Essays on the economics of education: more about social mobility and (in)equality and the working of the academic job market

URN urn:nbn:de:gbv:705-opus-23661
URL
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Institut: Institut für Finanzwissenschaft
Fakultät: Fakultät Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Hauptberichter: Zimmermann, Klaus W. (Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. pol.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 13.01.2010
Erstellungsjahr: 2009
Publikationsdatum:
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): social mobility , inequality , teaching , research
DDC-Sachgruppe: Wirtschaft

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This doctoral thesis consists of four independent papers, where all of them contribute to the Economics of Education. --- The first paper (with Stefan Napel) investigates the effects of intra-family talent transmission when human capital exhibits indivisibilities and parental financing of education involves borrowing constraints. Positive talent correlation reduces social mobility but steady state inequality and macroeconomic history-dependence are not affected. --- Redistributive taxation and education subsidies, common policies intended to foster education attendance of poor children, are analyzed in the second paper. The paper shows that in an intergenerational framework these policies can raise social mobility only in some investment situations but not in general. I also study the impact of both policies on the aggregate skill ratio and inequality. While redistributive taxation raises social mobility but never reduces inequality at the same time, education subsidies can, under some conditions, achieve both goals simultaneously. Unfortunately, these conditions necessarily require a population where the skill ratio is already quite high. --- The third paper focuses on the academic job market. Post-docs signal their ability to do science and teaching in trying to get a tenure giving universities the possibility of separating highly talented agents from the low talented ones. However, separating becomes even more important in a two-dimensional signalling case. This attracts notice to time constraints. Under weak conditions separating equilibria do not exist if time constraints are binding. The existing equilibria are more costly but without additional information compared to the one-dimensional case. Considering this, the efficiency of the current two-dimensional academic job market signalling can be improved by switching to a one-dimensional one. --- Using a new panel dataset comprising publication and appointment data for 889 German academic economists over a quarter of a century, the fourth paper (with Klaus Beckmann) confirms the familiar hypothesis that publications are important for professorial appointments, but find only a small negative effect of appointments on subsequent research productivity. In fact, a simple theoretical model leads us to hypothesize that no such effect exists for top researchers which is confirmed by our estimation results. We also provide some evidence of the effects of the fundamental reform of economics in Germany and of affirmative action procedures.

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