Economic Research Paper Ideas On Education

Education is one of the broadest subject matters a student will be lucky enough to write an essay on due to the wide range of topics you can choose from as well as the large body of work or research materials available for your reference purposes. And to simplify your task even more, this article will serve as a user guide on choosing a topic as well as provide 20 sample topics you can choose from and to round it all up, one of the provided topics will also be expatiated and drafted in such a way that each section of the expanded topic will provide you with a guide on how to go about drafting yours.

First and foremost, before delving into the article, it is important to introduce what the topic is about and why it is important we write about issues on the subject matter. So, education—either formal or informal — is the acquisition of knowledge, beliefs, values and habits. Obviously, there are numerous ways to acquire these knowledge values etc. but were problems may arise is the process of acquiring these knowledge. And this is how most of the topics on this list come about, they either include, sort the issues or discussing them.

  1. Making a Case for Educational Disparities and Racial Inequalities in the United States
  2. Comparing and Contrasting the Education Policies between Public Schools in America’s Wealthy and Poorer Districts
  3. The State of U.S Education: Still Separate and Unequal
  4. Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States
  5. How Does your Social Class Affect the Quality of your Education
  6. The Connection between Education and Wealth
  7. Economic Inequality: The Growing Wealth Gap between Rich and Poor Students
  8. Girl’s Education and Gender Inequality
  9. Education and Gender Equality: The United States Perspective
  10. Discussing Employment and Unemployment Rate using Educational Attainment as a Yardstick
  11. Education as the Perfect Instrument for Social Change
  12. The Impact of Culture on Education
  13. Promoting and Protecting the Right to Education of Students from Minority Groups
  14. The Interplay between Politics and Education in the United States
  15. The Impact of Bad Policies on Education
  16. The Importance of Quality Education in Our Lives and Societies
  17. Education and the Role it Plays in Personal Development
  18. An Effective Use of ICT for Educational Purposes
  19. The Role of Education in National Development
  20. A Study of the Effect of Discipline and Reward in Education

Here we are at the end of 20 unique topics on the topic of education and its diverse functions to society. These topics were provided to help and the ease in which they could be worked upon and drafted out makes them viable options for your homework essay. Make sure to pay a visit to our 10 facts for an informative essay on education and guide on this general academic genre. So as earlier explained, below is an essay on one of our 20 topics providing you a blueprint which you can put to use when writing.

Sample Informative Essay: The Growing Education Gap between Rich and Poor Students

Education as the saying goes, is a tool for fostering equality by providing the disadvantaged with the needed leverage and knowledge to grow. But is this really so? And do the facts really back education’s ability to create social equality?

Here, I will attempt to answer these questions using a holistic approach that would present the facts and figures behind receiving an education before making educated inferences that would provide the needed answers.

It is a proven fact that education has played a huge role in the United States by creating a more level playing ground for people of diverse races. Statistics show that the test score deficit accrued between 1950 to 1970 – of African American students in the 9-17 year old demographic, had been drastically reduced by 50% in 2012. Thereby providing a base for these students to catch up and improve the living standards of African Americans. These positive growth among minorities which includes Native Americans is quickly erasing the education gap between white students and students of minority descent. But in the midst of these positives, a newer form of inequality is rearing its ugly head, in the form of an educational gap between students from wealthy homes and these from poorer homes.

Although this new educational gap still affects minorities to a large extent, this menace does not care about race but takes into account a family’s financial status. Therefore it affects both white, black, Hispanic and Asian students from low income backgrounds. According to Sean Reardon of the Centre for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford, racial disparities are still a stain in the US’s education sector but its biggest problem today is ‘class’.

And how does class create this new gap? Students from wealthy backgrounds are privy to more educational opportunities such as the expensive private preschool programs in the United States which already puts these kids ahead of their peers right from infancy. This means that in most cases, students from wealthier homes already learn and test at a higher level than even smarter kids from poorer homes on starting kindergarten.

The next hurdle for students from low income families who manage to somehow close the learning gap encounter comes in the form of education policies in public schools. For those who inevitably attend middle school located in poor districts, a new set of challenges come up. Statistics show that schools in poorer districts are more likely to be assigned first time teachers with little or no experience than those in wealthier districts. These teachers usually get their hand full quickly and do the bare minimum required to get students ready for tests.

