Advanced Training

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From our Master's courses and PhD program to the latest Master's thesis and other information about advanced training.

Master's Courses

Master's Courses

Economics of Education (Master's course at Nova SBE)

Instructors: Ana Balcão Reis and Carmo Seabra

Course Mission: This course applies economic concepts and tools to analyze current issues of Education Policy. In particular, this course combines economic theory with econometrics and institutional literature to address education problems. Besides the theoretical analysis, particular attention is devoted to policy issues. The emphasis of the course is placed on primary and secondary education levels.

PhD Program

PhD Program

Nova School of Business & Economics offers a PhD program in Economics, which provides a solid theoretical and methodological basis. It prepares PhD candidates to develop independent research in several areas of expertise, one of which is Economics of Education. The program is held in a vibrant research environment and promotes the inclusion of candidates in ongoing research projects. This is underpinned by the belief that the quality of doctoral training and research are intimately connected.

Ongoing Thesis and Dissertations

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Completed Thesis and Dissertations

Bêa, M. 2018. Measuring School Segregation: Evidence from Lisbon (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: The paper estimates and analyses public primary school segregation in Lisbon between 2006 and 2016, along three dimensions: subsidized lunch, immigrant status, and parents' education. Also, using 2011 census data, measures of residential segregation by education, unemployed status, and immigrant inhabitant status were obtained for the capital. Throughout this paper, I use the index of dissimilarity, the most popular unevenness index in the literature to compute measures of school segregation that I compare with residential segregation. The area analyzed is the entire council of Lisbon, composed of 24 parishes containing a total of 24 public primary schools. The main findings include that segregation across schools has been decreasing over time for the dimensions of subsidized lunch and parents' education and that it has increased for immigrant status. Furthermore, for the year of 2011, school segregation is higher than residential segregation.

 

Agostinho, D. 2018. Sports and its impact on academic achievement (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/38344

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: The objective of this work project is to study the relationship between the regular practice of sports in higher education and students’ success. More and more, the practice of sports is seen as a vehicle to enhance the quality of life. However, it may be the case that the time spent practicing sports harms the academic life of a student, particularly on highly demanding degrees. In order to analyze this issue, a survey was done to Nova School of Business & Economics students and three regression models were estimated, to study what influences three variables: GPA, the number of semesters that a student takes to finish its undergraduate program and the GPA for students who already finished its undergraduate program.

 

Henriques, R. 2018. Vocational education – coursetaking choice and impact on dropout and college enrollment rates (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/32471

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: This work investigates which factors underlie the students’ decision on which secondary track program to enroll in and its impact on dropout and college enrollment rates. According to the results, whereas vocational education appears to be successful in engaging students “at risk”, it appears to prejudice the academic success of the high-achievers. Apart from past school performance, previous retentions, college expectations, and parents’ education seem to be good predictors of both educational decisions and outcomes.

Presented: XXVII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association and Forum Estatístico – DGEEC

 

Madeira, M. 2018. Does the age of entry in primary school affect student’s achievement?  (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/32473

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: The school starting age is one of the factors that influence students’ educational attainment. Using a large dataset containing information of students from public schools in Portugal, it was possible to establish a positive relation between the entry age and educational outcomes, such as retentions and exam grades. However, deferring a child’s entry by one year does not seem to provide large benefits for students. This paper complements the analysis by understanding the main characteristics that lead to a child’s deferment and reinforces the idea that educational policy is a complex issue for Governments to deal with.

Presented: XXVII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association and Forum Estatístico – DGEEC
 

Oliveira, J. 2018. Effectiveness of private schools versus public schools – a comparative analysis in Portugal (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/32480

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: This study compares the effects of private versus public school administration on student performance in Portugal, which benefits from the existence of publicly funded private schools (CA schools). Our findings suggest a positive, but modest, increase in the probability of completing Lower Secondary School with zero retentions, for those students attending a publicly funded private class from 7th grade to 9th grade when compared to those attending a strictly public class. Additionally, the results suggest that attending a publicly funded private class also increases national exam scores by 1 point in Portuguese subject and 3 points in Mathematics, when compared to strictly public class (0-100 scale). With regard to private classes, in both models, the results move in the same direction as publicly funded private classes, although with higher magnitudes, when compared to public classes.
 

Pedroso, I. 2018. The impact of teachers qualification on students’ achievement – evidence from Portugal  (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/32549

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presented: XXVII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association

Summary: This work project uses an administrative dataset from Portugal to study the relationship between teacher characteristics and student achievement in Mathematics. In the first step, student achievement is measured by scores in the 6th-grade national exams to estimate teacher value-added, the measure of teacher quality. Secondly, after having an estimate of the teacher quality, it was determined what type of characteristics can explain differences in teacher efficiency. It was found that teachers differ in terms of quality and that it matters for student achievement. However, these differences in quality are mostly explained by unmeasured characteristics. Taken together, observable credentials such as teacher’s experience, GPA, and female gender all have positive effects on teacher quality. When considering the type of degree-granting institution, the effects on teacher effectiveness are different depending on the field of study.

Ferreira, R. 2017. The determinants of teacher effectiveness in Portuguese schools (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal. 

