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Dissertation zugänglich unter
The impact of culture on outcomes in education : theoretical and empirical evidence
Der Einfluss von Kultur auf Bildungsergebnisse : theoretische und empirische Evidenz
Dokument 1.pdf (1.363 KB)
Bildungsökonomie , OECD / Programme for International Student Assessment , Mikroökonomie , Ökonometrie , Experiment
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch):
Economics of education , ability tracking , intergenerational mobility , microeconometrics , microtheory
Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen
Mühlheußer, Gerd (Prof. Dr.)
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung:
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
In the first chapter we develop a model of student decision making that shows that it depends on the culture of competitiveness in a country or region whether it is optimal to choose a school design with ability tracking or comprehensive schooling. Students with different cultural background differ in their concern for relative position in the classroom, which is modeled by reference-dependent preferences. We contrast competitive cultures, where students compare their performance with the best performance in class, and non-competitive cultures where the reference point is the average performance. Taking into account students with heterogeneous abilities, we show that the average performance in competitive cultures is maximized under comprehensive schooling and in non-competitive cultures under ability tracking. Segregation of abilities, however, always leads to a higher dispersion of performances.
In the second chapter theoretical hypotheses from Thiemann (2017) are tested for their empirical relevance. According to theory comprehensive schooling and ability grouping yield different results in terms of average student performance in countries that differ in their culture of competitiveness. The predictions are tested using a country-level indicator on the appraisal of competition from the World Values Survey. Educational achievement data is from PISA 2012, covering 34 countries and more than 10,000 schools of which data on the school's policy of ability grouping is available. To overcome possible endogeneity of ability grouping an instrumental variable approach is employed, using the number of schools a school regionally competes with as an instrument. The estimation shows that ability grouping in some or all classes increases average student achievement in competitive cultures and decreases average student achievement in non-competitive cultures.
In the third chapter we conduct a laboratory experiment to test theoretical predictions from Thiemann (2017) on subjects' performance in an effort task conditional on their peer group's composition and relative performance feedback. Subjects are grouped either randomly or according to their ability, with the feedback being the maximum or average performance of their group. We are able to support theory-derived hypotheses on optimal performance and peer effects. While random grouping is beneficial for male subjects it is detrimental for female subjects. Evidence is found for output being more dispersed when the best group performance is given as feedback. Again we find gender differences with male subjects performing significantly better when they compare themselves to the best peer instead of the average, while the opposite is true for females.
In the fourth chapter we analyze the determinants of cross-country differences in the impact of family background on student achievement. The focus among potential drivers is on country-specific family culture that can influence student motivation. Measures for culture are derived from questions in the World Values Survey about the valuation of hard work, competitiveness and the belief in free choice in life. In the first part of this paper we focus on native students to compare intergenerational mobility among more than 40 countries. In a second part data from students with immigration background is used in order to overcome endogeneity problems of the cultural variables. We find that disadvantages caused by family background can be overcome more easily in cultures with high beliefs in free choice. Especially male students also benefit if they come from competitive cultures. A high valuation of hard work, however, can decrease mobility.