nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒06‒26
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Who Benefits from Tuition-Free, Top-Quality Universities? Evidence from Brazil By Duryea, Suzanne; Ribas, Rafael Perez; Sampaio, Breno; Sampaio, Gustavo R.; Trevisan, Giuseppe
  2. Do role models matter in large classes? New evidence on gender match effects in higher education By Maurer, Stephan; Schwerdt, Guido; Wiederhold, Simon
  3. First Generation College Students and Peer Effects By Kofoed, Michael S.; Jones, Todd R.
  4. Same-sex role model effects in education By Alexandra de Gendre; Jan Feld; Nicolás Salamanca; Ulf Zölitz
  5. Where do STEM graduates stem from? The intergenerational transmission of comparative skill advantages By Hanushek, Eric Alan; Jacobs, Babs; Schwerdt, Guido; van der Velden, Rolf; Vermeulen, Stan; Wiederhold, Simon
  6. Opening doors for immigrants: The importance of occupational and workplace-based cultural skills for successful labor market entry By Chiara Zisler; Damiano Pregaldini; Uschi Backes-Gellner
  7. Managerial Practices and Student Performance: Evidence from Changes in School Principals By Di Liberto, Adriana; Giua, Ludovica; Schivardi, Fabiano; Sideri, Marco; Sulis, Giovanni
  8. Peer Effects on Academic Self-concept: A Large Randomized Field Experiment By Tamás Keller; Jinho Kim; Felix Elwert

  1. By: Duryea, Suzanne (Inter-American Development Bank); Ribas, Rafael Perez (Boise State University); Sampaio, Breno (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco); Sampaio, Gustavo R. (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco); Trevisan, Giuseppe (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term impact on earnings of attending a tuition-free, top-quality university in Brazil. We identify the causal effect through a sharp discontinuity in an admission process based on test scores. If admitted, low-income students are found to increase their earnings by 26% ten years later. However, admission has a small and insignificant effect on high-income students. The difference between income groups is not explained by educational attainment, program choice, or selection into better-paying jobs. The evidence suggests that most low-income applicants, if not admitted, still graduate from college but with much lower returns to education. High-income applicants who just miss the cutoff, however, can find other opportunities such that earnings trajectories are unchanged. Our results underscore the role of affordable higher education in promoting social mobility.
    Keywords: college wage premium, affordability, school quality, income groups
    JEL: H52 I23 I26
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Maurer, Stephan; Schwerdt, Guido; Wiederhold, Simon
    Abstract: It is well established that female students perform better when taught by female professors. However, little is known about the mechanisms explaining these gender match effects. Using administrative records from a German public university, which cover all programs and courses between 2006 and 2018, we show that gender match effects are sizable in smaller classes, but are absent in larger classes. These results suggest that direct and frequent interactions between students and professors are crucial for gender match effects to emerge. In contrast, the mere fact that one's professor is female is not sufficient to increase performance of female students.
    Keywords: gender gap, professors, role models, tertiary education
    JEL: I21 I23 I24 J16
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Kofoed, Michael S. (U.S. Military Academy, West Point); Jones, Todd R. (Mississippi State University)
    Abstract: Higher education policymakers are concerned about the success of first-generation college students. In this study, we investigate one potential factor that may influence outcomes: first-generation students' peers. To mitigate common biases that may arise when estimating peer effects, we leverage the assignment of roommates at The United States Military Academy (West Point). We do not find evidence that being exposed to a roommate(s) with a one standard deviation higher English SAT score impacts first-semester English grades for first-generation students. Our findings for math are inconclusive, with at best suggestive evidence of a small, positive effect.
    Keywords: peer effects, roommates, first generation college students
    JEL: I21 I26 H41
    Date: 2023–05
  4. By: Alexandra de Gendre; Jan Feld; Nicolás Salamanca; Ulf Zölitz
    Abstract: We study same-sex role model effects of teachers with a meta-analysis and our own study of three million students in 90 countries. Both approaches show that role model effects on performance are, on average, small: 0.030 SD in the meta-analysis and 0.015 SD in our multi-country study. Going beyond test scores, our multi-country study documents larger average role model effects on job preferences (0.063 SD). To understand the universality of these effects, we estimate the distributions of country-level same-sex role model effects. Although role model effects on test scores appear universally small, we find substantial cross-country variation for job preferences, with larger effects in countries with larger gender gaps. These results are consistent with role models inspiring students to overcome gender stereotypes and pursue a STEM career. However, in countries with negligible gender gaps, role models do not seem to have this equalizing function.
