Do students make greater achievement gains in some higher education institutions’ programs than others? Insights from Brazil
How much university students learn in their studies is highly debated and important to
understanding the value of higher education. Yet, information on learning gains at this level
are scarce. Our paper contributes to the debate by using unique data for Brazil to estimate
absolute test score gains across various fields of study in higher education and to assess
whether students who attend certain categories of programs (public/private, research/non-
research, highly selective/less selective) make greater relative gains than in others. Our results
suggest that students in STEM fields tend to have higher absolute achievement gains compared
to students in humanities and pedagogical programs, and that in a few fields, such as civil
engineering and history, the relative gains for students in highly selective programs in that field
of study are significantly higher than if they had attended somewhat less selective programs.
However, students attending lowest quintile selective programs in a field of study have
consistently lower gains across a range of study fields than similar students attending programs
just one quintile higher. The results have important implications for the equity effects of higher
This article examines the history of causal research traditions in the social sciences. We identify two major bases for the methods and logic of causal analysis in the social sciences – experimental designs and statistical methods – and discuss the developments in these two correlated research traditions, especially the implications of these developments for the social sciences. While the focus of our discussion is on the developments in western societies, we also briefly review prominent features of causal analysis in the social sciences in non-western societies.
A resonance publication, containing criticism of the quality of Russian polls, is reviewed; doubtfulness of the critical argumentation is revealed.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered gold standard in generating judicious evidence to support treatment decisions. Ideal-typical trials are called explanatory trials to distinguish it from trials completed under real-world conditions. The four most prevalent types of bias (selection-, performance-, attrition-, and detection-bias) can be avoided and internal validity of a study can be increased if all requested quality criteria will be met. The external validity can be neither investigated not can it be confirmed by randomized trials. But the confirmation of external validity is as important as the confirmation of internal validity because knowledge that has been generated in RCTs will be valuable only if it can be successfully applied to patients under real-world conditions. For confirmation of external validity the mentioned four types of bias have to be avoided. In addition, it has to be confirmed that the individuals from whom the evidence was derived are comparable to the individuals to whom the evidence should be applied. Violation of this simple appearing requirement is called 'sampling bias'. A two-step procedure seems to be useful to confirm internal as well as external evidence. As first step the efficacy of a therapeutic principle may be confirmed under ideal study conditions by using an explanatory trial without demanding the confirmation of external validity. In a second step the benefit for the investigated group of patients is examined under real-world conditions (pragmatic trial). The design and established methods for evaluation of these studies are discussed. The two-step approach offers three advantages: it reduces the risk to over-interpret the results of RCTs as explanatory trials can only demonstrate efficacy under ideal conditions. The benefit which is requested by our authorities can be demonstrated only by pragmatic trials which consider the external validity. Progress may possibly achieved only if controlled pragmatic trials will be used which can compare the influence of the intended (specific treatment effect) intervention with not-intended (confounder) interventions. Examples for these methods are the propensity score matching or structural equation models.
Postdoctoral programmes have recently become an important step leading from doctoral education to permanent academic careers in the social sciences. This paper investigates the effects of a large and structured postdoctoral programme in the social sciences on a number of academic and non-academic outcomes of fellows. Propensity score matching is employed to match fellows with applicants with similar characteristics who did not receive the fellowship; then the outcomes in the treatment and control groups are compared. The programme has a statistically significant positive effect on the general life satisfaction of former fellows and their publication activity. It is argued that an active and collegial research environment, with training in academic skills during postdoctoral employment, may improve the academic outcomes of postdoctoral fellows.
This paper is the first to analyze the costs of job loss in Russia, using unique new data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey over the years 2003–2008, including a special supplement on displacement that was initiated by us. We employ fixed effects regression models and propensity score matching techniques in order to establish the causal effect of displacement for displaced individuals. The paper is innovative insofar as we investigate fringe and in-kind benefits and the propensity to have an informal employment relationship as well as a permanent contract as relevant labor market outcomes upon displacement. We also analyze monthly earnings, hourly wages, employment and hours worked, which are traditionally investigated in the literature. Compared to the control group of non-displaced workers (i.e. stayers and quitters), displaced individuals face a significant income loss following displacement, which is mainly due to the reduction in employment and hours worked. This effect is robust to the definition of displacement. The losses seem to be more pronounced and are especially large for older workers with labor market experience and human capital acquired in Soviet times and for workers with primary and secondary education. Workers displaced from state firms experience particularly large relative losses in the short run, while such losses for workers laid off from private firms are more persistent. Turning to the additional non-conventional labor market outcomes, there is a loss in terms of the number of fringe and in-kind benefits for reemployed individuals but not in terms of their value. There is also some evidence of an increased probability of working in informal jobs if displaced. These results point towards the importance of both firm-specific human capital and of obsolete skills obtained under the centrally planned economy as well as to a wider occurrence of job insecurity among displaced workers.
This article is talking about state management and cultural policy, their nature and content in term of the new tendency - development of postindustrial society. It mentioned here, that at the moment cultural policy is the base of regional political activity and that regions can get strong competitive advantage if they are able to implement cultural policy successfully. All these trends can produce elements of new economic development.