Drinking during pregnancy and children’s test scores

Sarah Lewis, Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, George L Wehby, Luisa Zuccolo 08 March 2014

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The US Surgeon General first published a report on drinking during pregnancy in 1981, drawing attention to the link between prenatal alcohol consumption and birth defects (Office of the US Surgeon General 1981). The detrimental effects of excessive drinking during pregnancy are now well-known – it potentially leads to a pattern of mental and physical defects known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The effects of low-to-moderate drinking, however, are less conclusive, and there is no consensus as to what level of exposure is toxic to the foetus.

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Topics:  Health economics

Tags:  education, alcohol, pregnancy

More time spent on television and video games, less time spent on studying?

Tomohiko Inui, Ryoji Matsuoka, Makiko Nakamuro 16 January 2014

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Many parents believe that TV and video games are ‘idiot boxes’ that rot their children’s minds and crowd out study time. We agree with this general perception, but add the caveat that less time spent on TV or video games does not automatically lead to more time spent on studying. It is easy to detect the correlation but harder to determine causality. If a causal effect is misattributed, keeping children away from idiot boxes and forcing them to their desks may be simply a waste of effort.

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Topics:  Education

Tags:  education, Japan, TV, videogames

Democracy in Africa

Thorvaldur Gylfason 17 November 2013

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A man’s admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Until the second half of the 19th century, there were so few democratic states around the world that they could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

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Topics:  Development Economic history Politics and economics

Tags:  education, democracy, growth, Africa, Corruption, fertility, life expectancy, autocracy, anocracy

Understanding the mechanisms underlying peer group effects: The role of friendships in determining adolescent outcomes

Jason Fletcher, Stephen L. Ross 03 November 2013

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Over the last decade, research on peer effects in secondary education has flourished – in part because of the within-school/across-cohort design for identifying peer effects popularised in early work by Hoxby (2000), and partly due to the increasing availability of quality data on K-12 students in the US and internationally. The cohort approach to studying peer effects exploits the idea that when choosing schools, parents cannot easily observe the attributes of the specific cohorts to which their children will belong.

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Topics:  Education Gender

Tags:  education, Peer Effects, discipline, disruption

Do elite universities admit the academically best students?

Debopam Bhattacharya 13 April 2013

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The undergraduate admissions process at elite universities, owing to its implications for socioeconomic mobility, is subjected to significant public scrutiny in the UK. Social commentators and politicians routinely call for 'scientific assessment' of existing admission methods (Hewstone 2013) while news media and thinktanks regularly publish reports documenting what appear superficially to be 'unfair' admission practices at selective universities.

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Topics:  Education

Tags:  education, UK, elite universities

The trend reversal in income inequality and returns to education: How bad is this good news for Latin America?

Augusto de la Torre, Julián Messina 07 March 2013

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Latin America witnessed unprecedented economic and social achievements during the last decade. In particular, the year 2003 appears as an important inflexion point for the region’s economic history, a point that we have highlighted in several World Bank publications1. Specifically, moderate poverty (less than US$4 purchasing power parity per capita, which leveled around 45% of total population during the 1990s and until 2003, steadily falls to less than 30% by 2011, allowing more than 70 million Latin Americans to leave poverty in less than a decade.

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  education, income inequality, Latin America

The long-run gains of not mixing genders in high-school classes

Massimo Anelli, Giovanni Peri 23 February 2013

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Gender gap in college majors and earnings

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Topics:  Education Gender Labour markets

Tags:  Italy, education, wages, gender, women, labour

The reduction of school days in Japan increased educational inequality

Daiji Kawaguchi 02 February 2013

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One of the major objectives of compulsory education is to assure uniform educational opportunities for all children regardless of their socioeconomic background. For that reason, most advanced countries provide compulsory education as well as textbooks free of charge. Getting education policy right for those at an early age is also important for competitiveness in the global knowledge economy (Murtin and Viarengo 2013).

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Topics:  Education

Tags:  education, Japan, university

Diversifying Russia

Simon Commander, Alexander Plekhanov 29 January 2013

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Russia aims to diversify its economy, thereby moving away from its dependence on oil and gas. Despite much political rhetoric, our research (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 2012) indicates that, to date, relatively little has been achieved. Oil and gas still account for nearly 70% of total merchandise exports and around a half of the federal budget. Figure 1 shows the increasing share of minerals in total exports when measured in constant prices.

Figure 1. Russia: Structure of exports in real terms (at constant prices)

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  Russia, education, skills, oil, gas, economic diversification

The expansion and convergence of compulsory schooling: Lessons for developing countries

Fabrice Murtin, Martina Viarengo 18 January 2013

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One goal of the UN’s Millennium Declaration is “achieving universal primary education” by 2015 (UN 2012). Yet, according to recent statistics, 61 million children of primary school age are not enrolled in school (UNESCO 2012), and 12% do not complete primary education (World Bank 2012). Drop-off rates significantly increase in developing countries during the transition from primary to secondary school.

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Topics:  Development Labour markets

Tags:  education, schooling, school leaving age, learning outcomes

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