Democracy, quality of government, and the average voter

Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Ugo Panizza, 4 June 2011

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The standard efficiency argument in favour of democracy is based on the idea that free elections are an effective instrument for ousting inept and corrupt politicians (e.g. Sen 2000). This view, however, is based on the assumptions that voters are capable of monitoring and evaluating government actions.

Topics: Education, Politics and economics
Tags: democracy, education, politics

“The people want the fall of the regime”: Schooling, political protest, and the economy

Davin Chor, Filipe R Campante, 25 April 2011

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The wave of political protest that has shaken the Middle East since late 2010 has been a textbook example of a “prairie fire” revolution (Kuran 1989). The tragic act of protest of a Tunisian street vendor set off a contagious streak of demonstrations that has so far claimed two seemingly unshakeable incumbents in Tunisia and Egypt and still threatens a number of fellow strongmen.

Topics: Education, Politics and economics
Tags: democracy, education, Middle East, political protests

Are friends important in educational outcomes?

Eleonora Patacchini, Yves Zenou, 25 February 2011

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Each student influences his or her classmates – not only through knowledge spillovers and how teachers respond to him/her, but also in how he/she affects classroom standards. A less disciplined student is more likely to disrupt his/her classmates, forcing the teacher to devote more time in class to disciplining rather than transmitting knowledge.

Topics: Education
Tags: education, peer-effects, US

Investment in financial literacy and saving decisions

Tullio Jappelli, Mario Padula, 8 February 2011

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The demographic transition is increasingly shifting the responsibility of saving decisions from the welfare system to individuals. The switch from defined benefits to defined contributions pension systems is making individuals more liable for their long-term saving choices. In addition, the recent financial crisis has questioned people’s ability to manage their debts.

Topics: Education, Financial markets
Tags: education, Financial literacy, savings rates

The virtuous equity-efficiency trade-off in educational outcomes

Richard B. Freeman, Stephen Machin, Martina Viarengo , 4 January 2011

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How countries fare in international tests of student achievement is a magnet for media attention the world over.

Topics: Education
Tags: education, educational policy, equity

The impact of university research on corporate patenting

Christian Helmers, Mark Rogers, 21 December 2010

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University research is a catalyst for business sector innovations, according to several empirical studies (see for example, Agrawal 2001).

Topics: Competition policy, Education, Productivity and Innovation
Tags: Competition policy, education, productivity and innovation

Are skill-intensive imports from rich nations deskilling emerging economies?

Raphael Auer, 10 December 2010

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Among economists and policymakers alike, there is now a sense of agreement that import competition from low-wage countries has caused a decline in the relative wage of unskilled workers in rich nations, probably best summarised by Krugman’s verdict that the impact of trade on wages “is big, and getting bigger” (see

Topics: Development, Education, International trade
Tags: development, education, emerging economies, international trade, wages

The historical roots of inequality

Graziella Bertocchi, Arcangelo Dimico, 14 November 2010

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In March 2010 President Obama presented the US Congress a plan to reform No Child Left Behind (NCLB), America’s main federal education programme. NCLB was enacted in 2002 under President Bush with the full bipartisan support of Congress. Yet one of the criticisms to NCLB stresses its failure to reduce the deeply rooted racial and ethnic gaps that still afflict the US education system.

Topics: Education, Poverty and income inequality
Tags: education, racial inequality, slavery, US

Childcare subsidies and child wellbeing

Chris Herbst, Erdal Tekin, 9 October 2010

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Childcare subsidies are increasingly used by state and local governments to facilitate employment and reduce welfare use among economically disadvantaged families in the US. Most public expenditures on child care assistance in the US are funnelled through the federal Child Care and Development Fund (created as part of the 1996 welfare reform).

Topics: Education, Poverty and income inequality
Tags: childcare, education, US

Producing superstars for the economic Mundial: The team in the tail

Lant Pritchett, Martina Viarengo , 20 August 2010

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In the World Cup (or Mundial in Spanish), the tails matter. Each nation’s destiny depends on the players on the pitch. The question is not which nation has the highest average quality of football players among its population nor which nation has the best single player but which country can assemble a team of 11 at their various positions, who can beat all comers.

Topics: Development, Education, Labour markets, Productivity and Innovation
Tags: development, education, innovation, Labour Markets

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