Though many studies have shown that teachers have large effects on student achievement, we know little about the degree to which teachers affect a broader set of student outcomes. Using data from six large school districts, Matthew A. Kraft (Brown University) estimated how teachers affect a range of student skills and competencies beyond those measured by multiple-choice tests.
Continue reading “Teacher Effects beyond the Test”
In India, policy-makers have looked to population control as a means of increasing resources per capita and reducing widespread poverty. Since 1992, eleven Indian states have experimented with restricting elected village council positions to candidates with two or fewer children. The hope is that leaders with small families would inspire their constituents to follow suit. In a new study, researchers S. Anukriti (Boston College) and Abhishek Chakravarty (University of Manchester) found the policy was effective in reducing family sizes, but it worsened the sex ratio as families favored boys.
Continue reading “A Two-Child Limit Imposed on Political Candidates in India—Does It Work?”
Gender bias in families is evident in many regions, but the evidence to date does not allow us to fully understand its effects. Stacy H. Chen (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, GRIPS), Yen-Chien Chen (Chi-Nan University, Taiwan), and Jin-Tan Liu (National Taiwan University and NBER) studied the educational outcomes of children in more than 965,000 families in Taiwan to better understand the experiences of daughters and sons.
Continue reading “When Families Want Sons, Do Daughters Get an Education?”
Studies from low-, middle-, and high-income countries show that children brought up in a more favorable early environment benefit in the long run. They are healthier, taller, have higher cognitive ability and educational attainment, and earn significantly higher wages. As a result, preschool construction programs are often assumed to hold considerable promise to increase school readiness while reducing socioeconomic gaps in human capital development. Researchers Adrien Bouguen (University of Mannheim), Deon Filmer (World Bank), Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics and INRA), and Sophie Naudeau (World Bank) examined a school construction project in Cambodia to see if this kind of effort had the desired results. They found that a poor understanding of parent response may be at the heart of the program’s disappointing results.
Continue reading “Preschool and Parents’ Reactions in a Developing Country: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment in Cambodia”
Because experiences in early childhood are known to influence child development, preschool programs are often viewed as policy interventions with the most potential to improve the prospects of children from low-income families. In a new study, Owen Thompson (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) examined the impact of Head Start on a variety of socioeconomic outcomes for participants through age 48.
Continue reading “Head Start’s Long-Run Impact”
Our understanding of the age at which the black–white test gap emerges has been hampered by two overlooked factors. Timothy N. Bond (Purdue University) and Kevin Lang (Boston University) address these issues in a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Human Resources.
Continue reading ““Growth” in Black–White Test Gap Is Due to Poor Measurement”
Researchers—and parents of teenagers—have long suspected that school starts too early in the morning for adolescents. New research by Jenni Heissel (Naval Postgraduate Academy) and Sam Norris (Northwestern University) shows exactly how much early start times are hindering academic achievement.
Continue reading “Later Start Times Increase Academic Achievement for Teens”
Most children in Sub-Saharan Africa are enrolled in school these days, but for reasons not well understood, they learn very little. Previous research has shown that a lack of physical resources, such as textbooks and flip charts, cannot explain these low levels of achievement. New study finds that when teachers lack knowledge, their students fall behind.
Continue reading “You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know: Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Hampers Student Learning in Sub-Saharan Africa”
A myriad of studies find that later-born children have worse educational and labor market outcomes as adults than their older siblings, a phenomenon known as the “birth order effect.” New research finds these differences begin very early in children’s lives—and parenting behavior can explain it.
Continue reading “Why Do First-Borns Perform Better? The First Years”
The role of psychological attributes such as hope and self-efficacy in escaping poverty has attracted increasing attention among economists, policy-makers, and development practitioners. Researchers recently borrowed a technique from clinical psychology to learn what self-portraits can tell us about the effectiveness of a child sponsorship program in the slums of Jakarta.
Continue reading “Children’s Self-Portraits Show that Child Sponsorship Increases Hope”