nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2022‒12‒19
five papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Impact of Sending Top College Graduates to Rural Primary Schools By Hilmy, Masyhur
  2. The Role of Learning in Returns to College Major: Evidence from 2.8 Million Reviews of 150,000 Professors By Novik, Vitaliy
  3. The response of public education spending to changes in student cohort sizes By Samuel Luethi; Maria Zumbuehl
  4. Lowering Barriers to Remote Education: Experimental Impacts on Parental Responses and Learning By Emily Beam; Priya Mukherjee; Laia Navarro-Sola
  5. PhD Studies Hurt Mental Health, But Less than You Think By Keloharju, Matti; Knüpfer, Samuli; Müller, Dagmar; Tåg, Joacim

  1. By: Hilmy, Masyhur (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: Teacher quality is crucial to deliver good education. However, improving teacher quality in developing countries can be a tough problem. We investigate the impact of a teacher placement program that sends college graduates with a strong academic track record to teach in rural primary schools in Indonesia on student test scores. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we find that exposure to program teachers for a semester is associated with a 0.16 standard deviation increase in their students' average mathematics scores. The weakest students benefited more, with an increase in score by 0.20 standard deviation. Students receiving direct instructions from program teachers during scheduled classroom periods benefited even more. Attracting better talents to teach in rural schools could be an important pathway to improve the academic achievements of the weakest students at rural schools.
    Keywords: education; alternative teacher placement; Indonesia
    JEL: I21 I24 I25 O15
    Date: 2022–06
  2. By: Novik, Vitaliy
    Abstract: Why do some college majors have much higher returns than others? I ask if differences in returns are due to differences in quality of education across majors. I use a novel dataset in which college students rate courses and professors on difficulty, the level of effort required to obtain an A. Major difficulty correlates positively with study hours, implying students respond to grading standards when choosing study time. Using the American Community Survey, I show that harder majors earn more, under a variety of specifications. To deal with selection concerns I use the College Scorecard to compare graduates from the same university-major but exposed to harder or easier professors due to being in different graduation year cohorts. Those exposed to harder professors earn more one year after graduation. I also use the NLSY97 panel to estimate an event study, finding that difficulty causes lower earnings while in college but higher earnings after graduation and provides access to higher skilled occupations. I estimate that one-third of the variance in returns to major can be explained by differences in learning as proxied by difficulty.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Returns to Major, College Education
    JEL: I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2022–11–12
  3. By: Samuel Luethi; Maria Zumbuehl
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the elasticity of educational spending with respect to changing student numbers, in a system where educational spending is autonomously determined at a regional level. While many studies focus on a potential effect of ageing society on educational spending, only a few explicitly analyse the direct effect of changing cohort sizes. We find that education expenditures respond rather loosely to changing student numbers and that the elasticity strongly depends on regional and institutional settings. In rural areas, for instance, educational spending tends to be completely inelastic, which raises questions regarding both, efficiency and equity concerns.
    Keywords: Public education spending, demographic change
    JEL: H52 I22 J11 R51
    Date: 2022–11
  4. By: Emily Beam (University of Vermont); Priya Mukherjee (University of Wisconsin--Madison); Laia Navarro-Sola (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We conduct a randomized controlled trial with households of secondary school students in Bangladesh to investigate how parents adjust their investments in response to three educational interventions: an informational campaign about an educational phone application, an internet data subsidy, and one-on-one phone learning support. We find that offering an educational service in a context where other barriers to take-up exist can still trigger parental educational investments by acting as a signal or nudge. These behavioral changes result in lasting learning gains concentrated among richer households, reflecting that the relevant behavior change--increased tutoring investment--is easier for them to implement. In contrast, when interventions do increase take-up, they have the potential to narrow the socioeconomic achievement gap. We observe that increased usage of the targeted educational service limits parental behavioral responses. This implies that learning gains in these cases are directly caused by the potential effectiveness of the services adopted. In our setting, remote one-to-one teacher support improves learning among students from poorer households, whereas receiving the free data package jointly with the app information has no impact on learning.
    Keywords: human capital, parental investments, educational technology, educational inequality
    JEL: C93 I21 I24 J13 O15
    Date: 2022–09
  5. By: Keloharju, Matti (Aalto University); Knüpfer, Samuli (Aalto U(niversity School of Business); Müller, Dagmar (Swedish Public Employment Service); Tåg, Joacim (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We study the mental health of PhD students in Sweden using comprehensive administrative data on prescriptions, specialist care visits, hospitalizations, and causes of death. We find about 7% (5%) of PhD students receive medication or diagnosis for depression (anxiety) in a given year. These prevalence rates are less than one-third of the corresponding survey-based prevalence rates reported in the literature, and even after adjusting for difference in methodology, 44% (72%) of the prevalence rates reported in the literature. We also document PhD students’ mental health significantly worsens relative to their peers after they have entered the program. This deterioration is consistent with doctoral studies having a negative causal effect on mental health.
    Keywords: Doctoral studies; Mental Health; Depression; Anxiety; Suicide
    JEL: A23 I10 I23 I29 I31
    Date: 2022–08–12

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.