nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒03‒13
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The Value of Early-Career Skills By Christina Langer; Simon Wiederhold
  2. Delivering Remote Learning Using a Low-Tech Solution: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Bangladesh By Wang, Liang Choon; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Islam, Asad; Hassan, Hashibul
  3. High-speed broadband, school closures and educational achievements By Boeri, Filippo
  4. The Effect of Education Policy on Crime: An Intergenerational Perspective By Costas Meghir; Marten Palme; Marieke Schnabel
  5. Endogenous Tracking: Sorting and Peer Effects By Aleksei Chernulich; Romain Gauriot; Daehong Min
  6. Compensation or accentuation? How parents from different social backgrounds decide to support their children By Philipp Dierker; Martin Diewald
  7. The Impact of Industrialization on Secondary Schooling during the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from 19th Century France By Raphaël Franck
  8. Occupational polarisation and endogenous task-biased technical change By Wenchao Jin

  1. By: Christina Langer; Simon Wiederhold
    Abstract: We develop novel measures of early-career skills that are more detailed, comprehensive, and labor-market-relevant than existing skill proxies. We exploit that skill requirements of apprenticeships in Germany are codified in state-approved, nationally standardized apprenticeship plans. These plans provide more than 13, 000 different skills and the exact duration of learning each skill. Following workers over their careers in administrative data, we find that cognitive, social, and digital skills acquired during apprenticeship are highly – yet differently – rewarded. We also document rising returns to digital and social skills since the 1990s, with a more moderate increase in returns to cognitive skills.
    Keywords: returns to skills, apprenticeship plans, labor market, earnings, early-career skills
    JEL: I21 I26 J24
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Wang, Liang Choon (Monash University); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton); Islam, Asad (Monash University); Hassan, Hashibul (Jagannath University)
    Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic caused prolonged school closures worldwide. Children in resource- poor settings were particularly affected given their limited access to remedial distance learning opportunities through the internet, television, and radio. To address the poor access to formal education, we designed an educational intervention consisting of a set of audio lessons that were delivered through mobile phones to primary school students using Interactive Voice Response (IVR). During the 15-week program period, parents could access the lessons for free by calling a designated phone number and listening to a lesson with their child at any time. We delivered the randomized intervention to 1, 763 primary school children across 90 villages in Bangladesh during the 2021 Covid-19 school closures. The intervention improved the test scores of children in literacy and numeracy by 0.60 Standard Deviations (SD). Additionally, the intervention led to an increase in the amount of time that parents spent on homeschooling. The intervention was particularly beneficial for academically weaker students, those from the poorest strata, and those with less-educated caregivers. Our results suggest that this scalable and low-cost intervention could be leveraged in similar settings to address learning losses of marginalized students.
    Keywords: school closures, remote education, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), COVID-19, randomized controlled trial, Bangladesh
    JEL: C93 I21 I24
    Date: 2023–02
  3. By: Boeri, Filippo
    Abstract: In this study, I shed new light on the short-run effects of access to high-speed internet on educational disparities, before and after the pandemic shock. By following 3 million students belonging to 6 different cohorts over the period 2012-2022, I estimate the effect of the broadband infrastructure on student performance. While most previous contributions use discontinuous jumps in the available broadband connection speed across space at a given moment in time, this study exploits the actual roll-out of an infrastructural policy associated with an increase in 30 Mbit/s household broadband coverage from 40% to 80% over a 5-year period. The estimation strategy relies on a unique dataset, combining panel data on student performance with a rich set of school- and student-level information and broadband data measured at a very fine spatial scale. Results show an average null effect of high-speed broadband on 8th grade student performance in both numeracy and maths. However, this results masks substantial heterogeneity: lower performers in grade 5 and students with better backgrounds gain from internet speed, whereas the opposite is true for other students. Interestingly, the stronger effect on low-performers tends to disappear during the lockdown, suggesting a negligible mitigating role for high-speed internet during the period of school closure. On the other hand, the broadband infrastructure might have further amplified the gap between students with different socioeconomic background.
