Education

Brian Bell, Rui Costa, Stephen Machin, 14 October 2018

Changes to compulsory school leaving laws that force some people to stay in school longer have been shown to boost education and reduce crime. This column uses changes in such laws in the US to show that the driver behind the reduction in crime is not better employment outcomes, but ‘dynamic incapacitation’. Crime rates peak at age 18, and keeping teenagers in school during this key period can help ensure that they never proceed down the wrong track.

Maria Victoria Anauati, Sebastian Galiani, Ramiro Gálvez, 09 October 2018

Economics places a strong emphasis on publishing in a narrow set of top-tier journals. However, the reputation of a journal does not necessarily go hand in hand with citation performance. This column describes how citation patterns vary greatly across tiers, affecting both the total citations articles receive and the life cycles of their citations. Nonetheless, the results suggest that too much emphasis is placed on the top five journals. 

Seth Zimmerman, 08 October 2018

Graduates of top universities hold a large share of leadership positions in big firms. At the same time, elite universities are aiming to expand access to middle- and low-income students. Yet, it is unclear whether the benefits of attending top universities accrue to students from poor backgrounds. This column examines new evidence from Chile and finds that admission to highly selective, business-focused degree programmes has very large effects on the rates at which male students from wealthy backgrounds attain top jobs and incomes, but little or no effect for female students and non-wealthy male students.

David Card, Ciprian Domnisoru, Lowell Taylor, 06 October 2018

There is wide variation in upward mobility across US states. This column uses a study of child schooling in 1940 to show that upward mobility in educational attainment is determined in part by local public education policy, with mobility greater in states with high teacher salaries, for example. This shows the potential of public education to improve equality of opportunity. 

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. 

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