nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒05‒08
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Transitory Earnings Opportunities and Educational Scarring of Men By Sigurdsson, Jósef
  2. Relative Performance Feedback and Long-Term Tasks – Experimental Evidence from Higher Education By Raphael Brade; Oliver Himmler; Robert Jaeckle
  3. Classroom Competition, Student Effort, and Peer Effects By Mark R. Rosenzweig; Bing Xu
  4. The Decline of Routine Tasks, Education Investments, and Intergenerational Mobility By Patrick Bennett; Kai Liu; Kjell Salvanes
  5. Ready for School? Effects on School Starters of Establishing School Psychology Offices in Norway By Martin Flatø; Bernt Bratsberg; Andreas Kotsadam; Fartein Ask Torvik; Ole Røgeberg; Camilla Stoltenberg
  6. What Can Historically Black Colleges and Universities Teach about Improving Higher Education Outcomes for Black Students? By Gregory Price; Angelino Viceisza
  7. Maximum Impact Intergenerational Associations By Eshaghnia, Sadegh S. M.; Heckman, James J.; Landerso, Rasmus
  8. Women's Colleges and Economics Major Choice: Evidence from Wellesley College Applicants By Kristin F. Butcher; Patrick McEwan; Akila Weerapana

  1. By: Sigurdsson, Jósef (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Men have fallen behind women in education in developed countries. Why? I study the impact of a transitory increase in the opportunity cost of schooling on men's and women's educational attainment. I exploit a reform in Iceland that lowered income taxes to zero for one year and compare teenagers above and below the compulsory schooling age. This earnings opportunity increased the dropout rate and led to a permanent loss in years of education for young men, but had no effect on the education of women. Male dropouts suffer substantial losses in lifetime earnings, slow career progression, and reduced marriage and fertility outcomes. The results cannot be explained by negative selection of dropouts or low returns to education but can be reconciled by gender differences in nonpecuniary costs of school attendance, myopia, or perceived returns to education. The findings suggest that due to these gender differences, economic booms misallocate young men away from school, entrenching the gender gap in education.
    Keywords: educational attainment, opportunity cost, gender gap, labor supply, tax reform
    JEL: H24 I21 I26 J16 J24
    Date: 2023–03
  2. By: Raphael Brade; Oliver Himmler; Robert Jaeckle
    Abstract: We present first experimental evidence that relative performance feedback improves both the speed and quality with which challenging long-term tasks are completed. Providing university students with ongoing relative feedback on accumulated course credits accelerates graduation by 0.12 SD, and also improves grades by 0.063 SD. Treatment effects are concentrated among students with medium pre-treatment graduation probabilities: when these students are informed about an above-average performance, their outcomes improve – otherwise their outcomes deteriorate. Combined with survey evidence, this pattern of results suggests that learning about own ability is a plausible mechanism.
    Keywords: relative performance feedback, rank, natural field experiment, higher education, perceived ability, belief updating
    JEL: C93 D83 D91 I21 I23 I24
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Mark R. Rosenzweig; Bing Xu
    Abstract: This paper studies how rewards based on class rank affect student effort and performance using a game-theoretic classroom competition model and data from the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees in the US. The paper finds that variation in the presence of strong or weak students changes the incentives and test scores of incumbent students depending on their ability group in accord with the competition model, with increases in the number of strong students lowering effort among strong and weak incumbents but raising the test scores of weak incumbents. The results suggest that competition induced by rank-based rewards within homogeneous ability groups lowers overall effort levels, while the presence of strong students directly augments the performance, but not the effort levels, of weak students despite the competition. The paper also rules out a number of alternative explanations for these school composition effects, including disruptions, teacher-initiated changes in curriculum in response to changing class composition, selective incumbent-student school exit, and endogenous responses of refugee location choices to school performance.
