Education

Adriana Kugler, Catherine Tinsley, Olga Ukhaneva, 02 November 2017

Despite various initiatives, a lack of female representation in fields of science, technology, engineering, and maths persists. This column studies how men and women are affected by various factors when switching out of STEM majors, including their own ability in a subject as well as gender representation within their cohort. Women are just as resilient to negative feedback as men when deciding whether to continue in a field of study, but when faced with additional signals such as an association of the field with masculinity, they appear to become more prone to opt out in response to low grades.

Gill Wyness, Richard Murphy, Judith Scott-Clayton, 21 October 2017

The question of who should pay for higher education continues to be hotly debated across the world. This column uses the case of the English higher education system to examine whether it is possible to charge relatively high tuition fees and at the same time protect enrolments, access, and university quality. The analysis shows that since the move from a free higher education system to a high-fee, high-aid system, university enrolment has increased substantially, with students from the poorest backgrounds experiencing the fastest increases in participation. Moreover, university funding per head has recovered dramatically since the introduction of fees.

Matias Busso, Julian Cristia, Diana Hincapié, Julián Messina, Laura Ripani, 16 October 2017

Skills-development policies are needed in Latin America and the Caribbean to close the region’s productivity gap with the rest of the world, and at the same time help close the gap between those who began life with and without advantages or opportunities. This column presents the new IADB flagship report, which aims to help governments address these issues by providing detailed, evidence-based analysis of what works and what doesn’t.

Christian Dustmann, Hyejin Ku, Do Won Kwak, 28 September 2017

Some studies have shown that pupils from single-sex schools outperform their counterparts at mixed-gender schools. This column attempts to disentangle the causal effects by exploiting a government policy in South Korea that led to some single-sex schools converting to co-ed one grade at a time. Academic performance fell for boys when their schools became co-ed even if their class remained single-sex, but performance only fell among girls whose classes became mixed. These results suggest different mechanisms for the effects of mixed-gender schools on boys’ and girls’ academic performance.

Justin Cook, Jason Fletcher, 17 September 2017

While diversity can lead to more innovation and better problem solving, it can also cause competition and conflict. This column examines the effect of genetic diversity among high school students in Wisconsin on their socioeconomic outcomes later in life. Genetic diversity is associated with more years of schooling, and higher job prestige and income. Students from more genetically diverse schools score higher on indexes of openness and extraversion.

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