expansion. For the selected subsample of respondents with parental education information, we find that the 2SLS returns for students from more disadvantaged backgrounds are at least as high as their more advantaged counterparts, for both genders.
    Keywords: returns to education,2SLS,higher education expansion,China
    JEL: I26 I23
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Berlingieri, Francesco; Diegmann, André; Sprietsma, Maresa
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of studying the first-choice university subject on dropout and switching field of study for a cohort of students in Germany. Using detailed survey data, and employing an instrumental variable strategy based on variation in the local field of study availability, we provide evidence that students who are not enrolled in their preferred field of study are more likely to change their field, delay graduation and drop out of university. The estimated impact on dropout is particularly strong among students of low socio-economic status and is driven by lower academic performance and motivation.
    Keywords: academic performance,field of study,preferences,university dropout
    JEL: I21 I23 J24
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Michael Gilraine; Angela Zheng
    Abstract: We combine satellite-based pollution data and test scores from over 10,000 U.S. school districts to estimate the relationship between air pollution and test scores. To deal with potential endogeneity we instrument for air quality using (i) year-to-year coal production variation and (ii) a shift-share instrument that interacts fuel shares used for nearby power production with national growth rates. We find that each one-unit increase in particulate pollution reduces test scores by 0.02 standard deviations. Our findings indicate that declines in particulate pollution exposure raised test scores and reduced the black-white test score gap by 0.06 and 0.01 standard deviations, respectively.
    JEL: I14 I24 Q53
    Date: 2022–05
  5. By: Dominique Cappelletti (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Maria Vittoria Levati (Department of Economics (University of Verona)); Matteo Ploner (CEEL, University of Trento)
    Abstract: The underrepresentation of females in STEM fields negatively affects productivity growth and contributes to labour market inequalities. In countries where children are tracked in educational trajectories from high school (as in Italy, 8th grade), it is crucial to understand what drives gendered pathways before educational segregation starts. Collecting experimental and survey data from Italian 8th graders, we find that perceived comparisons with peers are predictors of the likelihood that girls choose a math-intensive track during high school. Policy initiatives improving girls' expectations about their relative math performance may thus encourage female students to pursue a STEM track.
    Keywords: School choice, Math ability, Gender stereotypes, Beliefs, STEM
    JEL: C93 J16 J24 I24
    Date: 2022–06
  6. By: Alessandrini, Diana (St. Francis Xavier University); Milla, Joniada (Saint Mary’s University)
    Abstract: We analyze how school vouchers affect post-secondary attainment by exploiting the universal voucher program implemented in Chile in 1981. The program allowed students to choose which primary and secondary schools to attend. The government covered tuition independently of whether the chosen school was private or public. We find that vouchers increased the probability of attending PSE by 2-4 percentage points and the probability of PSE graduation by 1-3 percentage points. Students from low socio economic backgrounds benefited the most. Further, we study whether the impacts of vouchers depend on when school choice becomes available in a student’s educational path. We find that the impacts of vouchers on PSE outcomes are maximized if vouchers are introduced before students start middle school.
    Keywords: vouchers, school choice, higher education attendance
    JEL: H43 I21 J31
    Date: 2022–05
  7. By: Fabiana Rocha; Paula Pereda, Maria Dolores, Gabriel Monteiro, Luiza Karpavicius, Liz Matsunaga, Bruna Borges, Clara
    Abstract: A comprehensive body of literature suggests that women do not perform as well as men in competitive settings. In this paper, we use individual-level administrative data to investigate if women and men respond differently to exam stakes in Brazil. We compare performances of students at the University of São Paulo in undergraduate Economics courses (low stakes) and in the national admission exam to Economics graduate programs (high stakes). We find evidence that women outperform men in undergraduate disciplines but underperform on the graduate admission exam. Our study indicates that there are indeed gender differences in low and high-stakes evaluations.
