The Returns to Education Turn 50 (News and Research 331)

Returns to Education Turns 50 | March 29, 2023 | 8:30AM-1:15PM EDT

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book, Returns to Education: An International Comparison by George Psacharopoulos, the renowned economist, and former World Bank staffer. This event recognizes this milestone and reassesses the progress in measuring the benefits of education. The conference will include panels to discuss the concept of the returns to education and the influence of Psacharopoulos, along with a panel on the latest evidence on the returns to education. #ReturnsToEducation50

Remembering the lessons of COVID-19 to build resilience for future shocks in Europe and Central Asia | Anna Bjerde |From January 2020 until recently, COVID-19 dominated international headlines and our thoughts. Europe and Central Asia were severely hit by COVID-19, facing among the highest excess death rates in the world. As we start to mask less and come together more, we should reflect on the ramifications of COVID-19 and how we are helping the most vulnerable in Europe and Central Asia address the human capital losses it induced. A new global report titled Collapse & Recovery: How COVID-19 Eroded Human Capital and What to Do About It shows that the pandemic dealt a massive setback to the human capital of people under the age of 25 – the generation that will make up the majority of the workforce in 2050 … Many of these devastating trends have also affected the Europe and Central Asia region. Data collected by Patrinos, Vegas and Carter-Rau show a clear relationship between school closures and learning losses, which, for many countries in Europe and Central Asia, amounted to up to a year of learning – equivalent to 8% of their future lifetime income…

Dünya Bankının Avropa və Mərkəzi Asiya üzrə baş iqtisadçısı İvaylo İzvorski ilə müsahibə | Ivailo Izvorski’s interview in Azerbaijan about the country’s challenges and opportunities for further growth amid the global and regional trends.

America’s schools are heading for a crunch | Enrolment is declining; budgets will follow | At a meeting earlier this year, board members in Seattle’s biggest public-school district were treated to a grisly chart. Over five years the number of full-time staff on the district’s payroll has drifted upwards, even as the number of pupils on its books has fallen. In September teachers won a pay rise following a strike that delayed the new school year. But enrolment could keep shrinking for a decade, reckon district leaders, who warn of budgetary black holes. Threatened bankruptcy may eventually require “consolidating,” which may mean shutting down schools.

How Can Public Private Partnerships Strengthen Basic Education Service Delivery? | April 4, 2023 | I will join Suezan Lee, Gustavo Arcia, Frehiwot Wubishet, Jalu Cahyanto | Public and Private Partnerships (PPPs) hold great promise for education however, as an emerging practice, there is still much to learn in making best use of this strategy. On April 4, 2023, join experts from USAID and its partner organizations for an introduction to PPPs in basic education and what can be gleaned from the available evidence. Two webinars will be held at 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a contract between a government institution and a private entity on a project that pursues a public goal. PPPs are used by governments and educational institutions to expand education delivery, improve operational efficiency, increase accountability, and address issues of quality and learning equity at all levels of education.

How to recover from the Great Education Disruption | Children around the world were out of school for months, with big impacts on learning, well-being, and the economy. How do we avoid a ‘generational catastrophe’?

The Impact of Armed Conflict on College Students | Given the spike of homicides in conflict zones of Colombia after the 2016 peace agreement, I study the causal effect of violence on college test scores. Using a difference-in-difference design with heterogeneous effects, I show how this increase in violence had a negative effect on college learning, and how this negative effect is mediated by factors such as poverty, college major, degree type, and study mode. A 10% increase in the homicide rate per 100,000 people in conflict zones of Colombia, had a negative impact on college test scores equivalent to 0.07 standard deviations in the English section of the test. This negative effect is larger in the case of poor and female students who saw a negative effect of approximately 0.16 standard deviations, equivalent to 3.4 percentage points out of the final score. Online and short-cycle students suffer a larger negative effect of 0.14 and 0.19 standard deviations, respectively. This study provides among the first evidence of the negative effect of armed conflict on college learning and offers policy recommendations based on the heterogeneous effects of violence.

Does information improve service delivery? A randomized trial in education in India | From a cluster randomized control trial in 610 villages, the study evaluates the impact of a community-based information campaign on school outcomes in three Indian states. The campaign consisted of eleven to fourteen public meetings over two rounds in treatment villages to disseminate information to the community about its state-mandated roles and responsibilities in school management. No intervention took place in control villages. The paper reports on the final follow up survey two and half years after the campaign. Providing information improved teacher effort and learning outcomes in schools. Bigger gains were seen in the two states, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Uttar Pradesh (UP), where baseline level of outcomes was lower than in the third state, Karnataka. The impact on teacher effort, primarily for civil-service teachers with permanent jobs and therefore lower accountability, was between 16%-43% in MP and UP. The shares of children able to do basic mathematics competencies improved. Due to low baseline learning levels, the magnitudes of the percentage increases were much larger compared to the absolute increases in shares. Fewer improvements occurred in language. This can be because of low teaching effectiveness as well as more time needed for larger and wider impacts on learning. School councils became more active after the campaign. Focus group discussions indicated discussions within communities and communities actively mentioning issues with teachers and school councils. Impacts were larger or broader than those at midline survey 2-4 months after one round of intervention. Overall providing information holds promise in improving public services via worker accountability.

What about the race between education and technology in the Global South? Comparing skill premiums in colonial Africa and Asia | Historical research on the race between education and technology has focused on the West but barely touched upon ‘the rest.’ A new occupational wage database for 50 African and Asian economies allows us to compare long-run patterns in skill premiums across the colonial and post-colonial eras (c. 1870–2010). Data reveal three major patterns. First, skilled labor was more expensive in colonial Africa and Asia than in pre-industrial Europe. Second, skill premiums were distinctly higher in Africa than in Asia. Third, in both regions, skill premiums fell dramatically over the course of the twentieth century, converging to levels long observed in the West.

Human Capital and Climate Change | GLO Discussion Paper No 1246 | Addressing climate change requires individual behavior change and voter support for pro-climate policies, yet surprisingly little is known about how to achieve these outcomes. This paper estimates causal effects of additional education on pro-climate outcomes using new compulsory schooling law data across 16 European countries. It analyzes effects on pro-climate beliefs, behaviors, policy preferences, and novel data on voting for green parties – a particularly consequential outcome to combat climate change. Results show a year of education increases pro-climate beliefs, behaviors, most policy preferences, and green voting, with voting gains equivalent to a substantial 35% increase.