nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒08‒08
seven papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Losing Prospective Entitlement to Unemployment Benefits. Impact on Educational Attainment By Bart Cockx; Koen Declercq; Muriel Dejemeppe
  2. The Quality of Lower-Track Education: Evidence from Britain By Damon Clark
  3. Schooling in the Nordic countries during the COVID-19 pandemic By Hall, Caroline; Hardoy, Inés; Lundin, Martin
  4. School selectivity and mental health: Evidence from regression discontinuity design By Tiina Kuuppelomäki
  5. The View of Knowledge: An Institutional Theory of Differences in Educational Quality By Henrekson, Magnus; Wennström, Johan
  6. The Evolution of Inequality in Education Trajectories and Graduation Outcomes in the US By Christian Belzil; Jörgen Hansen; Xingfei Liu
  7. Does Schooling Improve Cognitive Abilities at Older Ages: Causal Evidence from Nonparametric Bounds By Amin, Vikesh; Behrman, Jere R.; Fletcher, Jason M.; Flores, Carlos A.; Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso; Kohler, Hans-Peter

  1. By: Bart Cockx; Koen Declercq; Muriel Dejemeppe (-)
    Abstract: Providing income support to unemployed education-leavers reduces the returns to investments in education because it makes the consequences of unemployment less severe. We evaluate a two-part policy reform in Belgium to study whether conditioning the prospective entitlement to unemployment benefits for education-leavers on age or schooling attainment can affect educational achievements. The results show that the prospect of financial loss in case of unemployment can significantly raise degree completion and reduce dropout in higher education, but not in high school. We argue that the higher prevalence of behavioral biases among lower educated and younger students could explain these contrasting findings.
    Keywords: Unemployment insurance, conditionality, degree completion, school dropout, behavioral biases
    JEL: H52 I21 I26 I28 J08 J18 J24 J65 J68
    Date: 2022–07
  2. By: Damon Clark
    Abstract: For much of the 20th century, British students were tracked into higher-track (for the "top" 20%) or lower-track (for the rest) secondary schools. Opponents of tracking contend that the lower-track schools in these systems will inevitably provide low-quality education. In this paper I examine this claim using a 1947 reform that increased the minimum school leaving age from 14 to 15. First, I show that over 95% of the students affected by the reform ("compliers") attended lower-track schools. Second, using new data, I show that for both men and women, the additional schooling induced by the reform had close to zero impact on a range of labor market outcomes including earnings. Third, I show that lower-track schools featured, among other things, large classes and a curriculum that promoted practical education. I conclude that my findings shed new light on the potential consequences of educational tracking.
    JEL: I21 J24 J31
    Date: 2022–06
  3. By: Hall, Caroline (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy); Hardoy, Inés (Institutt for Samfunnsforskning); Lundin, Martin (IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)
    Abstract: This article provides an overview of the extent of school closures and the use of distance learning in the Nordic countries during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 to June 2021). Taking the preparedness of the educational systems into consideration and combining several reports summarising student and teacher experiences with research on the causal impact of distance learning, we discuss expected and revealed effects on student outcomes in the short and long term. Survey evidence indicates that the Nordic education systems were relatively well-prepared for a transition to distance learning in terms of access to digital technology. Overall, Sweden stands out as having kept compulsory schools open to a greater extent than the other countries, while policies put in place at the upper secondary level were more similar across the region. The literature suggests that school closures can be expected to have long term negative effects on skill formation and future earnings and that the negative impacts are likely to be larger for more disadvantaged students and larger the younger the students are when exposed to remote instruction. Given the extent of school closures, students in compulsory schooling in Norway, Finland and Denmark seem particularly vulnerable as do disadvantaged groups of upper secondary school students in all of the countries, since they have been exposed to distance learning for the longest periods. The size of the long-term effects will eventually depend on the success of policies put in place to counteract the potential negative effects.
    Keywords: school closures; distance learning; COVID-19; student performance
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 I28
    Date: 2022–06–21
  4. By: Tiina Kuuppelomäki (Työn ja talouden tutkimus LABORE)
    Abstract: The school environment forms a large part of adolescents’ lives and can thus have a large impact on their mental health. However, fairly little is known on the specific impact of school characteristics, such as selectivity. In this paper, comprehensive Finnish register data is used to investigate how studying at a more selective, preferred upper secondary school affects students’short- and long-term mental health. A regression discontinuity design is employed for the analysis, finding that, while access to more selective school has little overall effect on individual’s short- or long-term mental health, it does have positive effects during the time of matriculation examinations. Further analysis also reveals heterogeneity based on the selectivity difference between the preferred school and next-best alternative.
    Keywords: education, secondary, mental health, selectivity, peers
    JEL: I21 I26 I12 I31
    Date: 2021–12–15
  5. By: Henrekson, Magnus (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Wennström, Johan (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This essay argues that the most crucial institution of any school system is its view of knowledge—from which virtually all other aspects of a school are derived: the content of its curricula, its pedagogical practices, and the incentives that motivate its members. To make this case, we outline the two main conflicting views of knowledge, the classical view and the postmodern social constructivist view. According to the classical view, the purpose of schooling is to give students objective knowledge and skills that they cannot acquire in any way other than through hierarchical instruction in well-defined disciplines. The social constructivist view rejects the existence of objective knowledge. This rejection translates to a preference for student-directed pedagogy, the mixing of instructional fields, and an emphasis on developing general critical thinking skills rather than on acquiring domain-specific knowledge. Using the history of education in Sweden as an example, our analysis suggests that the recent decline in educational quality in the Western democracies can be remedied by a paradigm shift in the governing view of knowledge toward the classical view.
    Keywords: Communal knowledge; Institutions; Postmodernism; Social constructivism; Thought style; Views of knowledge
    JEL: H42 H44 H75 I22 I28 L88
    Date: 2022–06–22
  6. By: Christian Belzil (CREST, Paris Polytechnic Institute and IZA and CIRANO); Jörgen Hansen (Concordia University, CIREQ and IZA); Xingfei Liu (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: 2022–05–29
  7. By: Amin, Vikesh (Central Michigan University); Behrman, Jere R. (University of Pennsylvania); Fletcher, Jason M. (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Flores, Carlos A. (California Polytechnic State University); Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso (Syracuse University); Kohler, Hans-Peter (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: 2022–06

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