nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒03‒20
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. What Makes a Program Good? Evidence from Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Five Developing Countries By Marina Bassi; Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Sergio Urzua
  2. The Contribution of Short-Cycle Programs to Student Outcomes: Evidence from Colombia By Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Tatiana Melguizo; Angelica Sanchez
  3. Rainy days and learning outcomes: Evidence from sub-saharan Africa By Y. Bekkouche; Kenneth Houngbedji; Oswald Koussihouede
  4. The Impact of the "Coding Girls" Program on High School Students' Educational Choices By Stefania Basiglio; Daniela Del Boca; Chiara Pronzato
  5. Returns to School Spending in Rural America: Evidence from Wisconsin's Sparsity Aid Program By Acton, Riley; Orr, Cody; Rogers, Salem
  6. Marital Sorting and Inequality: How Educational Categorization Matters By Frederik Almar; Benjamin Friedrich; Ana Reynoso; Bastian Schulz; Rune Vejlin
  7. Why does education expenditure differ across countries? The role of income inequality, human capital and the inclusiveness of education systems By Debora Di Gioacchino; Laura Sabani; Stefano Usai
  8. The Efficacy of Large-Scale Affirmative Action at Elite Universities By Cecilia Machado; Germán Reyes; Evan Riehl
  9. The Production of Financial Literacy By Giovanni Gallipoli; Sebastian Gomez-Cardona

  1. By: Marina Bassi; Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Sergio Urzua
    Abstract: Short-cycle higher education programs (SCPs) can play a central role in skill development and higher education expansion, yet their quality varies greatly within and among countries. In this paper we explore the relationship between programs’ practices and inputs (quality determinants) and student academic and labor market outcomes. We design and conduct a novel survey to collect program-level information on quality determinants and average outcomes for Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. Categories of quality determinants include training and curriculum, infrastructure, faculty, link with productive sector, costs and funding, and practices on student admission and institutional governance. We also collect administrative, student-level data on higher education and formal employment for SCP students in Brazil and Ecuador and match it to survey data. Using machine learning methods, we select the quality determinants that predict outcomes at the program and student levels. Estimates indicate that some quality determinants may favor academic and labor market outcomes while others may hinder them. Two practices predict improvements in all labor market outcomes in Brazil and Ecuador—teaching numerical competencies and providing job market information—and one practice—teaching numerical competencies—additionally predicts improvements in labor market outcomes for all survey countries. Since quality determinants account for 20-40 percent of the explained variation in student-level outcomes, quality determinants might have a role shrinking program quality gaps. Findings have implications for the design and replication of high-quality SCPs, their regulation, and the development of information systems.
    Keywords: higher education, short-cycle degrees, quality
    JEL: I22 I23 I26 J24
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Tatiana Melguizo; Angelica Sanchez
    Abstract: Short-cycle higher education programs (SCPs), lasting two or three years, capture about a quarter of higher education enrollment in the world and can play a key role enhancing workforce skills. In this paper, we estimate the program-level contribution of SCPs to student academic and labor market outcomes, and study how and why these contributions vary across programs. We exploit unique administrative data from Colombia on the universe of students, institutions, and programs to control for a rich set of student, peer, and local choice set characteristics. We find that program-level contributions account for about 60-70 percent of the variation in student-level graduation and labor market outcomes. Our estimates show that programs vary greatly in their contributions, across and especially within fields of study. Moreover, the estimated contributions are strongly correlated with program outcomes but not with other commonly used quality measures. Programs contribute more to formal employment and wages when they are longer, have been provided for a longer time, are taught by more specialized institutions, and are offered in larger cities.
    Keywords: short-cycle programs, value added, quality, higher education
    JEL: I22 I23 I26 J24
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Y. Bekkouche; Kenneth Houngbedji (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Oswald Koussihouede
    Abstract: We combined information on daily rainfall at school locations and standardized test scores to study how learning outcomes at primary schools are affected by precipitation during school days in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results suggest that student test scores are lower in schools that are exposed to more rainy days during the academic year. Students in locations that had more rainy school days are also more likely to experience grade repetition. We tested the mechanisms through which rainfall affects learning outcomes in our study area and found that teachers are more likely to be absent in locations with more rainy school days. We discuss the implications of these results and draw attention to policy options to mitigate learning loss during rainy school days.
