Recent Publications of Academy Fellows

Two new publications from Academy Fellows now available

Two new publications by Academy Fellows have been published in Economics Letters and the Journal of Management Education

Hanushek, E. A., Schwerdt, G., Wiederhold, S. & Woessmann, L. (2017). Coping with change: International differences in the returns to skills. Economics Letters, 153, 15–19

The hypothesis that a prime value of education is the ability to adapt to a changed economic environment has received little empirical investigation. The underlying idea is that a fundamental attribute of education and skill is providing the ability to adapt to emerging disequilibria and to prosper in changed environments. The relevant economic changes include not only technological change but also capital deepening and altered industrial structure. Data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey were used to test the hypothesis in 32 countries. The results indicate that (1) the labor market returns to cognitive skills vary significantly across countries, (2) returns to skills are larger in faster growing economies, (3) larger union density and greater public employment are associated with lower returns to skills but do not confound estimates of the skill-growth relationship, and (4) returns to skills do not appear to be systematically related to skill inequality.

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Shavelson, R. J. (2017) Statistical significance and program effect: Rejoinder to “Why assessment will never work in many business schools: A call for better utilization of pedagogical research.” Journal of Management Education, 1–5 DOI: 10.1177/1052562916688317

Bacon and Stewart (2016) recommend that instead of carrying out the expensive process of experimenting, many business schools would get a bigger bang for their buck if they used published pedagogical studies that use direct measures of learning with sufficient statistical power to improve instructional programs and student learning. Professor Shavelson takes issue with two points in their essay: first, that reliance on statistical significance is a necessary condition to learn and justify something about program impact on student learning and, second, that the major problem that programs face is measuring post change outcomes to determine if the implemented changes produced the desired effect. The authors’ arguments detract from the larger challenges of decided how to assess student outcomes, how to build effective programs to enhance student learning, how to design interventions and interpret and generalize findings, and most important, how to overcome the barriers inherent in higher education that work against sustained, substantive change.

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