Barbara Biasi, Song Ma, 23 May 2022

Higher education programmes are essential for innovation and economic growth. This column introduces the education–innovation gap, a metric that captures the distance between education content and the knowledge frontier. Among US higher education institutions, the education–innovation gap is significantly lower for courses taught by instructors who are more active in producing research. The gap is higher in schools with students from lower socioeconomic status. On average, exposure to frontier knowledge is associated with better student outcomes.

Garrett Anstreicher, Jason Fletcher, Owen Thompson, 15 May 2022

Many US school districts are currently weighing policies to improve racial integration in public schools. This column outlines research evaluating the short and long-run effects of school desegregation on the lives of majority and minority students. New research examining the impact of court-ordered desegregation plans – implemented in hundreds of US school districts after 1960 – shows that early exposure to desegregated schools resulted in better academic and economic outcomes for Black children in the US South, but that Black children in the North showed little benefit from comparable integration initiatives.

Judith Delaney, Paul Devereux, 12 May 2022

A burgeoning literature on rank effects in education has found that students who are highly ranked in their class or grade have better long-term outcomes, even after accounting for absolute levels of ability and performance. This column uses this finding to shed light on other educational phenomena, such as the impact of high-achieving peers and the persistent gender gap in STEM subjects. The sizeable effects of (sometimes misleading) academic rank raise policy questions about whether and how students should be informed of data that could influence their decisions about subject and career choices.

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel, 10 May 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainian children to leave their schools and homes. Such adverse shocks early in life can have profound long-term effects. This column presents evidence from WWII and the Vietnam War of how childhood war exposure had detrimental effects on education, physical and mental health, and labour market outcomes, even decades after the conflicts. The effects were most pronounced for girls and children of lower socioeconomic status. Policies that prioritise children are essential to reduce the enduring effects of war.

Balázs Égert, Christine de La Maisonneuve, David Turner, 28 April 2022

Investing in education and human capital is an important ingredient for economic growth. This column constructs a new aggregate stock measure of human capital data using OECD data on adult skills, quality of education, and mean years of schooling. The relative weights of quality and quantity are estimated rather than imposed, as they are in the existing literature. Improvements in human capital are estimated to boost productivity significantly, but only with long lags. Furthermore, simulating the impact of pre-primary education on human capital and productivity demonstrates the usefulness of the new measure for policy analysis.

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