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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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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Partial Schooling Subsidy Puts Kids into the Classroom—And to Work

Evidence suggests that government subsidies typically increase school attendance and at the same time decrease paid work by children. The intuition is simple enough—children who were not able to afford schooling can now go to school, and because there are only so many hours in the day, they also do less paid work. While such subsidies typically offset all schooling costs, Jacobus de Hoop, Jed Friedman, Eeshani Kandpal, and Furio Rosati asked whether a partial subsidy could increase schooling. They study the Pantawid program, which aims to improve children’s health and education in poor households (those with daily income less than US$2.15 per capita) in the Philippines.
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School Smoking Bans Effectively Reduce Smoking Behavior

lit cigarette

Half of all smokers in Germany report that they started using tobacco at the age of 15 or younger, which makes teenagers one of the most important target groups for anti-smoking campaigns and policies. During the last decade, all 16 German federal states have introduced smoking bans at schools. But do they work? According to researchers Gregor Pfeifer, Mirjam Reutter, and Kristina Strohmaier, we know little about the real effectiveness of anti-smoking interventions specifically aimed at school children, so they studied a large data set to compare populations who had experienced smoking bans with those who had not.
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Political Mismanagement of Indian Primary Schools Yields Worse Test Scores

graph of 4th grade reading scores in public vs. private schools 2 years before through two years after an election, showing elections are followed by drop in scores

Teachers and their working patterns are known to be important determinants of learning outcomes of pupils, as well as key to understanding the large gaps in skills across different school systems. Sonja Fagernäs and Panu Pelkonen examined how the management of teachers in Indian primary schools, when intermingled with political processes, can disrupt teachers’ work and eventually harm learning.
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Early-Life Access to Food Stamps Has Long-Run Benefits for Children’s Health

Access to food stamps reduces poor health

In the United States, 25 percent of all children and nearly 15 percent of the total population received food stamp benefits in 2011. The program is hotly debated among politicians—there have been several cuts to the program in recent years, and more cuts are currently proposed, including cuts specifically targeted at documented immigrants.

Despite its importance and uncertain future, there is very little evidence on the effect of the Food Stamp program on its beneficiaries. In a new JHR paper, Chloe N. East investigates the effects of restrictions on immigrants’ access to Food Stamps.
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Does Going to School with Immigrant Children Impair Learning?

elementary school girls

As immigration continues to dominate political debates, a growing number of policymakers and citizens are concerned that the presence of immigrant children in schools may harm native children’s learning outcomes. Existing evidence on this question, however, is quite mixed. Laurent Bossavie (World Bank) aims to contribute to the discussion with a new study on learning outcomes of children who share schools with immigrants.
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