    Keywords: ICT; education; economics; internet; broadband; Italy
    JEL: I20 H54 D83
    Date: 2023–02–01
  4. By: Costas Meghir (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Marten Palme (Stockholm University); Marieke Schnabel (University College London)
    Abstract: We study the intergenerational effect of education policy on crime. We use Swedish administrative data that links outcomes across generations with crime records and we show that the comprehensive school reform, gradually implemented between 1949 and 1962, reduced conviction rates both for the generation directly affected by the reform and for their sons. The reduction in conviction rates occurred across many types of crime. Key mediators for this reduction in the child generation are an increase in education and a decline in crime amongst their fathers.
    Date: 2023–02
  5. By: Aleksei Chernulich; Romain Gauriot; Daehong Min (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We show that, when the educational choice is costly, the motive of seeking positive peer effects can result in ability grouping. In particular, high-achieving students self-sort by choosing costly courses, which we refer to as "endogenous tracking." We demonstrate the implications of endogenous tracking using the data from French middle schools, where ability grouping officially is not allowed. Instead, students are grouped together to study all courses in the standardized curriculum based on their choices between studying Spanish or a more effort-costly German. We find that costly language choices result in groups that significantly differ in terms of academic performance. Furthermore, we exploit regional differences in the effort costs of learning German to confirm that larger costs of choosing German result in more selective endogenous tracking. Finally, we identify peer effects that, together with sorting, generate inequality in educational outcomes. Such inequality, combined with observed inequality in socioeconomic status between the formed groups, works against egalitarian educational policies. JEL Codes: H75, I21, I28, J24
    Date: 2023–01
  6. By: Philipp Dierker (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Martin Diewald (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Previous research has shown that parents respond to differences in their children’s potential by providing them with different levels of support, and that such support allocation decisions are shaped by socioeconomic status (SES). We extend this observation to the assumption, raised in research on parental compensation and social mobility, that not only the allocation, but also the form of support provided is socially stratified. Specifically, we investigate whether socioeconomically advantaged parents use mechanisms that do not rely directly on cognitive enhancement. Drawing on data from three consecutive waves of the German TwinLife study (N=962), we use twin fixed-effects models to examine how parents respond to their children having different grades. We investigate parental support strategies, including help with schoolwork and school-related communication, encouragement and explicitly formulated expectations, and extracurricular cognitive stimulation. Our findings suggest that high-SES parents tend to compensate for their children’s poor performance by helping them with schoolwork, fostering communication, and formulating academic expectations and encouragement. In contrast, we found no evidence that parents in either high- or low-SES families respond to differences in their children’s school performance by providing them with extracurricular cognitive stimulation.
    Keywords: secondary education, social stratification, twins
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Raphaël Franck
    Abstract: This study explores the impact of industrialization on secondary schooling in 19th century France. As a source of exogenous variation in industrialization across the French territory, it takes advantage of the openings and closures of mines which were supervised by the Ministry of Public Works, independently from the Ministry of Education. The results suggest that industrialization had a negative but mostly insignificant effect on high-school enrollment. However, industrialization increased the share of high-school pupils in applied sections and the wages of mathematics teachers.
    Keywords: horse power, industrial revolution, secondary schooling
    JEL: I25 N33 O14
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Wenchao Jin (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, BN1 9SL Falmer, United Kingdom)
    Abstract: Since the 90s many developed countries have experienced job polarisation, whereby employment shifts away from middle-paying jobs and towards both higher-paid and lower-paid ones. The most popular explanation is that technological changes have been biased against routine tasks. This paper offers a complementary explanation that emphasises the increase in skill supply and the resulting adoption of technology. I exploit the large policy-driven expansion of higher education in the UK and argue that this supply-side shift has caused the adoption of routine-biased technology and thereby employment polarisation. This framework is supported by three facts observed in the UK. First, employment has shifted from the middle to the top, with not much change at the bottom of the occupation distribution. Second, there were relatively little movements in occupational wages and the pattern is not U-shaped. Third, over a period of rapidly increasing supply of graduates, occupational outcomes among graduates have been broadly stable. I build an equilibrium multi-sector model of occupational labor and fit it to UK data over 1997-2015. I find that in most industries, technical change over the period was biased against routine tasks and favoured managerial and professional tasks. Allowing endogenous technological change, the shift in skills supply alone can account for between a third and two thirds of the actual decline in routine manual occupations.
    Keywords: job polarisation; Routine-Biased Technical Change
    JEL: J20 J24
    Date: 2022–12

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