Ending Education Apartheid in Zimbabwe Increased Education for Adolescents—And Their Children

When Zimbabwe dismantled barriers to education, transition to secondary school tripled.

UNESCO reports that 200 million adolescents were out of school in 2016. This missed opportunity is especially costly because secondary education brings substantial intergenerational benefits, as Jorge Agüero and Maithili Ramachandran show in a new study to be published in the Journal of Human Resources.
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Sulfa Antibiotics for Pneumonia in Children—A Look at Later-Life Outcomes

fewer pneumonia deaths and more income after introduction of sulfa antibiotics

Pneumonia infection is a leading cause of illness in children worldwide, but we know little about its long-term consequences. Economists are interested in the long-run effects of large-scale interventions in early life. Volha Lazuka (Lund University) explores this question in the context of the introduction of sulfa antibiotics in Sweden. In a study comparing cohorts born before and after access to this intervention and across regions with varying burden of acute pneumonia, Lazuka is able to estimate its effects and specific mechanisms leading to later-life outcomes.
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Do Higher Salaries Yield Better Teachers and Better Student Outcomes?

Program to increase teacher pay increased teacher experience.

More experienced and better qualified teachers are less likely to teach in schools that serve children from relatively poor families. This could have important consequences for student outcomes. To attract more experienced teachers, schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods might consider offering higher salaries. José María Cabrera (Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay) and Dinand Webbink (Erasmus School of Economics, Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute, IZA) asked: What is the impact of higher salaries on teachers and students?
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Benefits of Smaller Classes—A Cautionary Tale


The relationship between class size and human capital is one of the most researched and debated questions in education, but evidence on this matter has been difficult to come by. In a recent study reported in the JHR, Edwin Leuven and Sturla Løkken present long-term impact estimates of average class size in compulsory school (Grades 1–9) for Norway, specifically looking at effects on income.
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Nonbinding Peer Reviews Can Improve Team Effort and Productivity

One person working, one person on his phone

Working in teams presents many advantages, from knowledge sharing to technological complementarities, but also a major drawback—individuals may be tempted to let others do the work, a phenomenon known as “free-riding.” In a recent study, Kristian Behrens (Université du Québec à Montréal) and Matthieu Chemin (McGill University) examined groups of students assigned a multi-week group project in order to find a successful strategy for motivating team members.
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Spain Cut Unemployment Benefits during the Great Recession, and Labor Rallied

office worker

In the turmoil of the Great Recession, the Spanish government reduced the level of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in relation to expected earnings—the replacement rate—from 60% to 50% after 180 days of unemployment for all people who became unemployed beginning on or after July 15, 2012. Yolanda Rebollo-Sanz and Núria Rodríguez-Planas publish a recent study examining how workers responded.
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Redshirting Kids—Delaying Starting School Affects the Entire Family

Graph showing parents' marriage increases and mom working increases and then decreases when kids start school later

Parents often think about their child’s future success when they consider waiting for them to start school, but a child’s age and grade level also affect how much time parents spend on child-related activities, work, and leisure. In a recent study Rasmus Landersø (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit), Helena Skyt Nielsen (Aarhus University), and Marianne Simonsen (Aarhus University) find that postponing children’s school start frees resources and allows parents to use more time on activities unrelated to the child, with effects on the family that extend beyond the early childhood years.
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Prescription Opioids and Labor Market Pains

pills in hand

In the United States, the opioid epidemic has had dramatic adverse effects—in 2017 alone there were over 45,000 overdose deaths related to opioids. While much of the focus on the opioid epidemic has centered around how opioid use affects users’ health, their families, and communities, little is known about how the rise in opioid prescriptions has impacted regional labor market outcomes.

In response to this research gap, Matthew Harris, Lawrence Kessler, Matthew Murray, and Beth Glenn collected county-level prescriptions data from ten U.S. states and were the first to examine the effects of prescription opioids on county labor market outcomes. Their findings point to large, negative consequences for regional labor markets.
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What Happens when Students Must Meet Academic Standards to Receive Need-Based Aid?

stressed out student looking at computer

College students who receive need-based financial aid typically must meet minimum academic standards to stay eligible, and it’s not well understood how this impacts their outcomes. Do these standards encourage low-income college students to improve their academic performance, or encourage them to drop out? Judith Scott-Clayton and Lauren Schudde examined the consequences of failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for federal aid recipients—specifically, a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement—among community college entrants in one state.
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Battling the Brain Drain—In-State College Enrollment Affects Future Residence

person moving with boxes and graphic of a brain in background

States subsidize public higher education with the goal of building an educated workforce. But college-educated workers can and often do migrate across states after completing their education. The resulting “brain drain” may harm states who invest in higher education only to have the benefits reaped elsewhere. So is the investment worth it? Does encouraging young people to attend college in-state affect where they live later in life? Or does educating more young people in a state just result in more out-migration? John Winters studies these questions and offers policy implications for the United States.
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