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Maarten van Klaveren and Kea Tijdens

This chapter aims to assess the size of informal employment from a gender perspective, focusing on industries with large shares of women workers and based on evidence from 14 countries. In these countries informal work was predominantly found in the agricultural sector. With a decreasing share of agriculture in total employment and a stable share of women, in the 2000s women’s informal employment decreased overall. The (further) shift of employment out of agriculture may be crucial for reducing vulnerable employment. However, in most countries this shift only partly translates into less vulnerable and higher value added activities, in particular in view of the characteristics of employment in commerce. The authors note that the lack of employment data on agriculture in national statistics hampers insight in the constraints for women of this major transformation, notably in terms of infrastructural provisions and basic services needed.

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Leah F. Vosko, John Grundy and Mark P. Thomas

The growth of precarious employment has drawn attention to a mounting crisis in employment standards enforcement, as mechanisms within traditional employment law are increasingly ineffective at ensuring protection for workers in precarious jobs. This growing enforcement crisis has coincided with the adoption of new regulatory strategies that show an increasing influence of regulatory new governance. Using reforms in four jurisdictions as illustrative examples, and set in the context of the employment standards enforcement crisis, this chapter raises serious concerns around the emergence of new modes of regulatory governance. The authors argue that new modes of regulation that fail to account adequately for the power dynamics of the employment relationship risk entrenching processes of regulatory degradation. In light of this failure, the chapter outlines four principles for more effective employment standards regulation that aim to balance aspects of traditional regulatory models with a selective application of more promising elements of regulatory new governance with the primary aim of ensuring regulatory protection for workers in precarious jobs.

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Fernando Saltiel, Miguel Sarzosa and Sergio Urzúa

Abilities matter. This chapter reviews the nature of cognitive and socio-emotional abilities and examines their importance in the development of successful lives. The text highlights the evidence documenting the causal association between abilities and labour market outcomes. It introduces an occupational tasks framework and shows how the interaction of abilities, skills and tasks is important for understanding labour market disparities. It concludes with policy recommendations based on interventions aimed at improving skills and future avenues for this research agenda.

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Henry M. Levin and Clive R. Belfield

Cost-effectiveness analysis is a common tool for ascertaining the efficiency of investment, but it has only rarely been applied to education. This chapter begins by defining cost-effectiveness and addressing the rationale for using cost-effectiveness in education. It proceeds to issues in measuring educational effectiveness using a common metric across interventions. It then devotes considerable attention to how to apply the concept of opportunity cost to cost measurement in education using the ingredients method, which relies on specifying the required resources and their market or shadow prices. It concludes with a sampling of cost-effectiveness studies devoted to different educational topics: teacher selection, dropout prevention, early reading achievement and multiple reforms. The article concludes with future directions.

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Tommaso Agasisti and Alex J. Bowers

In this chapter, we outline the importance of data usage for improving policymaking (at the system level), management of educational institutions and pedagogical approaches in the classroom. We illustrate how traditional data analyses are becoming gradually substituted by more sophisticated forms of analytics, and we provide a classification for these recent movements (in particular learning analytics, academic analytics and educational data mining). After having illustrated some examples of recent applications, we warn against potential risks of inadequate analytics in education, and list a number of barriers that impede the widespread application of better data use. As implications, we call for a development of a more robust professional role of data scientists applied to education, with the aim of sustaining and reinforcing a positive data-driven approach to decision making in the educational field.

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Fengliang Li

Distance education in a variety of forms has a long history and the number of students enrolled has become enormous. But, compared with studies of traditional face-to-face education, the studies on economics of distance education are rather fewer and have not attracted much attention from the scholars of the economics of education. This chapter introduces and analyses the existing empirical studies on the economics of distance education from the perspectives of cost, efficiency, the private and social benefits, social capital and dropout. The empirical results support that distance education has its own distinctive features, such as cost advantages and economies of scale and scope, the separation of teachers and learners, the separation among learners, social capital disadvantages and high dropout rate. Meanwhile, the empirical results show that like traditional face-to-face education, distance education can not only bring significant private benefits but also a series of social benefits and social capital can improve distance education learners’ performance and benefits. Finally, with the development of the Internet and information technology, especially the explosive growth of MOOCs, this chapter predicts that distance education will become a common approach to study for ordinary people in the near future. Then this chapter offers some prospects and suggestions referring to studies of the economics of distance education in the future.

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Abigail McKnight

This chapter reviews the evidence on the role education plays in determining social mobility. It begins by examining how education has been incorporated into theoretical models of social mobility. It reviews the evidence on the relationship between family background, educational attainment and social mobility. It examines findings from the developing literature on the role of non-cognitive skills. Finally, the chapter examines research looking at barriers to increasing social mobility through education policy.

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Jack Britton and Anna Vignoles

Globally more is being spent on education than ever before. Understanding which educational inputs are most important for achievement is essential for improving efficiency of that spending. In this chapter, we review the literature that has used the education production function to model the relationship between educational inputs such as genetics, parental investments, school type, teacher quality and school resources, and educational outputs. We summarise the evidence from key studies that have produced credible estimates of the relationship between inputs and a variety of these different education and labour market outcomes. We conclude with some insights into potential avenues for future research.

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Fabio Bertranou and Luis Casanova

This chapter examines employment formalization in Argentina from 2003 to 2014 as well as the public policies associated with that process. It identifies the critical segments of informality along with the challenges they pose to a strategy aimed at reducing informality in a labour market that has proven relatively resistant to such reductions in recent years. The results show a decrease in informality for salaried employment, although there has not been a similar decrease among the self-employed. After a significant drop in non-registered salaried employment between 2003 and 2008, slower formal employment growth has offset advances in formalization. Informality affects nearly 44 per cent of all employed individuals. The need to develop specific actions as part of a comprehensive strategy is due to the characteristics of the critical segments of the labour market and the persistence of a heterogeneous productive structure.

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Carla Haelermans and Joris Ghysels

This chapter provides an overview of the economic literature on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving student performance that take place within the class or school setting. We look at effects of ICT, traditional learning materials and study skills such as meta-cognition and feedback. Overall, the evidence of the effects of didactic interventions in schools and in the classroom is mixed. Effects of ICT are mostly found in developing countries and for mathematics, whereas effects of traditional learning methods are mixed and mostly seem to depend on the teacher. Effects of interventions on study skills are mostly positive, although causal claims are questionable for most studies, except for some experimental studies on the effect of using digital testing and feedback as information providing instruments. For all the interventions discussed in this chapter it holds that the design of the intervention is of large importance to the effect that is (not) found.