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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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

students

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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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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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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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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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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Female Middle School Math Teachers Mean Better Grades for Girls Now, More STEM Participation Later

girl studying

Studies have found that female students perform better when taught by female teachers. But, there is little evidence on whether these effects persistent beyond that school year. We also don’t understand exactly why female student–teacher gender matching improves performance. Jaegeum Lim (Korean National Assembly) and Jonathan Meer (Texas A&M) asked these questions in the context of longer-run data on students from 74 middle schools in Seoul, South Korea.
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