nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒09‒25
seven papers chosen by
Nádia Simões, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa 

  1. Occupational Aspirations and Investments in Education: Experimental Evidence from Cambodia By Esther Gehrke; Friederike Lenel; Claudia Schupp
  2. Closing the Gap Between Vocational and General Education? Evidence from University Technical Colleges in England By Stephen Machin; Sandra McNally; Camille Terrier; Guglielmo Ventura
  3. Can vocational education improve schooling and labour outcomes? Evidence from a large expansion By Joao R. Ferreira; Pedro S. Martins
  4. Do Teachers' Labor Contracts Matter? By Ainoa Aparicio Fenoll; Roberto Quaranta
  5. Testing Above the Limit: Drinking Water Contamination and Test Scores By Michelle M. Marcus
  6. The Long-Run Decline of Education Quality in the Developing World By Alexis Le Nestour; Laura Moscoviz; Justin Sandefur
  7. Who Benefits from Remote Schooling? Self-Selection and Match Effects By Jesse M. Bruhn; Christopher Campos; Eric Chyn

  1. By: Esther Gehrke; Friederike Lenel; Claudia Schupp
    Abstract: Students in low-income contexts often lack guidance in their career decisions which can lead to a misallocation of educational investments. We report on a randomized field experiment conducted with 1715 students in rural Cambodia and show that a half-day workshop designed to support adolescents in developing occupational aspirations increased educational investments. We document substantial heterogeneity in treatment effects by baseline student performance. While the workshop increased schooling efforts of high-performing students, treated low-performing students reduced their educational investments. We develop a simple model that explains why an information intervention can affect educational aspirations and investments in opposing directions.
    Keywords: aspirations, career guidance, education, field experiment
    JEL: C93 D83 D90 I21 O15
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Stephen Machin (Department of Economics and Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics (Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE, London, United Kingdom).); Sandra McNally (Department of Economics, University of Surrey and Centre for Economic Performance, Centre for Vocational Education Research. London School of Economics (Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE, London); Camille Terrier (Queen Mary, University of London); Guglielmo Ventura (Centre for Economic Performance, Centre for Vocational Education Research. London School of Economics (Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE, London, United Kingdom))
    Abstract: Delivery of vocational education in schools is a controversial issue around the world and attempts to improve it have been tried for decades. A substantive innovation in vocational education provision came about in 2010 in England when a new form of hybrid schools was introduced that combine general and vocational education: University Technical Colleges (UTCs). This paper adopts an instrumental variable approach to evaluate the causal effect of attending a UTC on academic and vocational education, and on student short-term workforce outcomes. The research design takes advantage of geographic and cross-cohort variation in exposure to UTCs, and of different enrolment ages. For pupils entering UTCs at the unconventional age 14, enrolment in these schools dramatically reduces academic achievement on national exams at age 16. By contrast, for students who enter at the conventional age of 16, UTCs boost vocational achievement without harming academic achievement. UTCs also improve achievement in STEM qualifications, enrolment in apprenticeships, employment prospects (by age 19) and probability of going on to study STEM at university. The paper concludes that there has been both promise and disappointment in what the technical education offered by these new forms of hybrid schools has delivered to date. These mixed conclusions are important for refining the design of school based vocational education around the world.
    Keywords: Technical education; School value-added; University Technical Colleges
    JEL: I20 I21 I28
    Date: 2023–08–31
  3. By: Joao R. Ferreira; Pedro S. Martins
    Abstract: We evaluate the education and labour impact of vocational education and training (VET). Identification draws on a reform to reduce early school leaving, which involved a large-scale, staggered introduction of VET courses. Drawing on comprehensive student-school matched panel data, we find that VET increased upper secondary graduation rates considerably: our LATE estimates are as large as 50 percentage points. These effects are even stronger for low-achieving students and welfare recipients; and also hold when exploiting the large gender differences of VET, with many courses selected almost only by either boys or girls. Moreover, we find evidence of regional youth employment growth and VET wage premiums following VET expansion.
    Keywords: Educational attainment, Vocational education, Matched student-teacher-school, data, Portugal
    JEL: I21 I26 I28
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Ainoa Aparicio Fenoll; Roberto Quaranta
    Abstract: Previous literature on the effect of tenured and tenure-track vs. non-tenure-track professors on students’ performance at university finds contrasting results. Our paper is the first to test whether tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure-track teachers differently affect students’ performance at school. We use data on standardized test scores of a representative sample of primary and secondary school students in Italy and information on their Italian and mathematics teachers’ labor contracts. Controlling for class- and subject-fixed effects, we find that non-tenure-track teachers decrease students’ performance by 0.21 standard deviation. This detrimental effect is fully explained because non-tenure-track teachers are less experienced. In line with previous findings on the adverse effects of teachers’ absences, non-tenure-track teachers are also associated with 0.1 standard deviation worse student performance when their contracts last less than a year.
    Keywords: Teachers, Labor Contracts, Students' Performance, Standardized Tests
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Michelle M. Marcus
    Abstract: This paper provides the first estimates of the contemporaneous effect of drinking water quality violations on students’ academic achievement. Using student-level test score data with residential addresses, geographic information on water systems, and drinking water violations from North Carolina, I estimate the within-student impacts of poor water quality on student test scores. Exposure to a bacteria violation during the school year decreases math scores by about 0.037 standard deviations when the public is uninformed. Results suggest that poor water quality may impact retention or comprehension of material throughout the school year.
    JEL: I18 I24 Q51 Q53
    Date: 2023–08
  6. By: Alexis Le Nestour (Center for Global Development); Laura Moscoviz (Center for Global Development); Justin Sandefur (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: We use comparable, survey-based literacy tests for repeated cross-sections of men and women born between 1950 and 2000 to study education outcomes across cohorts in 87 countries. We find that education quality, defined as literacy conditional on completing five years of schooling, stagnated or declined across the developing world over half a century, with pronounced drops in both South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Increases in schooling outpaced the decline in education quality, leading to large increases in unconditional literacy. Shifts in student composition can explain only part of the downward trend in education quality we observe: the decline pre-dates the abolition of school fees in most countries, and patterns in adult height suggest students in later decades were healthier and wealthier than those in earlier cohorts.
    Keywords: literacy, school quality, access to education
    JEL: I25 N37 O15
    Date: 2022–02–23
  7. By: Jesse M. Bruhn; Christopher Campos; Eric Chyn
    Abstract: We study the distributional effects of remote learning. Our approach combines newly collected data on parental preferences with administrative data from Los Angeles. The preference data allow us to account for selection into remote learning while also studying selection patterns and treatment effect heterogeneity. We find a negative average effect of remote learning on reading (–0.14 SD) and math (–0.17 SD). Notably, we find evidence of positive learning effects for children whose parents have the strongest demand for remote learning. Our results suggest an important subset of students who currently sort into post-pandemic remote learning benefit from expanded choice.
    JEL: I20 I21
    Date: 2023–08

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