Silva, Pedro Luís, Luís Catela Nunes, Maria do Carmo Seabra, Ana Balcão Reis, and Miguel Alves. 2020. “Student Selection and Performance in Higher Education: Admission Exams vs. High School Scores.” Education Economics 28 (5).
Latest Version presented at the Fourth Lisbon Research Workshop: Economics, Statistics and Econometrics of Education (http://cemapre.iseg.ulisboa.pt/educonf/4e3/Parallell_Sessions.php)
In many countries, students are selected into higher education institutions based on their achievement at high school, measured by scores given by their teachers and obtained on final national exams. This paper compares these two measures in terms of their ability to predict students' success in higher education. Accounting for sample selection problems, we find that the high school score is a stronger predictor of students' performance at university. However, the score obtained in the mathematics national exam still adds information. We conclude that both measures are complementary, a result that is relevant for university recruitment and selection policies.
Câmara Leme, Afonso, Josep-Oriol Escardíbul, Luís Catela Nunes, Ana Balcão Reis, and Maria do Carmo Seabra. 2020. “The Effect of a Specialized versus a General Upper-Secondary School Curriculum on Students’ Performance and Inequality. A Difference-in-Differences Cross-Country Analysis.” Applied Economics 52 (39).
Countries differ in their academic upper-secondary school systems whereby some require their students to choose a specialization track from a set of areas – typically natural sciences, economic sciences, or humanities – and follow that specialization for the course of their upper secondary education years whereas, by contrast, others follow a general curriculum in which students are not required to follow a single specialization and thus, may receive a more general education. Because countries follow only one system or the other, a cross-country analysis is required to estimate the possible effects on students’ achievement of these institutional differences. We measure achievement with the scores in reading and mathematics in international assessment programmes. An international difference-in-differences approach is chosen to account for country heterogeneity and unobserved factors influencing student outcomes, by using data from three different large-scale international student assessments. Results suggest that there is a negative effect from specialization tracking and that this may be greater for specific sub-groups of the student population – in particular, for students with a low socioeconomic status.
Reis, Ana Balcão. 2020. “Public Funding of Higher Education: Who Gains, Who Loses?” International Journal of Economic Theory 16 (2).
This paper analyses the effects of public funding of higher education on individuals’ welfare, taking into account the hierarchical nature of the education system and the fact that parents may complement basic public education with private tutoring. Although public funding financed by a proportional income tax increases access to higher education, some of the agents who gain access lose in welfare terms. Moreover, it is shown that the marginal agent regarding access to higher education would always prefer a pure private funding system in which he would not send his offspring to higher education but would also not pay tuition fees or pay taxes.