nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒07‒10
eight papers chosen by
Nádia Simões
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

  1. Perceived Ability and School Choices: Experimental Evidence and Scale-up Effects By Bobba, Matteo; Frisancho, Veronica; Pariguana, Marco
  2. How Informal Mentoring by Teachers, Counselors, and Coaches Supports Students’ Long-Run Academic Success By Matthew A. Kraft; Alexander J. Bolves; Noelle M. Hurd
  3. Higher Education Opportunity and the Choice of Vocational vs. Academic High School By Xing, Chunbing; Sun, Yan; Luo, Chuliang
  4. Impact of early childhood school intervention on enrollment and learning outcomes: Evaluation of a public program in India By Bhattacharya, Nilanjan; Pakrashi, Debayan; Saha, Sarani; Sahoo, Soham
  5. Trends in the School Lunch Program: Changes in Selection, Nutrition & Health By Therese Bonomo; Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
  6. ChatGPT and the Labor Market: Unraveling the Effect of AI Discussions on Students' Earnings Expectations By Samir Huseynov
  7. Financial literacy, experimental preference measures and field behavior – A randomized educational intervention By Matthias Sutter; Michael Weyland; Anna Untertrifaller; Manuel Froitzheim; Sebastian O. Schneider
  8. The Impact of Working Memory Training on Children's Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills By Eva M. Berger; Ernst Fehr; Henning Hermes; Daniel Schunk; Kirsten Winkel

