nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2023‒10‒09
nine papers chosen by
Nádia Simões, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa 

  1. Adult Education Attendance and Postsecondary Outcomes By Kouwe, Thomas; Ribar, David C.; Greenberg, Daphne; Duan, Yiwei
  2. The Limits of Educational Attainment in Mitigating Occupational Segregation Between Black and White Workers By Ashley Jardina; Peter Q. Blair; Justin Heck; Papia Debroy
  3. Girls’ Education at Scale By David K. Evans; Amina Mendez Acosta; Fei Yuan
  4. More education does make you happier - unless you are unemployed By Bertermann, Alexander; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  5. Race and the Income-Achievement Gap By Bacic, Ryan; Zheng, Angela
  6. Returns to Education in the Marriage Market: Bride Price and School Reform in Egypt By : Jingyuan Deng; Nelly Elmallakh; Luca Flabbi; Roberta Gatti
  7. Contexts of Convenience: Generalizing from Published Evaluations of School Finance Policies By Danielle V. Handel; Eric A. Hanushek
  8. Making Sense of the Shapes: What Do We Know About Literacy Learning in Adulthood? By Jenny C. Aker; James Berry; Melita Sawyer
  9. Psychometric Quality of Measures of Learning Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries By Masha Bertling; Abhijeet Singh; Karthik Muralidharan

