nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒10‒31
seven papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. First Generation Elite: The Role of School Networks By Cattan, Sarah; Salvanes, Kjell G.; Tominey, Emma
  2. Making the Grade: The Effect of Teacher Grading Standards on Student Outcomes By Gershenson, Seth; Holt, Stephen B.; Tyner, Adam
  3. The Long-Term Impact of High School Financial Education : Evidence from Brazil By Bruhn,Miriam; Garber,Gabriel; Koyama,Sergio; Zia,Bilal Husnain
  4. Can Grit Be Taught? Lessons from a Nationwide Field Experiment with Middle-School Students By Santos, Indhira; Petroska-Beska, Violeta; Carneiro, Pedro; Eskreis-Winkler, Lauren; Boudet, Ana Maria Munoz; Berniell, Ines; Krekel, Christian; Arias, Omar; Duckworth, Angela Lee
  5. What wages do people expect for vocational and academic education backgrounds in Switzerland? By Maria A. Cattaneo
  6. Why Student Aid Matters ? Roadblocks to the Transition into Higher Education forForced Migrants in Chile By Blanco,Christian; Meneses,Francisco Jalles; Villamizar-Chaparro,Mateo
  7. Isolating nature from nurture: Does exposure to business and economics education make students more self-interested? By Sundemo, Mattias; Löfgren, Åsa

  1. By: Cattan, Sarah (Institute for Fiscal Studies, London); Salvanes, Kjell G. (Norwegian School of Economics); Tominey, Emma (University of York)
    Abstract: Intergenerational persistence in studying for elite education is high across the world. We study the role that exposure to high school peers from elite educated families ('elite peers') plays in driving such a phenomenon in Norway. Using register data on ten cohorts of high school students and exploiting within school, between cohort variation, we identify the causal impact of elite peers on the probability of enrolling in elite education for students from different socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds. We show that exposure to elite peers in high school does drive enrolment into elite degree programmes, but the effect for low SES students is a third of the size than for high SES students. We explore mechanisms behind this pattern – finding that elite peers have a complex effect on students' GPA which is a key part of the story. Elite peers increase the effort of both low and high SES students, but they also push the rank of other students down and trigger a change in teacher behaviour which disadvantages low SES students. To quantify the contribution of this mechanism, we perform a causal mediation analysis exploiting a lottery in the assessment system in Norway to instrument GPA. We find that the indirect effect of elite peers on enrolment through GPA explains just less than half of the total peer effect. Our concluding analysis shows that elite peers in high school raises intergenerational mobility for poor students, but increases persistence for rich students, thereby simultaneously facilitating first generation elite whilst contributing to the high intergenerational persistence at the top of the education and income distribution.
    Keywords: peers, elite university, subject choice, social mobility, teacher bias
    JEL: I24 J24 J62
    Date: 2022–09
  2. By: Gershenson, Seth (American University); Holt, Stephen B. (University at Albany, SUNY); Tyner, Adam (Thomas B. Fordham Institute)
    Abstract: Teachers are among the most important inputs in the education production function. One mechanism by which teachers might affect student learning is through the grading standards they set for their classrooms. However, the effects of grading standards on student outcomes are relatively understudied. Using administrative data that links individual students and teachers in 8th and 9th grade Algebra I classrooms from 2006 to 2016, we examine the effects of teachers' grading standards on student learning and attendance. High teacher grading standards in Algebra I increase student learning both in Algebra I and in subsequent math classes. The effect on student achievement is positive and similar in size across student characteristics and levels of ability, students' relative rank within the classroom, and school context. High teacher grading standards also lead to a modest reduction in student absences.
    Keywords: teachers, grade inflation, student achievement
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2022–09
  3. By: Bruhn,Miriam; Garber,Gabriel; Koyama,Sergio; Zia,Bilal Husnain
    Abstract: In 2011, the impact of a comprehensive financial education program was studiedthrough a randomized controlled trial with 892 high schools in six Brazilian states. Using administrative data, thispaper follows 16,000 students for the next nine years. The short-term findings were that the treatment students usedexpensive credit and were behind on payments. By contrast, in the long-term, treatment students were less likely toborrow from expensive sources and to have loans with late payments than control students. Treatment students were alsomore likely to own microenterprises and less likely to be formally employed than control students.
