Research Articles

Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals (in Economics)

1. Specialists or All-rounders: How best to select university students?  Accepted for publication in the Journal of Human Capital (Forthcoming Summer 2024)

DOI: 10.1086/728086 ; Published in Open Access 

Media Briefing at RES [here]

2. Student Selection and Performance in Higher Education: Admission Exams vs. High School Scores, Education Economics, 2020, 28:5, 437-454.

DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2020.1782846 

(with Ana Balcão Reis, Carmo Seabra, Luis Catela Nunes, and Miguel Alves)


Publications in Peer-Reviewed Journals (in Education)

3. Competition and diversification in higher education: Analysing impacts on access and equity in the case of Portugal, European Journal of Education, 2022, 00, 1–20

DOI: 10.1111/ejed.12501

(with Pedro N. Teixeira, Ricardo Biscaia, and Carla Sá)

Working Papers (submitted)

4.  Clustered local average treatment effects: fields of study and academic student progress  [Submitted]

(join with Didier Nibbering and Matthijs Oosterveen)

Abstract: Multiple unordered treatments with a binary instrument for each treatment are common in policy evaluation. This multiple treatment setting allows for different types of changes in treatment status that are non-compliant with the activated instrument. Therefore, instrumental variable (IV) methods have to rely on strong assumptions on the subjects' behavior to identify local average treatment effects (LATEs). This paper introduces a new IV strategy that identifies an interpretable weighted average of LATEs under relaxed assumptions, in the presence of clusters with similar treatments. The clustered LATEs allow for shifts across treatment clusters that are consistent with preference updating, but render IV estimation of individual LATEs biased. The clustered LATEs are estimated by standard IV methods, and we provide an algorithm that estimates the treatment clusters. We empirically analyze the effect of fields of study on academic student progress, and find violations of the LATE assumptions in line with preference updating, clusters with similar fields, treatment effect heterogeneity across students, and significant differences in student progress due to fields of study. 

Working paper available at IZA Discussion Papers No. 15159 [here] and SSRN [here

5. High school and exam scores: Does their predictive validity for academic performance vary with programme selectivity? [Submitted]

(join with Carla Sá, Ricardo Biscaia and Pedro N. Teixeira)

Abstract: Students are admitted into higher education based on their past performance. This paper compares two measures of past cognitive skills: teacher and national exam scores. By using a nationwide dataset, we look at how the predictive power of teacher assessment and exam scores for selecting successful students may vary with the degree of selectivity of higher education programmes. We find that teacher scores predict students' performance in higher education more accurately, and its predictive power remains the same independently of the selectivity programme indicator considered. We found that national exam scores are noisier and only gain relevance for highly selective programmes. Furthermore, we explore national exams' volatility and institutional selectivity as potential mechanisms to justify the results. Our results provide solid policy hints on the role that high school scores and admission exams should have for access and performance in higher education.

Working paper available at IZA Discussion Papers No. 15350  [here]

(This paper won the María Jesus San Segundo Award in the AEDE 2022 in the category of the best paper award for young researchers)

6.  Public and Private School Grade Inflations Patterns in Secondary Education [Submitted]

(join with Stephen L. DesJardins, Ricardo Biscaia, Carla Sá, and Pedro N. Teixeira)

Abstract:  Grade inflation in high schools is potentially problematic for students, education institutions, and society. We examine the extent of potential grading inflation in courses taken during high school and how such differences vary across student and school characteristics. Utilizing longitudinal, administrative data for the population of high school students in an entire country (Portugal) over ten years, we develop a measure of grade inflation using the position of the student’s high school grade relative to their score on the national standardized admission exam. We analyze differences in this measure across four types of high schools: TEIP schools (public schools located in disadvantaged areas that include children at-risk of social exclusion), public schools (state-funded schools), private schools, and private association schools (owned by private entities but publicly funded). We find that private association schools exhibit a lower probability of grade inflation when compared to public schools. Additionally, TEIP schools tend to have a higher probability of inflation for students with high grades. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Working paper available at IZA Discussion Papers No. 16016 [here]

7.  Keeping it in the Family: Student to Degree Match  [Submitted]

(with Richard Murphy)

Abstract:  This paper examines systematic inequalities in the match between students and the university degree they apply to, and enroll in. Using linked administrative data on the population of Portuguese applicants we create a transparent and continuous measure of student-to-degree match employing minimal assumptions. We find that students who are first in the family to attend post-secondary education consistently match to lower quality degrees across the entire achievement distribution. In contrast, only the highest achieving female students relatively undermatch. These gaps are larger at the application stage. We explore the role of student preferences and the consequences for intergenerational mobility.

Working paper available at IZA Discussion Papers No. 16931 [here]

Books

8.  Análise em Rn, Escolar Editora, 2017 (ISBN: 9789725925195, Year of Publication: 2017, Pages: 382)

(with Patrícia Xufre and Diogo Mendes) [Undergraduate-level mathematics textbook (Portuguese)]

Selected Work in Progress

9. When Girls Choose STEM

(with Ana Rute Cardoso and Louis-Philippe Morin)

10. Degrees of Inequality: Analysing the transition from first to second cycle degrees

(with Pedro Teixeira, Carla Sá, Hugo Figueiredo and Ricardo Biscaia)

11.  The effects of skill mismatch and educational mismatch on earnings of Portuguese higher education graduates 

(with Adriana Inácio and Ricardo Biscaia)

Policy Reports 

12. Doutoramentos em Portugal (Doctoral Education in Portugal) [here]

(with Cláudia Sárrico)

This work was suggested to the authors by Alberto Amaral, President of the Independent Commission for the evaluation of the application of the Legal Regime of Higher Education Institutions (Order No. 764/2023, dated January 16, 2023, Official Gazette No. 11/2023, Series II of January 16, 2023, pages 93 – 94). However, the responsibility for the work and its conclusions belongs solely to the authors.

13. Mestrados em Portugal (Master education in Portugal)   [here]

(with Cláudia Sárrico)

This work was suggested to the authors by Alberto Amaral, President of the Independent Commission for the evaluation of the application of the Legal Regime of Higher Education Institutions (Order No. 764/2023, dated January 16, 2023, Official Gazette No. 11/2023, Series II of January 16, 2023, pages 93 – 94). However, the responsibility for the work and its conclusions belongs solely to the authors.

13. Eurograduate 2022 National Report  [here]

(with Nuno Rodrigues, Filomena Oliveira, Ricardo Biscaia, Adriana Inácio, and Vitor Rudakov)