Economics of Education Review

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0272-7757
Evidence that childhood maltreatment is associated with emotional and behavioral problems throughout childhood suggests that maltreatment could lead to impaired academic performance in middle and high school. This article explores these effects using data on siblings. An index measure of the intensity of childhood maltreatment was included as a covariate in multivariate analyses of adolescents' risk for school performance impairments. Family fixed effects were used to control for unobservables linked to family background and neighborhood effects. More intense childhood maltreatment was associated with greater probability of having a low GPA (P=0.001) and problems completing homework assignments (P=0.007). Associations between maltreatment intensity and adolescent school performance were not sensitive to model specification. Additional analyses suggested that maltreatment effects are moderated by cognitive deficits related to attention problems. The implications of these findings for educators and schools are discussed.
This paper analyzes the effect of college costs on teenagers' engagement in risky behaviors before they are old enough to attend college. Individuals with brighter prospects for future schooling attainment may engage in less drug and alcohol use and risky sexual activity because they have more to lose if such behaviors have harmful effects in their lives. If teens correctly predict that higher college costs make future college enrollment less likely, then adolescents facing different expected costs may choose different levels of risky behavior. I find that lower college costs in teenagers' states of residence raise their subjective expectations regarding college attendance and deter teenage substance use and sexual partnership. Specifically, a $1,000 reduction in tuition and fees at two-year colleges in a youth's state of residence (roughly a 50% difference at the mean) is associated with a decline in the number of sexual partners the youth had in the past year (by 26%), the number of days in the past month the youth smoked (by 14%), and the number of days in the past month the youth used marijuana (by 23%). These findings suggest that the often-studied correlation between schooling and health habits emerges in adolescence because teenagers with brighter college prospects curb their risky behavior in accordance with their expectations. The results also imply that policies that improve teenagers' educational prospects may be effective tools for reducing youthful involvement in such behaviors.
The potentially serious adverse impacts of behavior problems during adolescence on employment outcomes in adulthood provide a key economic rationale for early intervention programs. However, the extent to which lower educational attainment accounts for the total impact of adolescent behavior problems on later employment remains unclear As an initial step in exploring this issue, we specify and estimate a recursive bivariate probit model that 1) relates middle school behavior problems to high school graduation and 2) models later employment in young adulthood as a function of these behavior problems and of high school graduation. Our model thus allows for both a direct effect of behavior problems on later employment as well as an indirect effect that operates via graduation from high school. Our empirical results, based on analysis of data from the NELS, suggest that the direct effects of externalizing behavior problems on later employment are not significant but that these problems have important indirect effects operating through high school graduation.
The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity increased dramatically in the United States during the past three decades. This increase has adverse public health implications, but its implication for children's academic outcomes is less clear. This paper uses data from five waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten to examine how children's weight is related to their scores on standardized tests and to their teachers' assessments of their academic ability. The results indicate that children's weight is more negatively related to teacher assessments of their academic performance than to test scores.
PIP This study investigates gender differences in the determinants of several schooling indicators in Conakry, Guinea, using ordered and binary probit models incorporating household-level random effects. Such indicators include grade attainment, current enrollment, and withdrawal from school. The survey, which was conducted on 1725 households, contains detailed information on a wide range of socioeconomic factors such as education, labor force activity and earnings, assets and health. Results indicate that increases in household income lead to greater investments in the schooling of girls than in the schooling of boys. Meanwhile, improvements in the education of fathers raise the schooling of both sons and daughters, while the education of mothers only has a significant impact on the schooling of daughters. These estimates show differences in maternal and paternal preferences for schooling daughters relative to sons. Therefore, the importance of gender, parental education, and household income and composition affect the education of children. However, findings also show that education for girls is unnecessary since they only need to work at home. Moreover, policies that raise household incomes will increase gender equity in schooling, which will also depend on whether and how these policies change the opportunity costs of girls and boys and the labor market returns to female and male schooling.
