Category Archives: Economics of Education

Fresh, frank, fearless and free

In the latest Melbourne Institute newsletter, Director Stephen Sedgwick highlights the strengths and weaknesses of new education data arrangements: Recent COAG reforms, however, present an opportunity to significantly improve access by interested researchers to quality data. New national testing arrangements … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

Free Trade Helps Families and Kids

Simon Crean has today released a report from the CIE showing that Australian families are $3900 a year better off thanks to trade liberalisation over the past couple of decades. And in a reminder of barriers yet to fall, the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Trade & Development | 3 Comments

A Professor Like Me

A new study provides some useful analysis of the effects of academics’ gender on university outcomes. The authors cleverly take advantage of the fact that the US Air Force Academy randomly assigns students to sections, with little opportunity to switch. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Randomisation | 4 Comments

Schools That Transform

David Brooks reports on some surprisingly large impacts from a randomised trial of New York “Harlem Children’s Zone” schools. The effects are so big that I find it hard to imagine they’re readily replicable, but it’s tantalizing stuff. The fight … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 9 Comments

Does a Good Player Make a Good Coach?

Some new evidence on teacher test scores, this time from Sweden. One Size Fits All? The Effects of Teacher Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities on Student Achievement Erik Grönqvist & Jonas Vlachos Teachers are increasingly being drawn from the lower parts … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 7 Comments

Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Kids?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes. But we might also be interested in magnitudes. A new paper using German data finds a parent-child test score correlation of 0.45, which is bigger than the intergenerational earnings correlation in Germany (about 0.2, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 5 Comments

Will more uni funding pay for itself?

Joshua Gans’ Centre for Ideas and the Economy has something called ‘IdeaCHECKs’, in which he commissions academics to write reviews of public reports. I’ve just done my first, discussing a report by KPMG-Econtech for Universities Australia on the benefits of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Universities | Comments Off on Will more uni funding pay for itself?

Make me rigorous and scientific, but not yet

The government’s response to the 2020 summit went public yesterday. My one idea was that we should have more randomised trials in education. I was chuffed to see that the idea made it into the document, but somewhat perplexed by … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

Good news for ed data wonks

One small step for researcher access might lead to some giant leaps in what we know about schools. In today’s Canberra Times, Emma McDonald writes: The ACT will be the first state or territory to use national literacy and numeracy … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Good news for ed data wonks

Buying education data

It seems Australia isn’t the only jurisdiction where the federal government is offering education money to states that is conditional on school-level reporting. According to a new report, US Education Secretary (and former Australian basketballer) Arne Duncan is doing the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

Economics of Child Care

For those who are interested in the economics of child care (or who are wondering what on earth a bunch of dismal scientists could possibly say about keeping kids happy), I’ve posted on my website a 2-page summary of the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | Comments Off on Economics of Child Care

The Economics of Childcare

With my colleague Chikako Yamauchi, I’m organising a conference next week (Thu 12 March, to be precise) at ANU on ‘The Economics of Childcare’. We officially closed registrations last week, but still have room for a few more if people want … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 1 Comment

Oportunidades Knocks?

Can paying children for attendance and grades boost scores, or will it do more harm than good? In development economics, one of the most popular programs over recent years are conditional cash transfer programs. Modelled on a randomised trial of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Trade & Development | 3 Comments

An unexpected effect of expanding maternity leave

My talk last night to the Skeptics was on the economics of education. In it, I mentioned two unexpected drivers of the drop in teacher quality. As I argued in my latest AFR oped: It is rarely recognised, but Australia … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 4 Comments

Skills, Schools and Synapses

Team Heckman has a new paper out (NBER version here, free version here) on early childhood intervention. Much of the ground has been covered by previous Heckman papers, but one new aspect is a 5-point guide to designing what he thinks … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 1 Comment

What's the best way to identify the best?

My AFR oped today is on teacher quality, discussing the various ways we might identify the best teachers. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics of Education | 10 Comments

Leaving Teachers

One of the important issues in the economics of education is understanding which teachers quit the profession. Theory doesn’t give a clear answer on this. On the one hand, underperforming teachers might find the job to be harder, so could … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 2 Comments

Does redshirting help?

Any parent with a child born near the school entry age cutoff faces a dilemma – should they let their child start school a little early, or a little late? In the US, the practice of holding one’s child back … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 24 Comments

Scrap the Baby Bonus and Raise Teacher Pay?

I popped into the ABC studios on my ride to work today to do a pre-record with Life Matters this morning on why the Baby Bonus is bad policy and should be scrapped. Cycling into work afterwards, a thought occurred to … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 23 Comments

Success has many parents…

Last week, I wrote up the 2020 summit idea of providing a HECS discount in exchange for volunteering in a disadvantaged community. In today’s Higher Ed section of the Australian, Andrew Darbyshire claims credit for the notion. I don’t doubt that … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Social Capital | 2 Comments

Randomised trials… in education

My friend and coauthor Joshua Gans has two blogs. When he’s not blogging about new innovations in economics on Core Econ, he’s offering new insights on parenting at Game Theorist (which has led to a book, Parentonomics, forthcoming in August 2008). One of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, From the Frontiers | Comments Off on Randomised trials… in education

Does Affirmative Action Work?

Marianne Bertrand, Rema Hanna, Sendhil Mullainathan present new evidence on the impact of affirmative action in university admissions – this time not from racial AA in the US, but caste AA in India. They find a neat equity-efficiency tradeoff, illustrating the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 7 Comments

Don't Just Start Early – Start With the Poor

Writing today in Eureka Street, Daniel Donahoo makes a key point about the difference between universal and targeted early childhood intervention. Key quote: At the centre of the discussion is the name Dr James Heckman. Heckman was the Nobel Laureate for … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

The quick and the ed

Kim at Larvartus Prodeo kicks off a long comments thread talking about my education research, and the limitations of economic imperialism. Worth reading.

Posted in Economics of Education | 6 Comments

Falling Behind

A couple of years ago, I read a paper by Roland Fryer and Steve Levitt (non-technical version here), which found that the black-white test score gap in the US widened after children hit school.* With my colleague Xiaodong Gong, we decided … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Indigenous Policy | Comments Off on Falling Behind

Training Teachers

One interesting idea that I’ve heard recently is that education training should move towards the medical model. Just as they have ‘teaching hospitals’, we might think about designating particular schools as being those where most teachers do their practicums (and maybe … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 10 Comments

Is Obama Still for Merit Pay?

There’s a piece in the New Republic attempting to work out Obama’s views on education reform, and particularly whether he’s still for merit pay. It’s an important topic, but I find it a smidgin frustrating that the author spends so … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 1 Comment

The Hamiltonian Solution

On the topic of payments to encourage Indigenous children to stay in school, I received a fascinating email from Chris Cullinan, which he’s kindly allowed me to reprint. Greetings Andrew, Saw an article in the Melbourne Age which highlighted your belief … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Indigenous Policy | Comments Off on The Hamiltonian Solution

Getting better all the time?

In today’s SMH, senior education bureaucrat (and Sydney University adjunct professor) Paul Brock critiques my study with Chris Ryan. Here’s his oped, and here’s a news story reporting on it. There are a few errors (a. I’m described as the sole author … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 10 Comments

Do kids do better with bigger classes and well-paid teachers?

We may soon find out. The New York Times reports on a school that’s taking a punt on the growing body of teacher quality research, opting to pay its teachers seriously good salaries. A New York City charter school set … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 9 Comments