nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒05‒15
five papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. The quality of school track assignment decisions by teachers By Joppe de Ree; Matthijs Oosterveen; Dinand Webbink
  2. The causal impact of maternal educational curricula on infant health at birth By Cristina Borra; Pilar Cuevas-Ruiz; Almudena Sevilla
  3. Decomposing Migrant Self-Selection: Education, Occupation, and Unobserved Abilities By Ilpo Kauppinen; Panu Poutvaara
  4. The Labor Market Returns to Very Short Postsecondary Certificates By Darolia, Rajeev; Guo, Chuanyi; Kim, Youngran
  5. Impact of Graduating with Honors on Entry Wages of Economics Majors By Atay, Salim; Asik, Gunes A.; Tumen, Semih

  1. By: Joppe de Ree; Matthijs Oosterveen; Dinand Webbink
    Abstract: We study the quality of secondary school track assignment decisions in the Netherlands, using a regression discontinuity design. In 6th grade, primary school teachers assign each student to a secondary school track. If a student scores above a track-specific cutoff on the standardized end-of-primary education test, the teacher can upwardly revise this assignment. By comparing students just left and right of these cutoffs, we find that between 50-90% of the students are "trapped in track": these students are on the high track after four years, only if they started on the high track in first year. The remaining (minority of) students are "always low": they are always on the low track after four years, independently of where they started. These proportions hold for students near the cutoffs that shift from the low to the high track in first year by scoring above the cutoff. Hence, for a majority of these students the initial (unrevised) track assignment decision is too low. The results replicate across most of the secondary school tracks, from the vocational to the academic tracks, and stand out against an education system with a lot of upward and downward track mobility.
    Date: 2023–04
  2. By: Cristina Borra; Pilar Cuevas-Ruiz; Almudena Sevilla
    Abstract: We provide the first causal evidence of the returns to maternal educational curricula on offspring's health at birth. Educational programs that aim to deliver more general knowledge may potentially improve women's earning potential and maternal prenatal investment by increasing the portability of skills across occupations and improving women's ability to make informed decisions about fertility options and health behavior. We study the impacts of a comprehensive educational reform that postponed students' curriculum choices and integrated more general education into the high school system on infant health outcomes. Using a dose-response difference-in-differences (DiD) model research design applied to linked population registries, we find that the reform led to a significant reduction in the incidence of very low birth weight (less than 1, 500 grams) and very preterm birth (less than 33 gestation weeks). Overall, the reform's positive effects on infant health at birth seem to be driven by increased mothers' labor market opportunities and better family planning, rather than increased ability to avoid risky behaviours or increased women's earnings via different occupational choices or assortative mating.
    Keywords: health at birth, educational curricula, vocational education, academic education, comprehensive educational reform
    Date: 2023–04–18
  3. By: Ilpo Kauppinen; Panu Poutvaara
    Abstract: We analyze self-selection and sorting of emigrants from Finland, using full-population administrative data from Statistics Finland. We analyze emigration events lasting at least five years and decompose migrant self-selection into education, occupation, and unobserved abilities. Our analysis focuses on Finnish citizens satisfying three criteria: they were between 25-54 years of age; they had no immigrant background; and they were employed. We find that emigrants from Finland are strongly positively self-selected in terms of education and earnings. We also find strong evidence of sorting: men who emigrate outside Nordic countries are considerably better educated and have higher earnings and residual earning than men who emigrate to Nordic countries. Most of the self-selection in terms of higher earnings can be explained by emigrants being more educated. Adding occupational controls increases the fraction of explained self-selection only marginally. While men are positively self-selected also with respect to residual earnings, women are not.
    Keywords: international migration, self-selection, Roy model, education, residual earnings
    JEL: F22 I26 J31
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Darolia, Rajeev (University of Kentucky); Guo, Chuanyi (affiliation not available); Kim, Youngran (Michigan State University)
    Abstract: Major policy initiatives and high award rates have led to questions about the value of short-term postsecondary credentials. We examine the labor market returns to very short certificates, including those that require only a few credits to complete, using data from a state that has among the highest awarding rates of such credentials. We do not find strong evidence that rapid certificates (those that require 6 credits or fewer) have lower immediate labor market returns than longer but still short-term certificates (7-36 credits). For health students, rapid certificates yield the greatest immediate earnings and employment gains, though these benefits appear to fade out. We also find that, compared to pre-enrollment, health and skilled trades students who earned a rapid certificate are most likely to switch into an establishment whose industry aligns with the field of study.
    Keywords: returns to education, postsecondary certificates
    JEL: I26 J24 J38
    Date: 2023–04
  5. By: Atay, Salim (Istanbul Technical University); Asik, Gunes A. (TOBB University of Economy and Technology); Tumen, Semih (TED University)
    Abstract: Employers use various proxies to predict the future labor productivity levels of the job applicants. Success in school, especially in high-level coursework, is among the most widely used proxies to screen the entry-level candidates. We estimate the causal effect of graduating with honors – i.e., with a GPA of 3.00 and above out of 4.00 – on the starting wages of economics majors in Türkiye. Using comprehensive micro data on all economics majors between 2014-2018, matched with administrative records about their first jobs, we implement a regression discontinuity analysis to investigate whether there is any statistically significant jump in the starting wages at the honors-degree cutoff. We find that graduating with honors increases the wages of males, while there is no impact on females. We further document that the impact on males is almost entirely driven by the graduates of non-elite universities. In particular, graduating with an honors degree increases the entry wages of males from non-elite universities by about 4 percent, on average. We provide an explanation for these patterns using the theory of statistical discrimination. We discuss the potential reasons behind the heterogeneous signal value of graduating with honors between males versus females and elite versus non-elite university graduates.
    Keywords: honors degree, economics majors, entry wages, statistical discrimination, regression discontinuity
    JEL: J31 J71 I26
    Date: 2023–04

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