    Keywords: Education, Children, Climate, I21, Q54
    Date: 2023–01–30
  4. By: Stefania Basiglio (University of Bari); Daniela Del Boca (University of Turin and Collegio Carlo Alberto); Chiara Pronzato (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of “Coding Girls†, an educational enrichment program designed to address the underrepresentation of women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in Italy by stimulating young female students’ interest in programming and science and encouraging them to consider careers in STEMrelated fields. Implemented in ten secondary schools in Turin (Italy) over the period 2019- 2022, the Coding Girls program provided lab-based computer programming instruction as well as introductory talks on specific topics in STEM. The program was evaluated by randomized controlled trial. Our results show that Coding Girls had a significant and positive impact on male and female students’ programming skills and on their awareness of gender differences in the workforce. However, it did not seem to affect girls’ aspirations to pursue higher education in STEM-related disciplines. The gender stereotypes children are exposed to from a very young age tend to steer girls and young women to the humanities. This bias is deeply entrenched and difficult to modify.
    Keywords: gender, STEM, higher educational choice
    JEL: J16 I23
    Date: 2023–02
  5. By: Acton, Riley (Miami University); Orr, Cody (U.S. Census Bureau); Rogers, Salem (Michigan State University)
    Abstract: We study the effects of increased school spending in rural American school districts by leveraging the introduction and subsequent expansion of Wisconsin's Sparsity Aid Program. We find that the program, which provides additional state funding to small and isolated school districts, increased spending in eligible districts by 2% annually and that districts primarily allocated funds to areas with low baseline budget shares. This increased spending has little effect on standardized test scores, but modestly increases college enrollment and completion for students with a low likelihood of attending or completing college.
    Keywords: school finance, educational attainment, rural schools
    JEL: H75 I21 I22 R51
    Date: 2023–02
  6. By: Frederik Almar; Benjamin Friedrich; Ana Reynoso; Bastian Schulz; Rune Vejlin
    Abstract: This paper revisits the link between education-based marriage market sorting and income inequality. Leveraging Danish administrative data, we develop a novel categorization of marriage market types based on the starting wages and wage growth trajectories associated with educational programs: ambition types. We find a substantial increase in sorting by educational ambition over time, which explains more than 40% of increasing inequality since 1980. In contrast, sorting trends are flat with the commonly used level of education. Hence, the mapping between education and marriage-market types matters crucially for conclusions about the role of marital sorting in rising income inequality.
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Debora Di Gioacchino; Laura Sabani; Stefano Usai
    Abstract: This paper provides a simple model of hierarchical education to study the political determinants of the public education budget and its allocation between different stages of education (basic education and advanced education). The model integrates private education decisions by allowing parents, who are differentiated according to income and human capital, to opt out of the public system and enrol their offspring at private universities. Majority voting decides the size of the budget allocated to education and the expenditure composition. The model exhibits a potential for multiple equilibria and 'low education' traps. Income inequality, the distribution of the adult population's human capital and the inclusiveness of the education system play a fundamental role in deciding the equilibrium public education budget and its allocation between different tiers of education. The main predictions of the theory are broadly consistent with cross-country evidence collected for OECD countries and help to explain why some OECD countries, such as Italy, seem to remain stuck in a 'low education' equilibrium.
    Keywords: Education Funding; Political Economy; Majority Voting; Opting Out; Income Inequality; Redistribution
    JEL: H23 H26 H42 H52 I28
    Date: 2023–02
  8. By: Cecilia Machado (Graduate School of Economics, Getúlio Vargas Foundation); Germán Reyes (Department of Economics, Cornell University); Evan Riehl (Department of Economics and ILR School, Cornell University)
    Abstract: We study the effects of affirmative action at an elite Brazilian university that adopted race- and income-based quotas for 45 percent of its admission slots. We link admission records to national employer-employee data to examine how the policy affected the careers of both its targeted beneficiaries and the university’s other students. For students admitted through affirmative action, the policy led to a modest increase in early-career earnings that faded as their careers progressed. Conversely, the adoption of affirmative action caused a large and persistent decrease in earnings for the university’s most highly ranked students. We present evidence that these negative earnings effects are driven by a reduction in human capital accumulation and a decline in the value of networking.
    JEL: I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2023–03
  9. By: Giovanni Gallipoli (Vancouver School of Economics, UBC); Sebastian Gomez-Cardona (University of British Columbia)
    Abstract: We study the accumulation of financial competencies in a model of dynamic skill formation. We find evidence of complementarities between financial literacy and risk attitudes. Risk tolerance facilitates experimentation and learning-by-doing. Latent risk attitudes and financial literacy are unevenly distributed across households and do not align with general human capital. Linking estimates with data on household portfolios, we show that early-life differences in financial literacy may account for more than half of the standard deviation of wealth by age 60. Dynamic complementarities in skill formation imply that early interventions could reduce later-life inequality while boosting wealth growth.
    Keywords: financial literacy, inequality, wealth returns, skills, risk attitudes
    JEL: I24 D31 J24 D81
    Date: 2023–02

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