High-stakes school testing: New evidence

Victor Lavy, Avraham Ebenstein, Sefi Roth 20 November 2014

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Although many countries use high-stakes testing to rank students for college admission, the consequences of this policy are largely unknown. Does having a particularly good or bad performance on a high-stakes examination have long-term consequences for test takers, after accounting for a student’s cognitive ability? Insofar as there are permanent wage consequences to variation induced by completely random shocks to student performance, it suggests that the use of high-stakes testing as a primary method for ranking students may be inefficient.

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Topics:  Education Environment Labour markets

Tags:  testing, tests, standardised testing, standardised tests, exams, SATs, Bagrut, admissions, pollution, Israel, returns to education, human capital, allocative efficiency, meritocracy, pressure

What about increasing unemployment benefits for the young?

Claudio Michelacci, Hernán Ruffo 18 November 2014

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It is well known that workers suffer when they lose their job and experience an unemployment spell – surveys indicate a sharp decrease in happiness, and average consumption falls by around 20% upon job displacement. And much research has studied how to efficiently insure workers against the risk of unemployment. Like any other insurance mechanism, unemployment insurance involves a trade-off between the gains from providing liquidity and insurance to unemployed workers and the cost of the implicit problem of moral hazard.

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  unemployment, insurance, happiness, Unemployment insurance, unemployment benefits, moral hazard, replacement rates, human capital, life cycle

African growth looking forward

Marco Annunziata 16 August 2014

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Views on Africa’s growth prospects have jumped from utter pessimism to extreme enthusiasm. The latter has been centre-stage with the US–Africa Summit hosted in Washington DC from 4–6 August 2014, with the participation of top political and business leaders. My coauthors Todd Johnson and Shlomi Kramer and I have tried to take a sober assessment of Africa’s progress and prospects, looking beyond the current hype and the inevitable frustration that doing business in the region still generates (Annunziata et al. 2014).

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  development, growth, Africa, human capital, trade, innovation, infrastructure, commodity boom

The unrecognised benefits of grade inflation

Raphael Boleslavsky, Christopher Cotton 16 August 2014

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Since the early 1980s, the mean grade point average at American colleges and universities has risen at a rate of between 0.1 and 0.15 points per decade. Most of this increase can be attributed to an increase in the share of As assigned (which now comprise nearly half of all grades), with significant drops in the assignment of lower grades (Rojstaczer 2011 and Rojstaczer and Healy 2012).

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Topics:  Education Labour markets

Tags:  education, human capital, investment, grade inflation

Knowledge elites, enlightenment, and industrialisation

Nico Voigtländer, Mara Squicciarini 13 July 2014

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Much has been written about the ‘knowledge economy’, and a large literature in economics has highlighted the importance of human capital for economic development in the modern world. Schooling is a strong predictor of per capita income and growth across countries – a pattern that emerges because skills facilitate technology adoption and innovation (Nelson and Phelps 1966, Benhabib and Spiegel 1994, Caselli and Coleman 2006). In contrast, the importance of human capital during the Industrial Revolution has typically been described as minor.

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Topics:  Development Economic history Education

Tags:  human capital, Industrial Revolution, industrialisation

Human capital and income inequality: Some facts and some puzzles

Amparo Castelló-Climent, Rafael Doménech 23 April 2014

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The rise of income inequality in many countries from 1985 onwards, and particularly during the recent crisis, has prompted a current debate on the causes and consequences of higher inequality and its effects on future growth (see, for example, OECD 2011, IMF 2014, or Ostry et al. 2014). As a result, and despite the slight reduction from 1960 to 1985, the average income Gini coefficient for developing countries was almost the same in 1960 (0.42) as it was in 2005 (0.41).

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Topics:  Development Education Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  education, globalisation, human capital, Inequality, skill-biased technological change

Get together for the kids

Shelly Lundberg, Robert A. Pollak 29 October 2013

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The US has experienced dramatic changes in patterns of marriage, cohabitation, and childbearing since 1950. Non-marital births have increased from 4% of all births in 1950 to 41% in 2010, and a majority (52%) of non-marital births now occur within cohabiting unions (Manlove et al. 2010). Much of this change can be accounted for by a reduction in 'shotgun' marriages (Akerlof, Yellen, Katz, 1996).

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Topics:  Education Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  human capital, gender wage gap, fertility, marriage

Income and schooling

Markus Brückner, Mark Gradstein 04 April 2013

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Countries’ average income per capita is strongly correlated with more schooling. This can be seen both by looking at the relationship between them across countries (Figure 1), and by considering their evolution over time in particular countries. For example, the percentage of the population in the US with at least a college degree rose from around 10% in the early 1960s to almost 30% in the early 2000s, while annual real GDP per capita in the same period grew from under $20,000 to over $40,0001.

Figure 1. Income and schooling

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Topics:  Education

Tags:  human capital, income

Child health and the intergenerational transmission of human capital

Janet Currie 19 July 2008

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When economists think of “human capital,” they usually mean education. Investments in education pay off in the form of higher future earnings and many other positive outcomes. But what determines a child’s educational success?

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Topics:  Health economics Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  human capital, socioeconomic status, maternal education, poverty trap, child health

The effect of job displacement on women’s fertility decisions

Emilia del Bono, Andrea Weber, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer,

Date Published

Mon, 02/25/2008

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Over the last century women’s role in the labour market has gradually changed from secondary workers with limited planning horizon to equivalent partners or independent decision makers with a life-time planning perspective. This means careers or jobs that provide opportunities for promotion and advancement have become more desirable for females and labour market conditions that impede the establishment of stable careers early in their lives like unemployment, temporary jobs or involuntary turnover, may be reasons for a delay or even a permanent reduction in fertility.

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