We examine the role of financial aid in shaping the formation of human capital in economics. Specifically, we study the impact of a large merit-based scholarship for graduate studies in affecting individuals' occupational choices, career trajectories, and labor market outcomes of a generation of Italian economists with special focus on gender gaps and the role of social mobility. We construct a unique dataset that combines archival sources and includes microdata for the universe of applicants to the scholarship program and follow these individuals over their professional life. Our unique sample that focuses on the high end of the talent and ability distribution also allows us to analyze the characteristics of top graduates, a group which tends to be under-sampled in most surveys. We discuss five main results. First, women are less likely to be shortlisted for a scholarship as they tend to receive lower scores in the most subjective criteria used in the initial screening of candidates. Second, scholarship winners are much more likely to choose a research career and this effect is larger for women. Third, women who work in Italian universities tend to have less citations than men who work in Italy. However, the citation gender gap is smaller for candidates who received a scholarship. Fourth, women take longer to be promoted to the rank of full professor, even after controlling for academic productivity. Fifth, it is easier to become a high achiever for individuals from households with a lower socio-economic status if they reside in high social mobility provinces. However, high-achievers from lower socio-economic status households face an up-hill battle even in high social mobility provinces.
The learning crisis in developing countries is increasingly acknowledged (World Bank, 2018). The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) include goals and targets for universal learning and the World Bank has adopted a goal of eliminating learning poverty. We use student level PISA-D results for seven countries (Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Senegal, and Zambia) to examine inequality in learning outcomes at the global, country, and student level for public school students. We examine learning inequality using five dimensions of potential social disadvantage measured in PISA: sex, rurality, home language, immigrant status, and socio-economic status (SES)—using the PISA measure of ESCS (Economic, Social,and Cultural Status) to measure SES. We document four important facts. First, with the exception of Ecuador, less than a third of the advantaged (male, urban, native, home speakers of the language of instruction) and ESCS elite (plus 2 standard deviations above the mean) children enrolled in public schools in PISA-D countries reach the SDG minimaltarget of PISA level 2 or higher in mathematics (with similarly low levels for reading and science). Even if learning differentials of enrolled students along all five dimensions of disadvantage were eliminated, the vast majority of children in these countries would not reach the SDG minimum targets. Second, the inequality in learning outcomes of the in-school children who were assessed by the PISA by household ESCS is mostly smaller in these less developed countries than in OECD or high-performing non-OECD countries. If the PISA-D countries had the same relationship of learning to ESCS as Denmark (as an example of a typical OECD country) or Vietnam (a high-performing developing country) their enrolled ESCS disadvantaged children would do worse, not better, than they actually do. Third, the disadvantages in learning outcomes along four characteristics: sex, rurality, home language, and being an immigrant country are absolutely large, but still small compared tothe enormous gap between the advantaged, ESCS average students,and the SDG minimums. Given the massive global inequalities, remediating within-country inequalities in learning, while undoubtedly important for equity and justice, leads to only modest gains towards the SDG targets. Fourth, even including both public and private school students,there are strikingly few children in PISA-D countries at high levels of performance. The absolute number of children at PISA level 4 or above (reached by roughly 30 percent of OECD children) in the low performing PISA-D countries is less than a few thousand individuals, sometimes only a few hundred—in some subjects and countries just double or single digits. These four hard lessons from PISA-D reinforce the need to address global equity by “raising the floor” and targeting low learning levels (Crouch and Rolleston, 2017; Crouch, Rolleston, and Gustafsson, 2020). As Vietnam and other recent successes show, this can be done in developing country settings if education systems align around learning to improve the effectiveness of the teaching and learning processes to improve early learning of foundational skills.
We study the relationship between housing inequality and crime in South Africa. We create a novel panel dataset combining information on crimes at the police station level with census data. We find that housing inequality explains a significant share of the variation in both property and violent crimes, net of spillover effects, time and district fixed effects. An increase of one standard deviation in housing inequality explains between 9 and 13 percent of crime increases. Additionally, we show that a prominent post-apartheid housing program for low-income South Africans led to a reduction in inequality and a decline in violent crimes. Together, these findings suggest the important role that equality in housing conditions can play in the reduction of crime in an emerging economy context.
The labor market performance of immigrants relative to natives has been widely studied but its gender dimension has been relatively neglected. Our paper aims at revisiting labor market convergence between immigrants and natives and examining this under-studied dimension in a comprehensive study of the EU-15 countries and Switzerland over the period 1999-2018. Our results show that in most countries female migrants start with a larger employment gap but converge more rapidly than male migrants do. We also provide a broad overview of the role of potential factors such as economic conditions, labor market structure, institutions, and attitudes towards immigrants and women and their association with employment convergence of all immigrants and female immigrants specifically. While the analysis provides an interesting insight, we do not identify very significant factors at the national level. We find a very strong correlation between attitudes towards immigrants and their employment convergence across sub-national regions.
Do knowledge intense jobs exhibit lower gender gaps in wages? Here we use a linked employer-employee dataset of the entire Brazilian formal labor force to study the relationship between gender wage gaps and the knowledge intensity of industries and occupations. We find that employees in high-skilled occupations and industries experience lower gender wage gaps, and that the effect of knowledge intensity is stronger when the demand for skilled labor is high and the supply of skilled labor is low. We also find evidence that the gender wage gap of skilled workers, but not that of unskilled workers, decreases when knowledge intense industries grow. These effects are robust to controlling for individual, occupation, sector, and location characteristics. To address endogeneity concerns, we use a Bartik instrument based on labor demand shocks. Together, these findings suggest that competition for skilled labor in knowledge intense industries contributes to the reduction of gender wage gaps.
We examine gender gaps in career dynamics in the legal sector using rich panel data from one of the largest global law firms in the world. The law firm studied is representative of multinational law firms and operates in 23 countries. The sample includes countries at different stages of development. We document the cross-country variation in gender gaps and how these gaps have changed over time. We show that while there is gender parity at the entry level in most countries by the end of the period examined, there are persistent raw gender gaps at the top of the organization across all countries. We observe significant heterogeneity among countries in terms of gender gaps in promotions and wages, but the gaps that exist appear to be declining over the period studied. We also observe that women are more likely to report exiting the firm for family and work-life balance reasons, while men report leaving for career advancement. Finally, we show that various measures of national institutions and culture appear to play a role in the differential labor-market outcomes of men and women