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/22207

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presented: XXVII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association

Summary: This work project analyses the impact of teachers on student exam scores and the determinants of teacher effectiveness in Portuguese schools. The main findings are that teachers are an important component of student achievement and that unobservable characteristics explain most differences in teacher quality. Having a master’s degree has no impact on teacher quality. Unlike their female counterparts, male teachers exhibit losses in their teaching effectiveness over the years. It was also found positive and significant peer effects between teachers.

 

Ramos, A. 2017. The impact of choosing a vocational track on academic performance and college enrollment in Portugal (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/22250

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: This work assesses how the students’ high school track choice affects grade progression and drop-out rate throughout high school as well as college enrollment. It uses students’ characteristics, social background, past educational results, and the students’ college entrance expectation in the 10th grade as control and matching variables. Follows a cohort of students in the 10th grade in school year 2010/2011 up until 2014/2015. The main findings are that controlling for college enrollment expectation, choosing a vocational track increases the probability of transition and high school completion, but also the dropout rate.
 

Sousa, D. 2017. Are there different cultures of retention across Portuguese Regions? (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/22249

Advisor: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: One of the possible explanations for the high levels of grade retention in Portugal is a prevailing “culture retention” – the set of beliefs embedded in society regarding the benefits and costs of grade retention for pupils – that favors grade retention practice. This paper focuses on checking whether the culture of retention differs across Portuguese regions. This phenomenon can be identified if persistent differences in grade retention rates at the regional level are detected after controlling for grade retention rate determinants. The sample includes all the 4th-grade students enrolled in Portuguese public primary schools between 2007 and 2012. Results suggest that 4 out of 28 NUTS III2 regions have a regional-specific culture of retention.

Cerdeira, J. M. L. 2015. Predictors of student success: a study of Portuguese Higher Education graduates (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/15078

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Publication: Cerdeira, J. M., Nunes, L. C., Reis, A. B., and Seabra, C. 2018. “Predictors of student success in Higher Education: Secondary school internal scores versus national exams”. Higher Education Quarterly.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/hequ.12158

Presented: XXIV Meeting of the Economics of Education Association and Fourth Lisbon Research Workshop: Economics, Statistics and Econometrics of Education

Summary:  This research analyses the determinants of academic achievement of Bachelor and Integrated Masters students that graduated in 2011/12 in Portugal. It uses individual student data on student’s characteristics, social background, and past educational success to predict deviation from average scores and whether or not they graduated in due time. The main findings are that parent’s education effects are totally factored in basic and secondary education (although affecting Higher Education performance indirectly), and that internal high school scores are better predictors of success at the university level than National Exams. Moreover, the findings show that the level of significance and relevance of factors like working status, social support, and gender, vary with the type of Higher Education (University versus Polytechnic and more demanding versus less demanding degrees).

 

Azevedo, A. R. 2015. Stratification and peer effects: An analysis of Lisbon public schools (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/15075

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Summary: Educational stratification has been a difficult subject to deal with having yet no study shown a quantitative measure of it. Using the idea of distribution comparison, a measure based on parents’ education is built for the primary schools in Lisbon. Upon the confirmation that Lisbon is stratified, it was used the measure of peer effects based on stratification and determined its impact on test scores, concluding that the existence of stratification improves scores of students in schools with more educated parents and decreases scores of students in schools with less-educated parents. Moreover, using fixed-effects it was derived the conclusion that the measure of peers’ characteristics helps explain most of the differences among schools.
 

Firmino, J. 2015. The impact of class composition on students’ success in Portuguese public schools: an empirical study (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3146904

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presented: XXVII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association

Summary: It was analyzed the effects of several class compositional dimensions on individual student achievement. It uses a rich dataset that allows tackling major endogeneity concerns stemming from non-random allocation of students between and within schools. It was found that increasing the percentage of high achievers in a 6th-grade class has a negative effect on student performance, while in a 9th-grade class, the effect is, in general, non-significant. Students with no past retention do better with an increasing proportion of this same type of classmate. Larger shares of low-income classmates hurt performance in general. Class composition rearrangements are estimated to provide a larger increment to performance than comparable reductions of class size.
 

Freitas, P. 2015. The reasons behind the progression in PISA scores: An education production function approach using semi-parametric techniques (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/17452

Advisor: Ana Balcão Reis

Publication: Freitas, P., Nunes, L. C., Balcão Reis, A., Seabra, C., and Ferro, A. 2016. “Correcting for sample problems in PISA and the improvement in Portuguese students’ performance”. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 23(4), 456-472.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0969594X.2015.1105784

Presented: XXIII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association

Summary: In December 2013, and for the fifth time since 2000, OECD published the results of the latest PISA survey, providing a view on how the students’ performance has progressed during the last 12 years. Using PISA data, it was followed an education production function, which states that variables related to students, their family, and the school explain the output, measured as the individual student achievement. Exploring the concept of efficiency, it was measured the ability that each student has to transform the given inputs into higher academic outcomes. Using this methodology, two vectors of analysis were established. The first one intends to disentangle the reasons behind the evolution in PISA scores across the years, concluding that the variation in inputs is on the core of the reasons to explain the evolution in PISA results. The second aims to evaluate what are the sources of student’s efficiency. On this topic, it was explored the role of the school inputs, concluding that students with a more favorable socioeconomic background are more indifferent to variables such as class size and school size.

