Thursday, December 27, 2012


Wir brauchen mehr Feldexperimente.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Early tracking--not good.

Austria's conservative party has a new spokesperson for education, Christine Marek. In one of her first interviews, she reiterates the Conservative's view that early tracking (the separation of 10 year olds into an "academic" and "non-academic" school track) is good and that comprehensive education until a later age ("late tracking") is bad.

Here's some evidence: Hanushek and Woessmann compare countries and identify tracking effects by comparing differences in outcomes:
The results suggest that early tracking increases educational inequality. While less clear, there is also a tendency for early tracking to reduce mean performance.

This is, by far, not one single study that shows that early tracking reinforces the impact of family background. Just one further example, Giorgio Brunello and Daniele Checchi :
early tracking reinforces the family background effects on the years of completed education, on the probability of dropping out and of enrolling or graduating in college. Therefore, in countries with less pronounced tracking, the difference in the dropout rate and college enrolment or completion between the children of poorly and better educated parents is smaller than in countries with stronger tracking.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Joint custody, marriages, divorces and the rest

Together with Marco Francesconi and Martin Halla, we examine joint custody and consequences for marriage, divorce, fertility, and female employment. We use registry data for the entire Austrian population and also divorce records from courts to analyze post-divorce outcomes. The results suggest that the availability of joint custody for divorcing parents---introduced in 2001---lowered divorce rates, increased marriage and marital birth rates, and lead to higher money transfers after divorce.

Joint custody provided men with more incentives to invest in marriage specific capital, which lead to more, and more stable, marriages. It also seems to have resulted in more specialization as female employment rates declined after the introduction of joint custody.