Czech Longitudinal Study in Education (CLoSE) is a unique 7-year research project (2012-2018) jointly pursued by the Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Národohospodářský ústav AV ČR), National Training Fund (Národní vzdělávací fond), and the Faculty of Education at Charles University in Prague. The project is financed by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic as a “Center of Excellence”.
CLoSE undertakes a comprehensive research program in order to gain a better understanding of the key issues related to schooling, skill acquisition, and achievement. It expands on the knowledge about the formation of skills and their relationship to labor market outcomes, as well as substantially expand the existing evidence on skill creation and its impact in the Czech Republic (CR).
Thanks to its multidisciplinary nature and the use of cutting edge research methods in the social sciences, CLoSE employs multiple research techniques and spans numerous topics. Its highlights include new datasets - extensive longitudinal data sets and several smaller experimental data sets.
Economists and other social scientists have documented a substantial increase in the value of formal education and other measurable skills in the labor market in recent decades, most likely due to valuing the skills of adapting to rapidly changing technologies and industrial structures. This increase has prompted governments, nongovernment organizations, businesses, and other entities to develop programs aimed at fostering and supporting skill acquisition among both children and adults. These include efforts by international organizations such as the OECD’s “Skills for Competitiveness” project within the LEED Programme, the World Bank/DfID’s “Knowledge and Skills for the Modern Economy” project, and the International Labour Organization’s 2008 Agenda “Skills for Improved Productivity, Employment Growth and Development”. Evidence shows that the return to schooling has also increased in the Czech Republic, and many human capital development policies have been suggested while some have been implemented. Yet the performance of Czech children on international examinations paints an alarming picture of declining skill levels relative to children in other countries.
Longitudinal data collection
The collection of longitudinal data is crucial for the successful identification of fundamental aspects of skill formation and labor market implications in the Czech Republic. Data from longitudinal studies is extensively used by researchers all over the world, yet there has so far been no such data set in the Czech Republic. CLoSE remedies this situation by building three longitudinal panels following cohorts over time: pre-school-age children (cohort 1, followed 4 years), primary school children followed from lower- to upper-secondary level (cohort 2, followed 8 years), and adults aged over sixteen years (cohort 3, followed 4 years).
Close will use the richness in the longitudinal data to examine the influence of skills, family leaves, and variol personal and household characteristics on earnings, employment status, occupational mobility and other labor market outcomes of adults.
1) Skill and preference formation in children and adolescents
This research will focus on the formation of skills and personality traits (attitudes) in children and adolescents as well as their co-evolution and determinants. We will focus on cognitive skills pertaining to general intelligence, rationality, math abilities, and learning-to-learn on the one hand, and personality traits such as self-concept, patience and other-regarding, and risk preferences on the other hand. The ultimate goal is to identify how and when the development of these personal characteristics can be supported by suitable educational policies. Topics include:
The evolution of individual rationality bounds of secondary school pupils
Evolution of preferences, skills and cooperation
The Determinants of the Rise and Evolution of the Gender Gaps in Math Test Scores
The evolution of “Learning to Learn"
Estimation of the Big-Fish-Little-Pond-Effect in Czech multi-year gymnasia
2) Educational sorting and the determinants of school choice
The CR has a long tradition of early sorting in education, which starts at a very young age and takes on many diverse forms. An important transition occurs at the age of eleven and thirteen when around 12% of the fifth and seventh grade students leave to multi-year gymnasia, respectively. The second important transition occurs at the end of the ninth grade when most of the pupils choose their upper-secondary school (sorting into gymnasia, technical schools, and vocational schools with a high proportion of the latter two tracks). Skills acquired in different types of schools, to a large extent, determine the future path of one’s professional career. We will examine several key questions in this area. Topics include:
The effect of educational sorting on student academic achievement
The role of information and career guidance
The role of private tutoring in the transition from primary school to a multi-year gymnasium
The role of the student-school matching mechanism
3) Teacher quality and the value added of schools
Skills are produced using the inputs of student time/effort and teacher and/or school instruction. Thus, one of the central issues in education policy is the measurement of teacher quality and the value added of individual schools and teachers to the formation of the students’ human capital. This topic is concerned with the measurement and modeling of such value added and with understanding the incentives driving teacher performance. Topics include:
Modeling the value added of lower and upper secondary schools
Understanding teacher performance incentives
4) Effects of skills on earnings and other labor market outcomes of adults
We will use the richness in the longitudinal data to examine the influence of skills, family leaves, and variol personal and household characteristics on earnings, employment status, occupational mobility and other labor market outcomes of adults. Topics include:
The role of generic skills in labor market outcomes
The role of family leaves in career development