  1. By: Kouwe, Thomas (Georgia State University); Ribar, David C. (Georgia State University); Greenberg, Daphne (Georgia State University); Duan, Yiwei (Georgia State University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes postsecondary enrollment and academic outcomes for people who attended adult education classes in Georgia between July 2017 and December 2020, using linked administrative records for students in the state's adult education, technical college, and university systems. The paper estimates discrete-time hazard models of the time from when people start attending adult education classes until they enroll in a Georgia public postsecondary institution. The models consistently indicate that the probability of enrolling in a public postsecondary institution increases with the hours of adult education attendance and assessed skills. The paper also estimates regression models which show that the credit hours and grades adult learners earn in their first postsecondary enrollment terms increase with their previous hours of adult education class attendance.
    Keywords: adult basic skills education, demand for schooling, human capital, administrative data, event-history modeling
    JEL: I23 J24
    Date: 2023–09
  2. By: Ashley Jardina; Peter Q. Blair; Justin Heck; Papia Debroy
    Abstract: Past work has documented significant occupational segregation between Black and white workers in the U.S. labor force. Little work, however, has examined racial occupational segregation in recent years or by levels of education and then at the intersection of education and race. In this paper, we contribute to this literature by calculating a dissimilarity index to examine racial occupational segregation between 1980 and 2019, comparing Black and white workers with and without bachelor’s degrees and by developing a Monte Carlo simulation, where we compare the observed levels of segregation to predicted levels of racial occupational segregation by education under race-neutral conditions. First, we find that considerable racial occupation segregation in the labor market persists today regardless of educational attainment and that observed segregation is substantially higher than would be expected at random, conditional on educational attainment, gender, and geography. We compare the types of occupations in which Black and white workers are disproportionately situated, and we show that this segregation has significant consequences for wage inequality between Black and white workers with and without four-year degrees. Overall, our results show that racial occupational desegregation has stalled in the past two decades despite rising educational attainment amongst Black workers.
    JEL: J22 J24 J7
    Date: 2023–08
  3. By: David K. Evans (Center for Global Development); Amina Mendez Acosta (Center for Global Development); Fei Yuan (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Many educational interventions boost outcomes for girls in settings where girls face educational disadvantages, but which of those interventions are proven to function effectively at large scale? In contrast to earlier reviews, this review focuses on large-scale programs and policies—those that reach at least 10, 000 students—and on final school outcomes such as completion and student learning rather than intermediate school outcomes such as enrollment and attendance. Programs and policies that have boosted school completion or learning at scale across multiple countries include school fee elimination, school meals, making schools more physically accessible, and improving the quality of pedagogy. Other interventions, such as providing better sanitation facilities or safe spaces for girls, show promising results but either have limited evidence across settings or focus on intermediate educational outcomes (such as enrollment) or post-educational outcomes (such as income earning) in their evaluations. These and other areas with limited or no evidence demonstrate many opportunities for education leaders, partners, and researchers to continue innovating and testing programs at scale. We discuss three considerations for incorporating evidence-based solutions into local education policies—constraints to girls’ education, potential solutions, and program costs—as well as lessons for scaling programs effectively.
    Keywords: education; gender; girls’ education; inequality
    JEL: I21 I24 J16 O15
    Date: 2021–10–19
  4. By: Bertermann, Alexander; Kamhöfer, Daniel A.; Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
    Abstract: This paper investigates the causal effect of education on life satisfaction, exploring effect heterogeneity along employment status. We use exogenous variation in compulsory schooling requirements and the build-up of new, academically more demanding schools, shifting educational attainment along the entire distribution of schooling. Leveraging plant closures and longitudinal information, we also address the endogeneity of employment status. We find a positive effect of education on life satisfaction for employed individuals, but a negative one for those without a job. We propose an aspiration-augmented utility function as a unifying explanation for the asymmetric effect of education on life satisfaction.
    Keywords: Education, Life satisfaction, Employment status, Compulsory schooling reforms, School openings, Instrumental variable estimation
    JEL: I31 C26
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Bacic, Ryan (McMaster University); Zheng, Angela (McMaster University)
    Abstract: A large literature documents a positive correlation between parental income and child test scores. In this paper, we study whether this relationship, the dependence of the cognitive skills of children on the socioeconomic resources of their parents, varies across race. Using education data linked to tax records, we find that the income-achievement gap is small for East Asian children while significantly larger for Indigenous children. School-level factors explains a large portion of the variation in the gap across race. Our results suggest that the large income-achievement gap for Indigenous students may be rooted in inequality in special needs status.
    Keywords: test scores, income-achievement gaps, race
    JEL: I20 I24 J15
    Date: 2023–09
  6. By: : Jingyuan Deng (World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa); Nelly Elmallakh (World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa); Luca Flabbi (University of North Carolina); Roberta Gatti (World Bank’s Office of the Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa)
    Abstract: This paper posits marriage market returns as a contributing factor to stagnant female labor force participation despite increasing female education. The paper examines the marriage market returns of female education by exploiting a very direct measure of returns: bride price, a significant amount of resources transferred by the groom at the time of marriage. The paper also looks at current and future husband’s wages as additional sources of returns. It addresses endogeneity and identification issues by exploiting a school reform in Egypt that reduced the number of years required to complete primary education from six to five. The staggered rollout of the reform generates exogenous sources of variation in female schooling both across and within birth years and administrative units. The analysis implements an instrumental variable estimator with fixed effects at the birth year and at the administrative unit levels. The estimated return to a bride’s compulsory education is about 100% for bride price, about 14% for husband’s wage at the time of marriage, and about 16% for a measure of husband’s permanent income. Further empirical evidence suggests that educational assortative mating could be an important mechanism through which the marriage market returns are taking place.
    Date: 2023–08–20
  7. By: Danielle V. Handel; Eric A. Hanushek
    Abstract: Recent attention to the causal identification of spending impacts provides improved estimates of spending outcomes in a variety of circumstances, but the estimates are substantially different across studies. Half of the variation in estimated funding impact on test scores and over three-quarters of the variation of impacts on school attainment reflect differences in the true parameters across study contexts. Unfortunately, inability to describe the circumstances underlying effective school spending impedes any attempts to generalize from the extant results to new policy situations. The evidence indicates that how funds are used is crucial to the outcomes but such factors as targeting of funds or court interventions fail to explain the existing pattern of results.
    JEL: H4 I22 J24
    Date: 2023–09
  8. By: Jenny C. Aker (The Fletcher School, Tufts University; Center for Global Development); James Berry (University of Georgia); Melita Sawyer (The Fletcher School, Tufts University)
    Abstract: Approximately 770 million adults worldwide are classified as illiterate, with women and individuals in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia bearing the heaviest burden of illiteracy. Despite the potential for adult education programs to bridge this gap, as well as decades of investment, such programs are often plagued by low enrollment, high dropout, and limited skills acquisition. While there is a relative paucity of economic research on adult learning as compared with primary and secondary schooling interventions, recent research in educational neuroscience and economics offers some insights into addressing the barriers to adult learning and some potential ways forward.
    Keywords: Adult education, returns to education, human capital investment
    JEL: Q16 O13 O33
    Date: 2023–04–28
  9. By: Masha Bertling (Harvard Graduate School of Education); Abhijeet Singh (Center for Global Development); Karthik Muralidharan (University of California, San Diego)
    Abstract: We investigate the properties of measures of learning outcomes, as these are the tools commonly used to monitor the progress toward identifying the most effective interventions. We review test properties across 158 studies and conduct item-level psychometric analysis of a subset of these studies to show that current tests vary widely in scope, content, administration, and analysis. Researchers rarely provide details about the properties of their test scores. Only 4 percent of studies we review provide reliability estimates of their tests, and 10 percent archive item-level replication data to evaluate test quality post hoc. The interpretation of any estimates is necessarily sensitive to the measurement of the core variables, even where treatments are randomly assigned. Since estimates of treatment effects are often expressed in standard deviation units, measurement error can bias treatment effects toward zero. Content analysis of question wordings reveals substantial variation in content coverage of the skills tested, even when students of similar grades are being tested in similar subjects. The findings indicate that comparisons of treatment effects must consider degrees of measurement error that are often unavailable and the content breadth of the tests to contextualize why effects may differ on substantively different outcome variables.
    Date: 2023–03–21

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