  1. By: Bobba, Matteo (Toulouse School of Economics); Frisancho, Veronica (Inter-American Development Bank); Pariguana, Marco (University of Western Ontario)
    Abstract: This paper studies an information intervention designed and implemented in the context of a school assignment mechanism in Mexico City. We find that providing students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds with feedback about their academic performance contributes to placing applicants in schools that better fit their skills, allowing them to graduate on time from high school at a higher rate. We also quantify the effect of a counterfactual and yet feasible implementation of the information intervention at a much larger scale. Simulation results demonstrate substantial heterogeneity in the demandside responses, which trigger sorting and displacement patterns within the assignment mechanism. The equilibrium effects of the intervention may possibly hinder the subsequent academic trajectories of high-achieving and socio-economically disadvantaged students.
    Keywords: subjective expectations, information provision, school choice, upper-secondary education, scaling up experiments, spillover and equilibrium effects
    JEL: D83 I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2023–05
  2. By: Matthew A. Kraft; Alexander J. Bolves; Noelle M. Hurd
    Abstract: We document a largely unrecognized pathway through which schools promote human capital development – by fostering informal mentoring relationships between students and teachers, counselors, and coaches. Using longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents, we explore the nature and consequences of natural mentoring relationships by leveraging within-student variation in the timing of mentorship formation as well as differences in exposure among pairs of twins, best friends, and romantic partners. Results across difference-in-differences and pair fixed-effect specifications show consistent and meaningful positive effects on student attainment, with a conservative estimate of a 9.4 percentage point increase in college attendance. Effects are largest for students of lower socioeconomic status and robust to controls for individual characteristics and bounding exercises for selection on unobservables. Smaller class sizes and a school culture where students have a strong sense of belonging are important school-level predictors of having a K-12 natural mentor.
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 J24
    Date: 2023–05
  3. By: Xing, Chunbing (Renmin University of China); Sun, Yan (World Bank); Luo, Chuliang (Renmin University of China)
    Abstract: This research uses CHIP data of 2018 to examine the impact of higher education opportunities on the middle school graduates' choice between academic and vocational high schools. The findings indicate that a higher university quota at the provincial level increases the likelihood of middle school graduates choosing an academic high school, and the probability of choosing a vocational high school is negatively correlated with elite university opportunities in urban China. These results suggest that spatial differences in higher education opportunities significantly influence the type of human capital investment at the high school stage in China.
    Keywords: human capital investment, higher education opportunity, the choice of vocational vs. academic high school
    JEL: I24 I25 I26 H75
    Date: 2023–05
  4. By: Bhattacharya, Nilanjan; Pakrashi, Debayan; Saha, Sarani; Sahoo, Soham
    Abstract: We evaluate the impact of introducing a pre-primary schooling program in government schools in the Indian state of West Bengal in 2013 on children’s early enrollment in schools and subsequent test scores. Using double difference, triple difference, and synthetic control methodologies, we find that the program significantly increased enrollment in the pre-primary sections of the government schools. However, the rise in enrollment did not translate into improved performance of the students. Analyzing the test scores, we find that after the program's introduction, both math and reading scores of treated children did not improve compared to the control group. We attribute this result to the deteriorating physical and learning infrastructure in the state government schools, captured via a decline in the availability of classrooms and teachers.
    Keywords: pre-primary education, learning outcomes, enrollment
    JEL: I21 I25 I28
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Therese Bonomo; Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
    Abstract: There has been significant media attention on the issue of childhood obesity, leading policymakers to reform the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to include stricter nutritional requirements. We use data on school lunch menus to document improvements in the nutritional quality of school meals between 1991 and 2010. We then evaluate how this change in nutritional content maps into obesity outcomes, using panel data on a nationally representative cohort of children, tracking them from kindergarten entry in fall 2010 through the end of fifth grade in spring 2016. We find little evidence that participation in the school lunch program leads to weight gain, as measured by changes in obesity, overweight, and BMI. These results suggest that improvements in the nutritional content of school lunches have been largely successful in reversing the previously negative relationship between school lunches and childhood obesity. Unrelated to school lunch participation, we find a strong relationship between mother’s obesity status and both the level and growth of children’s obesity, especially for girls and among high-SES families.
    JEL: I14 I18 I21
    Date: 2023–05
  6. By: Samir Huseynov
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal impact of negatively and positively framed ChatGPT Artificial Intelligence (AI) discussions on US students' anticipated labor market outcomes. Our findings reveal students reduce their confidence regarding their future earnings prospects after exposure to AI debates, and this effect is more pronounced after reading discussion excerpts with a negative tone. Unlike STEM majors, students in Non-STEM fields show asymmetric and pessimistic belief changes, suggesting that they might feel more vulnerable to emerging AI technologies. Pessimistic belief updates regarding future earnings are also prevalent across gender and GPA levels, indicating widespread AI concerns among all student subgroups. Educators, administrators, and policymakers may regularly engage with students to address their concerns and enhance educational curricula to better prepare them for a future that will be inevitably shaped by AI.
    Date: 2023–05
  7. By: Matthias Sutter (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn); Michael Weyland (Ludwigsburg University of Education); Anna Untertrifaller (University of Cologne); Manuel Froitzheim (University of Siegen); Sebastian O. Schneider (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)
    Abstract: We present the results of a randomized intervention to study how teaching financial literacy to 16-year old high-school students affects their behavior in risk and time preference tasks. Compared to two different control treatments, we find that teaching financial literacy makes subjects behave more patiently, more time-consistent, and more risk-averse. These effects persist for up to almost 5 years after our intervention. Behavior in the risk and time preference tasks is related to financial behavior outside the lab, in particular spending patterns. This shows that teaching financial literacy affects economic decision-making which in turn is important for field behavior.
    Keywords: Financial literacy, randomized intervention, risk preferences, time preferences, financial behavior, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D14 I21
    Date: 2023–04
  8. By: Eva M. Berger (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs); Ernst Fehr (University of Zurich); Henning Hermes (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf); Daniel Schunk (Johannes Gutenberg University); Kirsten Winkel (Johannes Gutenberg University)
    Abstract: Working memory capacity is thought to play an important role for a wide range of cognitive and noncognitive skills such as fluid intelligence, math, reading, the inhibition of pre-potent impulses or more general self-regulation abilities. Because these abilities substantially affect individuals' life trajectories in terms of health, education, and earnings, the question of whether working memory (WM) training can improve them is of considerable importance. However, whether WM training leads to improvements in these far-transfer skills is contested. Here, we examine the causal impact of WM training embedded in regular school teaching by a randomized educational intervention involving a sample of 6–7 years old first graders. We find substantial immediate and lasting gains in working memory capacity. In addition, we document relatively large positive far-transfer effects on important skills such as geometry, Raven's fluid IQ measure, and the ability to inhibit pre-potent impulses. Moreover, these far-transfer effects emerge over time and only become fully visible after 12–13 months. Finally, we document that three years after the intervention the children who received training have a roughly 16 percentage points higher probability of entering the academic track in secondary school.
    Date: 2023–06–23

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