Friday, February 04, 2011

Links for 2/4/11

Lance Lochner
A growing body of work suggests that education offers a wide-range of benefits that extend beyond increases in labor market productivity. Improvements in education can lower crime, improve health, and increase voting and democratic participation. This chapter reviews recent developments on these ‘non-production’ benefits of education with an emphasis on contributions made by economists.
Kevin Lang and Erez Siniver
In this paper we compare the labor market performance of Israeli students who graduated from one of the leading universities, Hebrew University (HU), with those who graduated from a professional undergraduate college, College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS). Our results support a model in which employers have good information about the quality of HU graduates and pay them according to their ability, but in which the market has relatively little information about COMAS graduates. Hence, high-skill COMAS graduates are initially treated as if they were the average COMAS graduate, who is weaker that a HU graduate, consequently earning less than UH graduates. However, over time the market differentiates among them so that after several years of experience, COMAS and HU graduates with similar entry scores have similar earnings. Our results are therefore consistent with the view that employers use education information to screen workers but that the market acquires information fairly rapidly.
Randall Reback, Jonah Rockoff, and Heather L. Schwartz
The most sweeping federal education law in decades, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, requires states to administer standardized exams and to punish schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the fraction of students passing these exams. While the literature on school accountability is well-established, there exists no nationwide study of the strong short-term incentives created by NCLB for schools on the margin of failing AYP. We assemble the first comprehensive, national, school-level dataset concerning detailed performance measures used to calculate AYP, and demonstrate that idiosyncrasies in state policies create numerous cases where schools near the margin for satisfying their own state’s AYP requirements would have almost certainly failed or almost certainly made AYP if they were located in other states. Using this variation as a means of identification, we examine the impact of NCLB on the behavior of school personnel and students’ academic achievement in nationally representative samples. We find that accountability pressure from NCLB lowers teachers’ perceptions of job security and causes untenured teachers in high-stakes grades to work longer hours than their peers. We also find that NCLB pressure has either neutral or positive effects on students’ enjoyment of learning and their achievement gains on low-stakes exams in reading, math, and science.
This is funny (unless you’re currently a grad student).

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