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Research Programmes | Education and Skills:

Post Compulsory Education and Skills

Recent work on Post-Compulsary Education And Skills

The CEP work on further and technical education can be found on the CVER website: http://cver.lse.ac.uk/ The Centre for Vocational Education Research is a DfE-funded research centre. It is a LSE-led consortium which also includes partners in the University of Sheffield, the National Institute of Social and Economic Research and London Economics. For further information or to register for the newsletter, please visit the CVER website or email cver@lse.ac.uk

 The Education and Skills group of CEP is responsible for projects led by LSE. Ongoing projects include the following:

• Is there a payoff to having an apprenticeship? (Chiara Cavaglia, Sandra McNally, Guglielmo Ventura)
• The effect of obtaining a Grade C in English on future outcomes (Stephen Machin, Sandra McNally, Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela)
• The value-added of further education providers (Esteban Aucejo, Claudia Hupkau, Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela)
• An evaluation of University Technical Colleges (Stephen Machin, Sandra McNally, Camille Terrier and Gugleilmo Ventura)
• The effect of capital expenditure on learner outcomes (Stephen Gibbons, Claudia Hupkau, Sandra McNally and Henry Overman)
• Migration and training (Alan Manning, Sandra McNally and Guglielmo Ventura)
• Evaluation of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (Chiara Cavaglia, Sandra McNally and Henry Overman)
• Raising the educational participation rate and crime (Claudia Hupkau, Tom Kirchmeiyer, Stephen Machin)
• Effectiveness of CEOs in the public sector: evidence from further education institutions (Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela, Camille Terrier and Clémentine Van Effenterre)

Reforms to Higher Education

Lessons from the end of free college in England
Despite increasing financial pressures on higher education systems throughout the world, many governments remain resolutely opposed to the introduction of tuition fees, and some countries and states where tuition fees have been long established are now reconsidering free higher education. Richard Murphy and Gill Wyness of CEP (together with Judith Scott-Clayton) examine the consequences of charging tuition fees on university quality, enrolments, and equity. They study the English higher education system which has, in just two decades, moved from a free college system to one in which tuition fees are among the highest in the world. Findings suggest that England’s shift has resulted in increased funding per head, rising enrolments, and a narrowing of the participation gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. The discussion paper is available here: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1501.pdf Higher Education Funding Reforms Ghazala Azmat and Stefania Simion use detailed longitudinal micro-data on all students in state schools in England to evaluate the short and longer effects of the 2006 reform and the short-run effects of the 2012 reforms. The paper aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the educational and labour market consequences of the English higher education reforms, focusing on its socioeconomic distributional effects. We find only very modest effects of reforms which are only evident for higher socio-economic groups. 

International vs Native Born Students in UK Higher Education

Has the large influx of overseas students crowded out enrolment of domestic students? Stephen Machin and Richard Murphy investigate this using administrative data on the entire UK Higher Education student population over time. They find no evidence of crowd out of domestic undergraduate students and indications of increases in the domestic numbers of postgraduate students as overseas enrolments have grown. This is interpreted as cross-subsidisation. The paper has now been published in the Journal of Economic Geography

Postgraduate Education & Wage Inequality

How has the rise in postgraduate education contributed to wage inequality?

Joanne Lindley and Stephen Machin document increases in the number of workers with a postgraduate qualification in US and Great Britain. They show their relative wages have risen more over time not only as compared to all workers but also to graduates with only a university degree. With widespread diffusion of computers into workplaces, it turns out that the principal beneficiaries have been those more skilled workers with a postgraduate qualification. This has been an important driver of rising wage inequality amongst graduates over time. See: Rising Wage Inequality and Postgraduate Education, and the CentrePiece article for a summary.

The educational background of postgraduate students

Research by Stephen Machin and Richard Murphy, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, suggests that there is a small but significant imbalance in favour of undergraduates who have been privately educated. This is despite the fact that students from state schools of the same class and background are more likely to get a good university degree than similar students who come from independent schools. This work is summarised in a CentrePiece article.

Gender and Race Gaps in US Higher Education

Explaining Cross-Racial Differences in the Educational Gender Gap

How do we explain the large gender gap in US college enrolment, especially among African Americans? In 2004 only 35.7 percent of all African American undergraduate students were men. Esteban Aucejo (2013) finds that family background characteristics cannot account for this and it appears that non-cognitive skills are crucial. See: Explaining Cross-Racial Differences in the Educational Gender Gap.

Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209

What has been the effect of affirmative action in the US? Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban Aucejo, Patrick Coate, and V. Joseph Hotz (2013) analyse data for all applicants and enrollees at the University of California before and after Prop 209, a law in California that banned the use of racial preferences in admissions to public colleges in California. After Prop 209, graduation rates increased by 4.4%. This appears to be driven by more efficient sorting of minority students and the fact that universities responded to the law by investing more in their students, in particular in their efforts to keep students from dropping out. See: Affirmative Action and University Fit: Evidence from Proposition 209.

Minorities and Science Degrees

What accounts for the worryingly low number of college graduates with science degrees - particularly among underrepresented minorities? Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban Aucejo and V. Joseph Hotz examine differences across universities in graduating students in different fields. Using student-level data at the University of California, they find that science majors have stronger credentials than their non-science counterparts. Students with weaker academic preparation are more likely to leave the sciences and take longer to graduate. They show that most minority students would be more likely to graduate with a science degree and in less time had they attended a lower ranked university. Similar results do not apply for non-minority students. See: University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California.

Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities

Do racial minorities benefit from greater diversity of racial intake at US universities? Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban Aucejo, Andrew Hussey and Kenneth Spenner (2013) show that despite greater diversity in University populations, significant friendship segregation still exists at selective universities, with black friendships no more diverse in college than in high school despite these colleges having substantially smaller black populations. This is largely explained by differences in academic background and the fact that students are more likely to form friendships with those of similar academic backgrounds. These results suggest that affirmative action admission policies at selective universities which drive a wedge between the academic characteristics of different racial groups may result in increased within-school segregation. See: Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities.

Impact of university bursaries

Despite the huge outlay in bursary spending being carried out by universities (approximately £300m in 2012), there remains no empirical evidence that bursaries are effective in encouraging low-income students or those from any background to go to university. Whilst it may be the case that bursaries have little impact on student participation decisions, providing financial support may have other positive impacts on students whilst at university. Gill Wyness and Richard Murphy are investigating some of these by looking at whether bursaries reduce the incentive for students to drop out of university and/or have an effect on the probability of achieving a 'good degree'.

Impact of student ratings on university applications

How does information about student satisfaction on university choice? Steve Gibbons, Eric Neumayer and Richard Perkins (2013) investigate this using data from the UK's National Student Survey (NSS) and applications to undergraduate degree courses. They show that the NSS has a small, statistically significant effect on applications at the university-subject level. This effect operates primarily through the influence of the NSS scores on a university's position in separately published, subject specific, league tables, implying greater salience of league table rankings. The impact of rankings is greater amongst the most able students, for universities with entry standards in the upper-middle tier, and for subject-departments facing more competition. See: Student Satisfaction, League Tables and University Applications.