    Keywords: Gender; High-stakes assessments; Graduate admissions; Higher education
    JEL: I23 J16
    Date: 2022–06–02
  8. By: Jan Bietenbeck; Andreas Leibing; Jan Marcus; Felix Weinhardt
    Abstract: Following a landmark court ruling in 2005, more than half of Germany's universities started charging tuition fees, which were subsequently abolished until 2015. We exploit the unusual lack of grandfathering in these policies to show that fees increase study effort and degree completion among incumbent students. However, fees also decrease first-time university enrollment among high school graduates. Combining this enrollment impact with the effect on completion, we find that fees around the zero-price margin have only little effect on overall educational attainment. We conclude by discussing policies targeting the separate effect margins of fees and caution against a general abolition.
    Keywords: higher education, fees
    Date: 2022–12
  9. By: Jan Bietenbeck; Natalie Irmert; Mohammad Sepahvand
    Abstract: We study the effects of two dimensions of teacher quality, subject knowledge and didactic skills, on student learning in francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. We use data from an international large-scale assessment in 14 countries that include individual-level information on student achievement and country-level measures of teacher subject knowledge and didactic skills in reading and math. Exploiting variation between subjects in a student fixed-effects model, we find that teacher subject knowledge has a large positive effect on student achievement, whereas the effect of didactic skills is comparatively small and not statistically signifiant at conventional levels. Together, the two dimensions of teacher quality account for 36 percent of the variation in average student achievement across countries.
    Keywords: international learning gaps, teacher quality, Sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2022–05
  10. By: Belzil, Christian (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris); Hansen, Jörgen (Concordia University); Liu, Xingfei (University of Alberta)
    Abstract: We model the joint distribution of (i) individual education trajectories, defined by the allocation of time (semesters) between various combinations of school enrollment with different labor supply modalities and periods of school interruption devoted either to employment or home production and (ii) actual graduation outcomes using two cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youths which we follow from 16 to 28. We discuss the evolution of family income and ability effects where the latter are decomposed into an academic (cognitive) and a practical (technical-mechanical) latent ability factor component correlated with family income and background variables. We find that the individual cognitive-technical ability differential prevailing at 16 was increasing with income in the early 80's but much less so in the early 2000's. We find no evidence of any income-based "trajectory inequality" in either cohort, after conditioning on abilities. Among all graduation and enrollment outcomes, college graduation is the only for which the effect of income has increased between the 1980's and the early 2000's but it reached a level no more important than the high school graduation income effect. In both cohorts, cognitive and technical abilities were the dominant factors but they affect most dimensions of individual trajectories and all graduation outcomes in opposite directions. However, the cognitive ability factor lost half of its effect on college graduation while the impact of the technical-mechanical factor has been more stable across cohorts.
    Keywords: education, inequality, family income, multi-dimensional abilities, labor supply
    JEL: I2 J1 J3
    Date: 2022–05
  11. By: Piza, Caio (World Bank); Souza, André Portela (Fundação Getúlio Vargas); Emerson, Patrick M. (Oregon State University); Amorim, Vivian (World Bank)
    Abstract: Are bans effective at lowering child labor and increasing school attendance and, if so, do these effects lead to positive outcomes later in life? This paper seeks to answer these questions by examining the effect of a 1998 Brazilian law that increased the minimum employment age from 14 to 16. To examine this question we use two different regression discontinuity designs to analyze Brazilian household data. We find that the ban had no overall impact across affected children in Brazil, but that it led to a significant decrease in the labor market participation of urban boys, whose paid labor dropped 35 percent, driven mainly by a decrease in informal work. We also find a concomitant 10 percent increase in the share of urban boys only attending school. Interestingly, we find that by age 18 this cohort was still almost 20 percent less likely to have a paid job and was less likely to be economically active even when they were legally allowed to work. However, we find no evidence that the impact of the ban lasted over time as reflected in measures of educational attainment, employment rates, and wages. Our results suggest that when enforced, bans on child labor can have significant immediate impacts amongst affected populations, leading to a decrease in work and an increase in school attendance. It remains unclear if these impacts translate to improved adult outcomes.
    Keywords: child labor, education, labor laws
    JEL: C21 J08 J22 J24 K31
    Date: 2022–05

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