Other hurdles include the lack of certain important subjects students need to learn before pursuing higher education degrees due to no available teachers to teach them. Another disturbing statistics put the number of High schools, located in poorer districts that do not offer Algebra II or chemistry as one in every four. Lastly, unfair punishment policies affected by teachers who are more likely to suspend students of minority descent end up leaving these students jaded and these combined forces have led to a dropout rate of approximately 13% among black students.

And the circle continues for only 5% of Americans age 24 to 35 whose parents didn’t finish high school go on to attain a college degree. Comparing the above figure to statistics from over 20 countries which show a figure of 20% of college graduates come from parents who didn’t finish high school proves that the fault lies in the US education system.

In conclusion, this gap truly exists and can only be closed if policies are made to equalize education achievement of every student between the ages of 0 to 14. This policy will in turn provide students from every background with enough ammunition to enroll for and attain a college degree.

Richard, G. (2015). Are Schools Still Struggling with Racism? Teachers more likely to label black students as troublemakers study finds.
Steven, H. (2014). 14 Disturbing Facts about Racial Inequality in American Public Schools
Lindsey, C. (2015). U.S. Education Still Separate and Unequal
Eduardo, P. (2015). Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider.
Benjamin, L. (2016). Graph: The Growing Education Gap Between Rich and Poor.
Rodney, R. (2015). Education and Inequality.
Richard, B & Inkwan, C. (2015). Income Inequality and Education.

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ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION, liberal, advanced

The goals of this study are (1) to understand economic theories, models, and logic; (2) to be able to apply these perspectives to issues in education; (3) to become familiar with current research in the economics of education. Topics include human capital theory, the problem of disentangling the return to education from the return to innate ability, the role of education in national economic growth, the association between education and individual earnings and reasons why that relationship has changed over time, the main approaches to K-12 school reform, and the problem of increasing access to higher education, the role of education in individual mobility and in national growth.Many issues will involve significant controversy. Each student is expected to develop interest in one of the issues related to education and to conduct some research summarizing the related existing literature and the student’s own ideas in the final paper.

Method and criteria for evaluation:

The evaluation is based on four problem sets, the student’s knowledge of the literature, understanding of the major theories and concepts, clarity of own ideas, ability to organize own ideas in a coherent paper, demonstrated critical thinking skills, effort in producing quality research and the quality of the final paper.


Course readings.





Is There an Educational Problem and If So, What Does it Look Like?

ECONOMIC SCENE; Why Is Income Inequality in America So Pronounced? Consider Education,NYTimes

Economic Scene; If higher education is so important to the economy, why is its financing being cut more than that of other large programs?

ECONOMIC SCENE; The Loose Reins on U.S. Teenagers Can Produce Trouble or Entrepreneurs

Economic Scene; The intense competition for top students is threatening financial aid based on need.

Rose and Gallup. "The 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes toward the Public Schools." Phi Delta Kappa International Inc., 2006


Human Capital Theory: Economic Perspective on Education

When Did Earnings Become so Dependent on Education?

Narrated slides: Education

Narrated slides: Head start

Borjas, George. Labor Economics. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2005, chapter 7, pp. 220-241. ISBN: 0072871776.

Discrimination and human capital: a challenge to economic theory & social justice.
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare; 6/1/2002; Caputo, Richard K.; -testing human capital theory

Grossman, Education and Nonmarket Outcomes, NBER 2005

Cutler and Lleras-Muney, Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence, NBER 2006

McCrary, The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth, NBER 2006


Return to an Individual's Education: Does it Reflect Knowledge? A Signal? A Genetic Endowment?

Early childhood education: How important?

Murnane, Richard J., John Willett, and Frank Levy. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination." Review of Economics and Statistics 77, no. 2 (May 1995): 251-266.

Duflo, Esther. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment." American Economic Review 91, no. 4 (September 2001): 795-813.

Tyler, John H., Richard J. Murnane, and John B. Willett. "Estimating the Labor Market Signaling Value of a GED." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 155, no. 2 (2000): 431-468.