Research in industrial nations suggests that formal math skills are associated with improvements in market and non-market outcomes. But do these associations also hold in a highly autarkic setting with a limited formal labor market? We examined this question using observational annual panel data (2008 and 2009) from 1,121 adults in a native Amazonian society of forager-farmers in Bolivia (Tsimane'). Formal math skills were associated with an increase in wealth in durable market goods and in total wealth between data collection rounds, and with improved indicators of own reported perceived stress and child health. These associations did not vary significantly by people's Spanish skills or proximity to town. We conclude that the positive association between math skills and market and non-market outcomes extends beyond industrial nations to even highly autarkic settings.
PIP This study describes trends in educational attainment among women in Peru, and examines the determinants of educational attainment, labor force participation and employment, and earnings. Data were obtained from the Peruvian Living Standards Survey among a sample of 5644 women aged 20-59 years. Findings indicate that parents' educational variables had a positive and statistically significant relationship with the educational attainment of their daughters. The impact declined over time from older to younger cohorts. School reforms improved women's access to education. Education became more universal and compulsory over time. Daughters of mothers with white collar occupations had higher levels of schooling than farmers' daughters. The effects of fathers' education was larger. There was a wider gap between farmers and nonfarmers. Textbooks, teachers, and number of grades offered were the only primary school inputs that showed any clear cohort trend in their effect on years of schooling. As primary schools became more available, textbooks had a greater impact on school attainment. The impact of textbooks was larger for women than for men. The number of grades offered had a large positive effect which increased across cohorts from older to younger. Findings suggest weak effects of school reforms on women's likelihood of participating in the paid or unpaid labor force. Years of schooling had a very small and negative effect on total labor force participation. Woman's paid employment was influenced by age, education and training, household characteristics, and family's unearned income. Educational attainment had a small positive effect on participation in paid employment for younger women and no effect for older women. The average rate of return in paid employment to primary education was about 12%. Primary education had the highest rate of return. The return to job tenure was higher for younger women.
Exploiting variation in welfare reform across states and over time and using relevant comparison groups, this study estimates the effects of welfare reform on an important source of human capital acquisition among women at risk for relying on welfare: vocational education and training. The results suggest that welfare reform reduced enrollment in full-time vocational education and had no significant effects on part-time vocational education or participation in other types of work-related courses, though there appears to be considerable heterogeneity across states with respect to the strictness of educational policy and the strength of work incentives under welfare reform. In addition, we find evidence of heterogeneous effects by prior educational attainment. We find no evidence that the previously-observed negative effects of welfare reform on formal education (including college enrollment), which we replicated in this study, have been offset by increases in vocational education and training.
This paper documents the increased participation in higher education in the Netherlands and its consequences for the relation between levels of education and job levels. Undereducation has been reduced, overeducation has been increased. This does not imply private or social inefficiency, as even years of “overeducation” earn a positive rate of return. A general specification of the earnings function is derived from allocation models of the labor market. It contains the human capital specification and the job competition specification as special cases, and proves superior to both.
Using a sample of over 3000 first year university entrants in Greece, we investigate the time and expense incurred in preparation for the highly competitive higher education entry examinations, as well as what students spend privately while attending university. It is shown that in a constitutionally “free for all” higher education country, families spend privately more than the state in order to prepare for the entrance examinations and while studying at the university. In addition, poorer families spend a higher share of their income on the education of their children. Private education expenditure seems to be a necessity for all, the income elasticity being of the order of 0.2–0.3.
We use cohort data from 11 European countries to study whether experience–earnings profiles differ by educational attainment. We find evidence that employees with tertiary education have steeper experience–earnings profiles than employees with upper secondary or lower education. Hence, education provides not only an initial labor market advantage but also a permanent advantage that increases with time in the labor market. We also find that differences in earnings growth by education are higher in countries which have experienced faster labor productivity growth.
Top-cited authors
Eric A. Hanushek
  • Stanford University
Joop Hartog
  • University of Amsterdam
Helen F. Ladd
  • Duke University
Ronald G. Ehrenberg
  • Cornell University
Wim Groot
  • Maastricht University