    JEL: I21 I24 J15
    Date: 2023–04
  4. By: Patrick Bennett (University of Liverpool); Kai Liu (University of Cambridge); Kjell Salvanes (Norwegian School of Economics)
    Abstract: How does a large structural change to the labor market affect education investments made at young ages? Exploiting differential exposure to the national decline in routine-task intensity across local labor markets, we show that the secular decline in routine tasks causes major shifts in education investments of high school students, where they invest less in vocational-trades education and increasingly invest in college education. Our results highlight that labor demand changes impact inequality in the next generation. Low-ability and low-SES students are most responsive to task-biased demand changes and, as a result, intergenerational mobility in college education increases.
    Keywords: Local labor markets, routine tasks, task-biased demand change, human capital, college, intergenerational mobility
    JEL: I24 J23 J24 J62
    Date: 2023–03
  5. By: Martin Flatø; Bernt Bratsberg; Andreas Kotsadam; Fartein Ask Torvik; Ole Røgeberg; Camilla Stoltenberg
    Abstract: We consider long-term impacts of establishing school psychology offices in Norway, which introduced ‘maturity testing’ to advice parents and school boards on school starting age. In the early reform period, children born close to the normative age cut-off who reached school-starting age after the establishment were more likely to finish compulsory schooling late, and experienced higher earnings as adults. When offices were instead able to block delayed school entry after a legislative change, having an office in operation led to a reduction in the likelihood of late graduation for the youngest children in each cohort, and no long-term benefits.
    Keywords: school psychology, maturity, school readiness, redshirting, school starting age, Norway
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 I28 J24 N34
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Gregory Price; Angelino Viceisza
    Abstract: Historically Black colleges and universities are institutions that were established prior to 1964 with the principal mission of educating Black Americans. In this essay, we focus on two main issues. We start by examining how Black College students perform across HBCUs and non-HBCUs by looking at a relatively broad range of outcomes, including college and graduate school completion, job satisfaction, social mobility, civic engagement, and health. HBCUs punch significantly above their weight, especially considering their significant lack of resources. We then turn to the potential causes of these differences and provide a glimpse into the “secret sauce” of HBCUs. We conclude with potential implications for HBCU and non-HBCU policy.
    JEL: I21 J01 J15 Z13
    Date: 2023–04
  7. By: Eshaghnia, Sadegh S. M. (University of Chicago); Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago); Landerso, Rasmus (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit)
    Abstract: This paper presents a new approach to measuring the intergenerational transmission of well-being and a novel perspective on which measures and what age ranges to use to estimate intergenerational social mobility. We select the measures and the age ranges that best predict important human capital outcomes of children. The predictive power of parental resources varies among measures of parental resources as well as the age ranges used to measure them. Lifetime measures outperform traditional snapshot proxies for lifetime incomes based on income flows at certain age windows in predicting child outcomes, regardless of the ages when child outcomes are measured. The sensitivity of IGE estimates to the ages at which parental resources are measured is far smaller than their sensitivity to whether lifetime measures are used or whether snapshot measures are used. We also find that the financial resources of parents compensate in part for non-monetary inputs to child human capital such as the stability of the family and education of parents. We interpret our estimates using the technology of skill formation modified to account for the emergence of new skills in adolescence.
    Keywords: intergenerational elasticity of income, lifecycle measures, child development, timing of income, compensatory investments
    JEL: I24 D31 I30
    Date: 2023–03
  8. By: Kristin F. Butcher; Patrick McEwan; Akila Weerapana
    Abstract: Many observers argue that diversity in Economics and STEM fields is critical, not simply because of egalitarian goals, but because who is in a field may shape what is studied by it. If increasing the rate of majoring in mathematically-intensive fields among women is a worthy goal, then understanding whether women’s colleges causally affect that choice is important. Among all admitted applicants to Wellesley College, enrollees are 7.2 percentage points (94%) more likely to receive an Economics degree than non-enrollees (a plausible lower bound given negative selection into enrollment on math skills and major preferences). Overall, 3.2 percentage points—or 44% of the difference between enrollees and non-enrollees—is explained by college exposure to female instructors and students, consistent with a wider role for women’s colleges in increasing female participation in Economics.
    JEL: I23 J16 J24
    Date: 2023–04

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