nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒10‒24
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Patterns, Determinants, and Consequences of Ability Tracking: Evidence from Texas Public Schools By Antonovics, Kate; Black, Sandra E.; Cullen, Julie Berry; Meiselman, Akiva Yonah
  2. Gender Differences in High-Stakes Performance and College Admission Policies By Arenas, Andreu; Calsamiglia, Caterina
  3. Cross-Country Data on Skills and the Quality of Schooling: A Selective Survey By Angel de la Fuente; Rafael Doménech
  4. College Consumption Amenities, Academic Performance, and Donation Behavior By Joshua M. Hyman; Isaac McFarlin Jr.
  5. The impact of university openings on labor market outcomes By Samia FERHAT
  6. Fertility and the Education of African Parents and Children By Tom Vogl
  7. A Rescue or a Trap?—An Analysis of Parent PLUS Student Loans By Wenhua Di; Carla Fletcher; Jeff Webster
  8. Advancing Arabic Language Teaching and Learning By Laura Gregory; Hanada Taha Thomure; Amira Kazem; Anna Boni; Mahmoud Abduh A. Elsayed; Nadia Taibah
  9. Labor Supply and Occupational Choice By Andrés Erosa; Luisa Fuster; Gueorgui Kambourov; Richard Rogerson

  1. By: Antonovics, Kate; Black, Sandra E. (Columbia University); Cullen, Julie Berry; Meiselman, Akiva Yonah
    Abstract: Schools often track students to classes based on ability. Proponents of tracking argue it is a low-cost tool to improve learning since instruction is more effective when students are more homogeneous, while opponents argue it exacerbates initial differences in opportunities without strong evidence of efficacy. In fact, little is known about the pervasiveness or determinants of ability tracking in the US. To fill this gap, we use detailed administrative data from Texas to estimate the extent of tracking within schools for grades 4 through 8 over the years 2011-2019. We find substantial tracking; tracking within schools overwhelms any sorting by ability that takes place across schools. The most important determinant of tracking is heterogeneity in student ability, and schools operationalize tracking through the classification of students into categories such as gifted and disabled and curricular differentiation. When we examine how tracking changes in response to educational policies, we see that schools decrease tracking in response to accountability pressures. Finally, when we explore how exposure to tracking correlates with student mobility in the achievement distribution, we find positive effects on high-achieving students with no negative effects on low-achieving students, suggesting that tracking may increase inequality by raising the ceiling.
    Keywords: ability tracking, tracking measurement, achievement mobility
    JEL: H75 I21 I24 I28
    Date: 2022–08
  2. By: Arenas, Andreu (University of Barcelona); Calsamiglia, Caterina (IPEG)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of increasing the weight of standardized high-stakes exams at the expense of high school grades for college admissions. Studying a policy change in Spain, we find a negative effect of the reform on female college admission scores, driven by students expected to be at the top. The effect on admission scores does not affect enrolment, but the percentage of female students in the most selective degrees declines, along with their career prospects. Using data on college performance of pre-reform cohorts, we find that female students most likely to lose from the reform tend to do better in college than male students expected to benefit from the reform. The results show that rewarding high-stakes performance in selection processes may come along with gender differences unrelated to the determinants of subsequent performance.
    Keywords: college admissions, high-stakes exams, gender gaps
    JEL: J16 I23 I24
    Date: 2022–09
  3. By: Angel de la Fuente; Rafael Doménech
    Abstract: Scores in standardized international student achievement tests and some recent adult literacy studies provide interesting data on the quality of educational outputs and on the skill level of the population that can be a useful complement to the data on the quantity of schooling which have been most commonly used in the growth literature. This paper describes the most recent available primary data on the subject, reviews different attempts to organize, standardize and summarize them, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the existing indicators and their potential usefulness as explanatory variables in empirical analyses of the determinants of income and welfare levels and growth rates. A final section investigates the distribution of these indicators across a sample of 21 core OECD countries.
