Annika B. Bergbauer, Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann, 18 September 2018

School systems increasingly use student assessments for accountability purposes. By combining accountability reforms with international student achievement data over the past 15 years, this column shows that the expansion of standardised testing with external comparisons has improved student achievement in maths, science, and reading, while internal testing or teacher inspectorates without external comparisons have not. 

Edward Glaeser, Ming Lu, 15 September 2018

Comparing China’s per-capita GDP growth to the growth in years of schooling suggests a large role for human capital externalities. This column uses changes in the location of Chinese university departments in the 1950s to estimate that an extra year of schooling has been associated with 22.0% higher hourly wages across cities. Even so, the growth of Chinese education cannot explain the country’s massive increase in earnings.

Antonio Cabrales, Maia Güell, Rocío Madera, Analía Viola, 24 July 2018

In most of Europe, the state pays for a university education, meaning that university finances are both regressive and cyclical. This column asks how the alternative system of income-contingent university loans would fare in Spain. The analysis suggests that the policy is feasible even in a country with a relatively poorly functioning labour market for young graduates.

S. Amer Ahmed, Maurizio Bussolo, Marcio Cruz, Delfin S. Go, Israel Osorio Rodarte, 11 July 2018

Average education levels are increasing in developing countries, but not in high-income countries. The column argues that this 'education wave' in developing countries will reduce global inequality by 2030, with average incomes up to the 90th percentile all benefitting from the trend. However, this equalising effect relies on continued globalisation.

Alessandra Casarico, Giovanni Facchini, Tommaso Frattini, 28 June 2018

European countries have recently experienced an extraordinary inflow of asylum seekers. Using a theoretical framework and US data, this column studies the key economic triggers which prompt policymakers to implement immigration legalisation programmes. It shows that the more restricted the occupational opportunities of undocumented immigrants and the smaller the fiscal leakage to undocumented immigrants via the welfare state, the more desirable an amnesty is. 

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