Knudsen, Eric I., James J. Heckman, Judy L. Cameron, and Jack P. Shonkoff. "Economic, Neurobiological, and Behavioral Perspectives on Building America's Future Workforce." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103, no. 27 (2006): 10155-10162.

Feinstein, Leon. "Inequality in the Early Cognitive Development of British Children in the 1970 Cohort." Economica 70, no. 277 (2003): 73-97.

Currie, Early childhood educational programs, JEP 2001


Why has the Rate of Return to Education Increased?

What skills are now rewarded in the workplace?

Freeman, Richard B. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 9, no. 3 (Summer 1995): 15-32.

Levy and Murnane. How Computerized Work and Globalization Shape Human Skill Demands, 2005.

Freeman, Richard B. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 9, no. 3 (1995): 15-32.


School Reform - Where Should You Put Your Money? Did More Money Used to Mean Better Schools? Does it Now?

Do smaller classes raise achievement?

Card and Krueger, School resources and student outcomes, JEP 1996

Heckman, James. "Lessons from the Technology of Skill Formation." NBER Working Papers 11142. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., February 2005.

Anderson, Michael. "Uncovering Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of Abecedarian, Perry Preschool and Early Training Projects." Working paper. Cambridge, MA: MIT Department of Economics, November 2005, pp 1-7, 11-21.

Hanushek, Eric A. "Assessing the Effects of School Resources on Student Performance: An Update." Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 19, no. 2 (1997): 141-164.

Murnane, Richard J., and Frank Levy. "Evidence from Fifteen Schools in Austin Texas." Chapter 4 in Does Money Matter? Edited by Gary Burtless. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1996. ISBN: 0815712758.

Krueger, Alan B. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions." Quarterly Journal of Economics 114, no. 2 (May 1999): 497-532.

Economic Scene; In their hiring of teachers, do the nation's public schools get what they pay for?


School Vouchers and Parental Choice

Hoxby, Carolyn M. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?" American Economic Review 90, no. 5 (December 2000): 1209-1239.

Rothstein, Jesse. "...A Comment on Hoxby." NBER Working Papers 11215. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., pp. 1-5 and 14-18.

Greene, Jay P., Paul E. Peterson, and Jiangtao Du. "Effectiveness of School Choice: The Milwaukee Experiment." Education and Urban Society 31, no. 2 (1999): 190-213. (PDF)#

Cullen, Julie Berry, Brian A. Jacob, and Steven Levitt. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries." Econometrica 74, no. 5 (2006): 1191-1230.

Ladd, School Vouchers: a critical view, JEP 2002

Neal, How vouchers could change the market for education, JEP 2002


School accountability, standards and testing

Teacher Quality and Teacher Training

Jacob, Brian A. "Accountability, Incentives and Behavior: The Impact of High-stakes Testing in the Chicago Public Schools." Journal of Public Economics 89, no. 5-6 (2005): 761-796.

Akerlof and Kranton, Identity and schooling: Some lessons for economics of education, JEL 2002

Lazear, Speeding, Tax Fraud, and Teaching to the Test, NBER 2004

No Child Left Behind law of 2002, NYTimes

In Gaps at School, Weighing Family Life

Jacob, Brian. "The Impact of High-Stakes Testing on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Chicago." NBER Working Papers 8968.

Excellence in the classroom – browse articles in this journal

Loeb, Susanna, and Marianne E. Page. "Examining the Link Between Teacher Wages and Student Outcomes: The Importance of Alternative Labor Market Opportunities and Non-Pecuniary Variation." Review of Economics and Statistics 82, no. 3 (August 2000): 393-408.

Kane, Thomas J., Jonah E. Rockoff, and Douglas O. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us about Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 12155, April 2006.

Boyd et al. How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement, NBER 2005

Hanushek et al, The Market for Teacher Quality, NBER 2005


Minority Group Performance, Inequality

Clotfelter, Charles T., Helen F. Ladd, and Jacob L. Vigdor. "Who Teaches Whom? Race and the Distribution of Novice Teachers." Working Paper, Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University, 2003. (PDF)

Sandra Black and Amir Sufi,Who Goes to College? Differential Enrollment by Race and Family Background NBER w9310 Nov 2002

Levy, Frank, and Peter Temin. "Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America." National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 13106, May 2007.