    Keywords: human capital measurement, years of schooling, educational quality, adult skills
    JEL: O4 I2
    Date: 2021–11
  4. By: Joshua M. Hyman; Isaac McFarlin Jr.
    Abstract: Colleges compete to attract students by investing in amenities such as athletics, dormitories, and student activities. We examine the effect of student consumption of postsecondary amenities on academic achievement and future donation behavior in the context of Big-Time college sports. We resolve the selection issue using data from a large, public university with a highly-ranked men’s basketball team, where student season tickets are awarded by lottery. Game attendance has small negative effects on academic performance but no impact on donation behavior. Negative academic effects are concentrated at the bottom of the achievement distribution and driven by in-state students and students attending during seasons when the team reaches the postseason tournament. We uncover no evidence of spillover effects to roommates. Our results suggest that certain postsecondary amenities may hinder academic performance, with little upside from future giving.
    JEL: I2 I23
    Date: 2022–09
  5. By: Samia FERHAT (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA)
    Abstract: In this paper, I study the impact of university openings on labor market outcomes. I focus on university openings that occurred in France in the 90’s, and exploit five waves from representative samples of young individuals who left the French education system, starting from wave 1992. I use difference-in-differences estimation techniques, and find that the impact of university openings on labor market outcomes is heterogeneous according to the characteristics of the region where the opening occurs. I find that opening a new university increases the probability of being employed by about 8% points and increases wages by 5% in regions characterized by a lower level of education and a more disadvantaged socio-economical background. In contrast, no impact is found in regions where the unemployment rate is low and where the population is highly educated.
    Keywords: Human capital, university openings, labor market outcomes.
    JEL: I26 J21 J23 J24
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Tom Vogl
    Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa exhibits higher fertility and lower education than other world regions. Economic and demographic theory posit that these phenomena are linked, with slow fertility decline connected to slow education growth among both adults and children. Using microdata from 33 African countries, this paper documents the co-evolution of adult education, fertility, and child education in female birth cohorts surrounding the onset of the region's fertility transition. Fertility change displays a robust negative relationship with the educational outcomes of adult women but a more nuanced relationship with the educational outcomes of children. As fertility declines, children's grade attainment rises, but their school enrollment does not. The divergence is partly explained by a split in how women's education relates to fertility and child education. Rising women's education predicts declining fertility and rising children's grade attainment, but it is less systematically linked to enrollment change.
    JEL: I25 J13 O15
    Date: 2022–09
  7. By: Wenhua Di; Carla Fletcher; Jeff Webster
    Abstract: Parents taking out loans for their children’s college educations may face an excessive debt burden that jeopardizes their own financial security. This paper examines the experience of Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) borrowers using administrative data from a large student loan guaranty agency. We find that PLUS borrowers are more likely to default if their children attend low-resource institutions, typically ones where lower-income enrollments predominate. Although parent PLUS generally outperforms student loans, PLUS performance is sensitive to program costs during difficult economic times. In contrast, student outcomes depend more on educational outcomes. Interviews with borrowers confirm that PLUS borrowers have more experience handling debt than their children, but there is a lack of communication on repayment obligations and expectations between generations. This study reveals the differing consequences of parent and student borrowing for higher education and the troublesome PLUS program design that poses challenges to certain borrowers.
    Keywords: student loans; parent PLUS; default risk; minority serving institutions
    JEL: D04 G51 J15
    Date: 2022–09–09
  8. By: Laura Gregory; Hanada Taha Thomure; Amira Kazem; Anna Boni; Mahmoud Abduh A. Elsayed; Nadia Taibah
    Keywords: Education - Education and Society Education - Educational Institutions & Facilities Education - Educational Sciences Education - Effective Schools and Teachers
    Date: 2021–04
  9. By: Andrés Erosa; Luisa Fuster; Gueorgui Kambourov; Richard Rogerson
    Abstract: We document a robust negative relationship between mean annual hours in an occupation and the dispersion of annual hours within that occupation. We study a unified model of occupational choice and labor supply that features heterogeneity across occupations in the return to working additional hours and show that it can match the key features of the data both qualitatively and quantitatively. Occupational choice in our model is shaped both by selection on comparative advantage and selection on tastes for leisure. Our quantitative work finds that the dominant source of differences in hours across occupations is selection on tastes for leisure.
    JEL: J22 J24 J31
    Date: 2022–09

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