    Keywords: Same-sex role models, STEM, teachers, external validity, multi-country study, gender role models, standardized test scores, grades, job preferences, science, math, reading, meta-analysis, meta-science
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2023–06
  5. By: Hanushek, Eric Alan; Jacobs, Babs; Schwerdt, Guido; van der Velden, Rolf; Vermeulen, Stan; Wiederhold, Simon
    Abstract: The standard economic model of occupational choice following a basic Roy model emphasizes individual selection and comparative advantage, but the sources of comparative advantage are not well understood. We employ a unique combination of Dutch survey and registry data that links math and language skills across generations and permits analysis of the intergenerational transmission of comparative skill advantages. Exploiting within-family between-subject variation in skills, we show that comparative advantages in math of parents are significantly linked to those of their children. A causal interpretation follows from a novel IV estimation that isolates variation in parent skill advantages due to their teacher and classroom peer quality. Finally, we show the strong influence of family skill transmission on children's choices of STEM fields.
    Keywords: causality, intergenerational mobility, parent-child skill transmission, STEM
    JEL: I24 I26 J12 J24 J62
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Chiara Zisler; Damiano Pregaldini; Uschi Backes-Gellner
    Abstract: Young immigrants who often lack country-specific human capital face greater challenges in the transition from education to the labor market (e.g., lower employment probabilities, longer unemployment spells) than native adolescents. This paper analyzes the importance, for a successful transition, of occupational skills and workplace-based cultural skills that workers can acquire only at the work. We exploit the Swiss vocational education and training (VET) setting, in which students acquire occupational skills in one of two different types of vocational education programs: either dual programs with training in firms based on employment contracts and complemented by vocational schooling, or school-based programs without employment contracts. While well-defined curricula ensure identical occupational skills in both programs, the training of workplace-based cultural skills differs systematically. As young immigrants lack these essential workplace-related cultural skills compared to natives, we expect that additional workplace-based cultural skills training in dual VET improves immigrants' transition into the labor market and thereby their longer-term employment prospects. Using administrative data, we compare how both programs affect the labor market entry of immigrant groups with pronounced cultural disadvantages. To estimate causal effects on employment outcomes, we use differences in VET traditions across Swiss language regions as an instrument. Results show that completing dual VET leads to significantly reduced unemployment probabilities for young immigrants compared to natives in the first year after graduation, suggesting that beyond well-defined curricula for occupational skills, workplace-based cultural skills are crucial for immigrants' transitions from education into the labor market.
    Keywords: Age of arrival, Assimilation, Cultural distance, Immigrants, Labor market integration, Skills
    JEL: J24 J61
    Date: 2023–06
  7. By: Di Liberto, Adriana (University of Cagliari); Giua, Ludovica (University of Cagliari); Schivardi, Fabiano (LUISS Guido Carli University); Sideri, Marco (University of Cagliari); Sulis, Giovanni (University of Cagliari)
    Abstract: We study how managerial practices of school principals affect student performance and aspirations. We link administrative data on secondary Italian students to the management scores of their school principals in 2011 and 2015 based on the World Management Survey methodology. The frequent turnover of school principals over this period allows us to causally interpret school-fixed-effect estimates. We find that management quality positively and substantially impacts standardized math and language tests and student desire to attend college. The comparison to pooled-OLS suggests that fixed effects correct for the downward bias arising from selection of better school principals into more difficult schools.
    Keywords: management, productivity, school principals, student outcomes
    JEL: L2 I2 M1 O32
    Date: 2023–06
  8. By: Tamás Keller (KRTK KTI; Computational Social Science - Research Center for Educational and Network Studies, Centre for Social Sciences; and TÁRKI Social Research Institute); Jinho Kim (Department of Health Policy and Management, Korea University and Interdisciplinary Program in Precision Public Health, Korea University); Felix Elwert (Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics)
    Abstract: Social theories posit that peers affect students’ academic self-concept (ASC). Most prominently, Big-Fish-Little-Pond, invidious comparison, and relative deprivation theories predict that exposure to academically stronger peers decreases students’ ASC, and exposure to academically weaker peers increases students’ ASC. These propositions have not yet been tested experimentally. We executed a large and pre-registered field experiment that randomized students to deskmates within 195 classrooms of 41 schools (N = 3, 022). Our primary experimental analysis found no evidence of an effect of peer achievement on ASC in either direction. Exploratory analyses hinted at a subject-specific deskmate effect on ASC in verbal skills, and that sitting next to a lower-achieving boy increased girls’ ASC (but not that sitting next to a higher-achieving boy decreased girls’ ASC). Critically, however, none of these group-specific results held up to even modest corrections for multiple hypothesis testing. Contrary to theory, our randomized field experiment thus provides no evidence for an effect of peer achievement on students’ ASC.
    Keywords: Academic self-concept, peer effects, social comparison, Big-Fish-Little-Pond, invidious comparison, relative deprivation, randomized field experiment, deskmates, Hungary
    JEL: C93 I21 I24
    Date: 2022–12

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