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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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Jason Heyes and Thomas Hastings

European labour markets and labour market policies have been substantially affected by the economic crisis that unfolded after 2008. Following the initial increase in government spending aimed at offsetting the financial crisis, EU countries began, to varying degrees, to embrace austerity, cutting public spending while seeking to reignite economic growth by introducing structural reforms. This chapter examines the impact of the crisis on the labour markets of different EU member countries and the policies that have been adopted to address these impacts. The chapter also examines the consequences of the crisis for migration within the EU. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the current policy drift within the EU and the implications for the European Commission’s flexicurity agenda and ambitions relating to Europe 2020.

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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.

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Edited by Stefania Marino, Judith Roosblad and Rinus Penninx

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Edited by Stefania Marino, Judith Roosblad and Rinus Penninx

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Ana Maria Vargas-Falla

Formalization, understood as gaining legal status to develop their businesses, is the mainstream policy to regulate the work of street vendors in most cities in the world. However, formalization policies are criticized by different scholars, and many vendors go back to the streets after formalization despite government efforts. To contribute to this long-standing debate, this chapter explores the relation between the formalization of street vendors and the improvement of their well-being. Formalization is addressed from the point of view of the vendors. The empirical data are based on an ethnographic study of a formalization programme for street vendors in the city of Bogotá, Colombia. A total of 169 vendors were interviewed. This study concludes that formalization often covers a very small number of street vendors, while the majority work informally and do not have access to formalization programmes. However, the few vendors who were formalized were better off after the formalization of their businesses. They gained confidence, self-respect and autonomy. They were empowered by the law that recognized their work and gave them legal status, contrary to previous laws that disempowered them and prohibited their livelihoods. Therefore, formalization can be a tool to enhance well-being when governments use the law to improve the life of the poor, and not as a tool of control.