nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2006‒03‒11
five papers chosen by
Jonas Holmstrom
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The Distribution of Research Performance Across Australian Universities, 1992-2003, and Its Implications for Higher Education Funding Models By Ville, Simon; Valadkhani, Abbas; O'Brien, Martin
  2. Program Design and Student Outcomes in Graduate Education By Jeffrey Groen; George Jakubson; Ronald G. Ehrenberg; Scott Condie; Albert Yung-Hsu Liu
  3. Inside the Black Box of Doctoral Education: What Program Characteristics Influence Doctoral Students%u2019 Attrition and Graduation Probabilities? By Ronald G. Ehrenberg; George Jakubson; Jeffrey Groen; Eric So; Joseph Price
  4. Do Students Benefit From Supplemental Instruction? Evidence From a First-Year Statistics Subject in Economics and Business By Lewis, Don; O'Brien, Martin; Rogan, Sally; Shorten, Brett
  5. Immigration in High-Skill Labor Markets: The Impact of Foreign Students on the Earnings of Doctorates By George J. Borjas

  1. By: Ville, Simon (University of Wollongong); Valadkhani, Abbas (University of Wollongong); O'Brien, Martin (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: We contribute to the debate on research performance by comparing the distribution of research inputs and outputs across Australian universities during 1992-2003. We have calculated annual Gini coefficients for various performance measures and Lorenz curves for the final year of the study. Various findings are evident. Research-input measures have remained relatively unevenly distributed across universities. Output measures were more evenly distributed and this exhibited a gradual and rather consistent decline through time, supporting the view that the research output is being generated gradually more equally across Australia’s universities. Excluding the "Group of Eight" (Go8) universities, results in a more even distribution of performance. However, in 2003 this group took the lion’s share of research inputs but produced a smaller share of outputs. Our findings are relevant to current funding policy discussion.
    Keywords: Higher education, Research output distribution, Gini coefficient
    JEL: A11 A19 C63 I29
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Jeffrey Groen; George Jakubson; Ronald G. Ehrenberg; Scott Condie; Albert Yung-Hsu Liu
    Abstract: Doctoral programs in the humanities and related social sciences are characterized by high attrition and long times-to-degree. In response to these problems, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation launched the Graduate Education Initiative (GEI) to improve the quality of graduate programs and in turn reduce attrition and shorten times-to-degree. Over a 10-year period starting in 1991, the Foundation provided a total of over $80 million to 51 departments at 10 major research universities. We estimate the impact of the GEI on attrition rates and times-to-degree using competing risk duration models and student-level data. The data span the start of the GEI and include information for students at a set of control departments. We estimate that the GEI had modest impacts on student outcomes in the expected directions: reducing attrition rates, reducing times-to-degree and increasing completion rates. The impacts of the GEI appear to have been driven in part by reductions in entering cohort size, improvements in financial support and increases in student quality.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2006–03
  3. By: Ronald G. Ehrenberg; George Jakubson; Jeffrey Groen; Eric So; Joseph Price
    Abstract: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Graduate Education Initiative (GEI) provided over $80 million to 51 treatment departments in the humanities and related social sciences during the 1990s to improve their PhD programs. Using survey data collected from students who entered the treatment and 50 control departments during a 15 year period that spanned the start of the GEI, we use factor analysis to group multiple aspects of PhD programs into a smaller number of characteristics and then estimate which aspects of PhD programs the GEI influenced and how these different aspects influenced attrition and graduation probabilities. From these analyses, we identify the routes via which the GEI influenced attrition and graduation rates and also indicate which aspects of PhD programs departments should concentrate on if they want to improve their programs' performance.
    JEL: I2
    Date: 2006–03
  4. By: Lewis, Don (University of Wollongong); O'Brien, Martin (University of Wollongong); Rogan, Sally (University of Wollongong); Shorten, Brett (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: Peer assisted study sessions (PASS) are a type of supplemental instruction (SI) that provide students with out-of-class study review sessions with a group of peers. A student, who has successfully completed the subject and acts as a mentor, facilitates the voluntary sessions. Results of the PASS program at the University of Wollongong have been quite positive in that students, on average, who attend more PASS, achieve higher marks. However, a simple comparison does not control for self-selection bias. We control for self-selection in two ways. Firstly, we use Heckman’s two-stage correction technique to analyze the 2002 cohort. Secondly, students in the 2003 cohort were randomly allocated into three groups of equal size: 1. A control group that was allocated to normal tutorials with standard class sizes and ineligible to attend PASS; 2. A group that was eligible to attend PASS and had normal tutorials of standard sizes; 3. A group that was ineligible to attend PASS but allocated to normal tutorials with smaller class sizes. The results of both methods are consistent and indicate the PASS program has a positive impact on the academic performance of students after correcting for selection bias.
    Keywords: Economics Education; Teaching of Economics; Design of Experiments
    JEL: A2 C9
    Date: 2005
  5. By: George J. Borjas
    Abstract: The rapid growth in the number of foreign students enrolled in American universities has transformed the higher education system, particularly at the graduate level. Many of these newly minted doctorates remain in the United States after receiving their doctoral degrees, so that the foreign student influx can have a significant impact in the labor market for high-skill workers. Using data drawn from the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Survey of Doctoral Recipients, the study shows that a foreign student influx into a particular doctoral field at a particular time had a significant and adverse effect on the earnings of doctorates in that field who graduated at roughly the same time. A 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of doctorates lowers the wage of competing workers by about 3 to 4 percent. About half of this adverse wage effect can be attributed to the increased prevalence of low-pay postdoctoral appointments in fields that have softer labor market conditions because of large-scale immigration.
    JEL: J23 J61
    Date: 2006–03

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