Education

Alberto Alesina, Michela Carlana, Eliana La Ferrara, Paolo Pinotti, 02 February 2019

There is a lively debate whether biased behaviour can be changed through the use of ‘implicit bias training’ or awareness of stereotypes. Yet, there is no causal evidence to guide this debate. Using data on teachers’ stereotypes toward immigrants elicited through an Implicit Association Test in Italy, this column studies how revealing to teachers their own test score impacts their grading of immigrant and native students. Revealing stereotypes may be a powerful intervention to decrease discrimination; however, it may also induce a reaction from individuals who were not acting in a biased way.

Ruchir Agarwal, Patrick Gaulé, 23 December 2018

Exceptional mathematics talents generate breakthroughs that move the entire field forward. This column explores how the talent of exceptional mathematics students from several countries affects their outcomes and contributions to the field. Small differences in talent during adolescence are associated with sizeable differences in long-term achievements, from getting a PhD to receiving a Fields medal. The research highlights the social losses associated with the lack of opportunities available to students in low-income countries.

Seth Gershenson, Cassandra Hart, Joshua Hyman, Constance A. Lindsay, Nicholas W. Papageorge, 22 December 2018

There have been many calls to increase the racial and gender diversity of teachers in US primary and secondary schools, with the evidence to date showing that improving the match between student and teacher demographics has significant positive effects on test scores. This column looks at the longer term effects of such changes. Random assignment to a black teacher in grades K–3 increased the chances that black students graduated from high school and enrolled in college. 

Bruno S. Frey, 20 December 2018

China's GNP is close to, or larger than, that of the US and the per-capita income gap between the countries is closing. Despite this, Chinese economists are absent from the rankings of top academic economists and none has received the Nobel Prize in Economics. This column offers several potential reasons for this, and also argues that the situation is likely to change in the future. Young scholars in particular may be well advised to take this into account, as their careers are likely to benefit if they link up to the Chinese academic market.

Philip Oreopoulos, Richard Patterson, Uros Petronijevic, Nolan Pope, 20 November 2018

Time studying is strongly correlated with grades earned, but the amount of time that students spend studying has declined dramatically. This column describes an intervention at three higher education campuses that offered coaching and help for students to plan their time. Students were highly engaged, but there was no effect at all on their grades. This is consistent with previous results that suggest this type of intervention does not change student behaviour in a sustained and meaningful way.

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