    Date: 2022–07–26
  4. By: Santos, Indhira (World Bank); Petroska-Beska, Violeta (University of SS. Cyril and Methodius); Carneiro, Pedro (University College London); Eskreis-Winkler, Lauren (Northwestern University); Boudet, Ana Maria Munoz (World Bank); Berniell, Ines (University of La Plata); Krekel, Christian (London School of Economics); Arias, Omar (World Bank); Duckworth, Angela Lee (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: We study whether a particular socio-emotional skill – grit (the ability to sustain effort and interest towards long-term goals) – can be cultivated through a large-scale program, and how this affects student learning. Using a randomized control trial, we evaluate the first nationwide implementation of a low-cost intervention designed to foster grit and self- regulation among sixth and seventh-grade students in primary schools in North Macedonia (about 33,000 students across 350 schools). The results of this interventions are mixed. Exposed students report improvements in self-regulation, in particular the perseverance-of- effort facet of grit, relative to students in a control condition. Impacts on students are larger when both students and teachers are exposed to the curriculum than when only students are treated. For disadvantaged students, we also find positive impacts on grade point averages, with gains of up to 28 percent of a standard deviation one year post-treatment. However, while this intervention made students more perseverant and industrious, it reduced the consistency-of-interest facet of grit. This means that exposed students are less able to maintain consistent interests for long periods.
    Keywords: socio-emotional skills, grit, gpas, middle-school students, field experiment, RCT
    JEL: C93 D91 I20 I24
    Date: 2022–09
  5. By: Maria A. Cattaneo
    Abstract: Correctly anticipating the earnings for different educational profiles is pivotal in making informed education decisions. In this paper, leveraging unique survey data, we study the wage expectations for academic and vocational education backgrounds in Switzerland. We find significant heterogeneity in the expected wage distributions for given educational profiles and strong differences in wage beliefs by gender, age, socioeconomic status, region of residence, and migration background. Personal reference points seem to matter in forming these wage expectations, and more than half of the respondents overestimate the returns to academic versus vocational education, especially the returns expected at younger ages. The latter is vital for education policy because our analyses show that the expected returns determine preferences for specific educational tracks for the own (hypothetical) child. If education decisions are illinformed, this likely leads to educational mismatches and related adverse effects later in life.
    Keywords: wage expectations, educational preferences, biased beliefs
    JEL: I20 D84 J31
    Date: 2022–10
  6. By: Blanco,Christian; Meneses,Francisco Jalles; Villamizar-Chaparro,Mateo
    Abstract: Education is a powerful tool for social mobility and cultural integration. However, it is oneof the largest hurdles for migrants—particularly for forcefully displaced migrants, given their more vulnerablecondition and lack of resources to pay for private education. This paper explores educational gaps betweenmigrants and natives in Chile, a country that provides free public education to newcomers. The paper analyzes anadministrative data set that includes all students in the Chilean educational system and follows students from 2017 to2018. Using a research discontinuity design around the cut-off for financial aid to tertiary education, this paperinvestigates whether access to financial aid generatesincentives for forced migrants to enroll in tertiary education. This research confirms previous findings thatshow that migrants have lower advancement and enrollment rates than natives at every school level. Moreover, it findsthat financial aid applications constitute a major roadblock preventing migrant students from accessing higher education.Furthermore, the paper presents suggestive evidence showing that the interaction between the type of school (vocationalvs. technical) and the migrant condition affects applications for financial aid.
    Date: 2022–06–23
  7. By: Sundemo, Mattias (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Löfgren, Åsa (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Does exposure to business and economics education make students more self-interested and less interested in a career that would contribute to a better society? Using a panel dataset of more than 900 individuals from a European Business School we are able to isolate the role of self-election from possible education or nurture-effects on prosocial (altruistic) values and attitudes associated with exposure to business and economics education. The school in this study, as well as many other contemporary business schools in this part of the world, have for many years integrated issues of sustainability, responsibility and ethics into their business and economics education. Still, after all these efforts, our results indicate that business and economics students become significantly less prosocial during their program studies, and importantly, we find no such effect among students from other disciplines. Further, we find that prosocial attitudes significantly correlate with prosocial behavior (measured by donation in an incentivized charity dictator game). We also provide evidence for highly heterogeneous effects with regards to majors (accounting, management, finance, economics etc.). Finally, we find notable and significant gender differences that largely persist throughout university education.
    Keywords: indoctrination; education; selection effect; economics education; business education; gender; prosociality; prosocial behavior; self-interest
    JEL: A22 D91 I23
    Date: 2022–10

This nep-edu issue is ©2022 by Nádia Simões. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.