The UK is under fire for pulling up the drawbridge for bright foreign students by limiting visas and complicating the application process. This column argues that welcoming large numbers of foreign PhD students bodes well for countries and universities interested in scientific and engineering innovation. Science and engineering are, after all, critical for the growth and competitiveness of industrial economies. Policies that serve to limit or discourage the enrolment of international graduate students lead to reductions in the rate of scientific discovery.
Elite universities’ admission policies are perennially surrounded by controversy given the thorny efficiency and equity issues involved. This column discusses research into such policies focusing on the degree of meritocracy and non-academic bias. It suggests that men and private-school applicants have somewhat higher application success rates despite being held to higher academic admission standards.
Economists know that your peers’ behaviour affects your economic and social outcomes. But what mechanisms are at work here? This column highlights the two major approaches that hope to explain ‘peer effects’: either people don’t want to deviate from social norms; or they are affected by a ‘social multiplier’, the influence of the sum of their peers’ behaviour. Using detailed data on friendship networks, evidence suggests that there are strong social-multiplier effects in criminal behaviour whereas, for education, social norms matter the most. A detailed understanding of peer effects will undoubtedly help policymakers better tackle social problems.
Average income per capita is strongly correlated with more schooling, but this relationship is more complex than it appears. This column presents new research showing that a large part of the correlation is attributed to the causal effect of economic prosperity on the formation of human capital via schooling.
To what extent can historical and cultural factors explain the reversal of the gender gap? Using a new comprehensive dataset from Italy, this column explores the long-term determinants of the education gender gap. The evidence suggests that cultural values can persist for centuries, but that there have also been critical evolutionary turning points on the road towards equality.
Other Recent Articles:
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- The impact of immigration on the educational attainment of natives
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- Market design: An interview with Nobel laureate Alvin Roth
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- Physical education and childhood obesity
- What’s the use of economics? A new Vox debate
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- How universities helped transform the medieval world
- School-to-work pathways in Europe and the US
- Should governments teach self-control?
- Decentralising education: Evidence from the BRICs
- Are economics graduates fit for purpose?
- On the uselessness of learning foreign languages
- Fiscal consolidation: At what speed?Blanchard, Leigh
- Public debt and economic growth, one more timePanizza, Presbitero
- Escaping liquidity traps: Lessons from the UK’s 1930s escapeCrafts
- The lessons of the North Atlantic crisis for economic theory and policyStiglitz
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Reichlin, Baldwin, 14 April 2013