Krueger, Alan B. "Inequality, Too Much of a Good Thing." Paper to the Princeton University Industrial Relations Section. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, April 16, 2002, pp. 38-39. (PDF)#


Teaching and Technology : Can technology complement what teachers do?

Peer Effects

Roschelle, Jeremy, et al. "Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer Based Technologies." Children and Computer Technology 10, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2000): 76-101.

Burstein, Jill, et al. "CriterionSM Online Essay Evaluation: An Application for Automated Evaluation of Student Essays." Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Acapulco, Mexico, August, 2003. (PDF)

Rouse, Cecilia Elena, and Alan B. Krueger. "Putting Computerized Instruction to the Test: A Randomized Evaluation of a 'Scientifically Based' Reading Program." Economics of Education Review 23, no. 4 (2004): 323-338.

Should Sixth Grade be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior, NBER 2006

Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment, NBER 2006


Issues and Policies in Higher Education

Winston, Gordon. "Subsidies, Hierarchy and Peers: The Awkward Economics of Higher Education." Journal of Economic Perspectives 13, no. 1 (Winter 1999): 13-36.

Kane, Thomas, and Cecilia Rouse. "The Community College: Educating Students at the Margin Between College and Work." Journal of Economic Perspectives 13, no. 1 (Winter 1999): 63-84.

Dynarsky, Susan. "Building the Stock of College-educated Labor." National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 11604, September 2005, pp. 1-10.

Bettinger, Eric P., and Bridget Terry Long. "Addressing the Needs of Under-prepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?" National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 11325, May 2005.Optional

Angrist, Joshua, Daniel Lang, and Philip Oreopoulos. "Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement." National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 12790, December 2006.


International Perspective

Krueger, Education, poverty and terrorism: Is there a causal connection? JEP 2003

Solon, Gary. "Cross Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility." Journal of Economic Perspectives 16, no. 3 (Summer 2002): 59-66.

Glewwe, Schools and Skills in Developing Countries:Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes, JEL 2002

Research paper: Literature Review

The paper should contain a critical review of the literature on a particular topic relevant to the course content drawing on at least 8-10 sources.It should demonstrate your ability to integrate literature in the field with your thoughtful analysis.

:“…a literature review is more than a string of paragraphs that summarizes individual pieces of literature, all held by a common theme [although it is, indeed, partly that]. It is a form of research, and the data base is the literature. The objective is not to develop new data, but to review existing data and combine it into a conceptual and analytic whole. While it is necessary to document the sources of information, the main concern is to review major events, methods, theories, philosophical positions, research findings, practices, programs, policies and the like, to analyze their importance, and to develop conclusions about their current and future impact. In other words, it is essential to convey the substance and meaning of what has been written”- fromH. Cooper, “Scientific Guidelines for Conducting Integrative Research Reviews,” Review of Educational Research, 52 (Summer 1982), 291-302

A policy paper should use supporting and opposing literature and evidence on the issue and should include own scholarly reflection on the issue.

Draft a one or two paragraph abstract of your topic and submit this abstract to the instructor for approval and helpful comments for sources prior to beginning work on your paper.

The research paper will be evaluated using the following criteria:

1) It should focus on the literature/issue of a topic relevant to the course

2) It should be a critical synthesis and integration of the literature on the topic, where critical review is given to either methodology, design questions, conceptual frameworks, proposed policies and the like.

3) It should be well-written, free of grammatical errors.

ESC Research Database contains the following electronic books:

The education gap: vouchers and urban schools / William G. Howell, Paul E. Peterson, with Patrick J. Wolf and David E. Campbell.

Minorities: Race and Ethnicity in AmericaMelissa Doak, Ed. 2006, Chapter on Education

What you don’t know about schools edited by Shirley R. Steinberg and Joe L. Kincheloe., 2006

Educational attainment in immigrant families: community context and family background / Gabriella C. Gonzalez. 2005

Links to Research Publications and Data Sources:

·         Centre for the Economics of Education - CEE- recent publications from England

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