 

Silva, P. 2015. Success in higher education – A discussion of selection criteria (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/15740

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presented: Fourth Lisbon Research Workshop: Economics, Statistics and Econometrics of Education

Summary: This paper analyses the determinants of the success of undergraduate Nova SBE students from 2008 to 2011. It accounts for the question of selection that is likely to occur when we just observe the success of those students who were admitted and enrolled at school. The main result of this empirical analysis is that the high school score appears to be a stronger predictor of the students´ success than the national Math’s exam score. In addition, the evidence also suggests that male students tend to have a better performance in Economics than female students, and displaced management students have more difficulties in terms of their scores. Finally, it does not seem to exist a strong visible difference on the final GPA between students from public and private schools.

 

Tavares, M. 2015. Are basic schools more effective than secondary schools? (Master Thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/15114

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presentated: Fourth Lisbon Research Workshop on Economics, Statistics and Econometrics of Education and XXIV Meeting of the Economics of Education Association and XXIV Meeting of the Economics of Education Association, Madrid, Spain, 24-26 June 2015

Summary: This essay focuses on the effectiveness of Portuguese public schools’ provision of 7th, 8th and 9th grades, using data from the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science for 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12. At least two school types offer these grades: Basic and Secondary. Based on previous findings, a production function is estimated for 9th grade students in the regular academic track, including a variable that indicates the specific school type attended by each student. After concluding that Basic Schools add more value, some explanations are presented as well as recommendations and possible further research.

Alves, D. M. 2014. Determinants of success of Nova SBE’s undergraduate students (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/14653

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presented:  XXIV Meeting of the Economics of Education Association, Madrid, Spain, June 24-26, 2015.

Summary: This Work Project analyses the determinants of academic success of undergraduate students enrolled in 2009/10 at Nova School of Business & Economics, using information about students’ characteristics and skills to predict their future educational success, measured by four different outcomes. The main finding is that internal high school grade is a better predictor of achievement than the score of national mathematics exam. Additionally, gender, age, economic background, and distance between home and Nova SBE seem to be correlated with performance. On the other hand, the estimates suggest that attending a private high school or following the economics track at high school is irrelevant for predicting educational outcomes, after controlling for the internal high school grade and the mathematics national exam score.

 

Oliveira, S.F.S. 2014. Returns to vocational education in Portugal (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/11534

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Luís Catela Nunes, Carmo Seabra.

Presented: XXVII Meeting of the Economics of Education Association

Summary: In a context of increasing investment in vocational education, it is highly relevant to investigate the impact of this type of education on labor market outcomes. Following a panel of individuals with upper secondary attainment born between January 1974 and December 1990, this study assesses the wage returns to vocational education and general education, between 1993 and 2009. Estimates from a random-effects model revealed a wage advantage for workers with vocational education vis-à-vis workers with general education, in the beginning of the career. However, the earnings of the former group grow at a slower rate and are surpassed by the earnings of the latter group at around eight years of experience.

Rosado, M.M.L.M. 2012. Comparative analysis: Public and private school management systems (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/9567

Advisors: Carmo Seabra

Summary: The Portuguese educational system has counted, for many years, with the co-existence of both public and private schools. In fact, the country’s growth and development led, in the past, to an increased demand for free of charge public education that could only be matched through the creation of “publicly-subsidized and privately owned and managed schools”. Still, the demographic evolution of Portugal recently generated a decrease on demand for public educational services. This situation has raised doubts about the true contribution of this type of school to the public education system. This paper aims at answering this question by isolating the impact of different property and management schemes on the performance of students, resorting to cross-section data on 9th-grade students from 2010. The results corroborate the well-known result on the relevance of the family socio-economic background for students’ performance but do also sustain the existence of a significant positive impact of private ownership and management schemes on the overall performance of students. These results suggest that there might be gains associated with the expansion of such schemes within the public education system.

Azevedo, R. R. 2011. Critical analysis: Portuguese 9th grade exam results and socioeconomic factors (Master’s thesis). Nova School of Business & Economics, Lisbon, Portugal.

http://hdl.handle.net/10362/10051

Advisors: Ana Balcão Reis, Carmo Seabra

Summary: The typical indicator used to assess school performance is the average test score results. Literature has pointed out the serious weaknesses of this measure as a school performance indicator. The strongest criticism resides in the bias that may exist in socially disadvantaged schools. In fact, this measure does not take into account socioeconomic and other variables which are relevant in determining student‟s school performance and out of the scope of school control. Using school-level cross-section data from Portugal for 9th-grade exams between 2005 and 2010, it was explicitly calculated the impact of these variables on school achievement as regards exams. It was found an important causal effect between socioeconomic variables and school achievement. This implies that average test scores are an intrinsically flawed instrument. For this reason, this study proposes an adjusted measure of school performance. This measure consists of a ratio between current average school scores and expected average school scores, taking into account the reference variables by municipality.