Kristian Koerselman*

August 30, 2022

I am the resident education economist at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research. My research is empirical, and mostly centered around educational selection. I also hang around at the local econ department, and teach intermediate and advanced microeconomics courses there.
keywords: economics of education, curriculum tracking, intergenerational mobility, gender differences, student finance, school choice, college admissions
JEL: C33, I20, I21, I22, I23, I24, I28, J08, J16, J24, J31

* Senior researcher at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, and at the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics.

1. Introduction

Contact info (university managed) (protonmail)
+358 404167016
+46 721473530

"A picture."
Figure 1: A picture, sligthly off-center.

PO Box 35
FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä

visitors by appointment at
Ruusupuisto building, room A339
Alvar Aallon katu 9

2. Data and Methods

"Trying to record a lecture, early pandemic."
Figure 2: Trying to record a lecture, early pandemic.

3. Results

3.1 Teaching

KTTA2150 Microeconomics I
KTTS2120 Strategic Thinking, Competition and Pricing

3.2 Research

Do Finnish academics all come from the same few families?
Yes, Finnish academics are clustered by the family they grew up in, but perhaps not as strongly as you would expect.
We sometimes think we live in an exclusionist ivory tower, but when measured by sibling correlation, Finnish academics are no more sorted by family background than e.g. high school graduates. The majority of academic success is not attributable to family background at all, and a decent share of what association exists can be explained by performance differences in high school.
Our findings do not detract from the importance of studying the obstacles which first generation academics face. The second part of our paper suggests that individual experiences are highly varied, and the usual socioeconomic labels far too coarse for use in this context.
It runs in the family? Using sibling similarities to uncover the hidden influence of family background in doctoral education and academic careers

Large shares of top applicants are rejected from Finnish higher education each year. Why?!
Finnish higher education applications are fiercely competitive, with only about one quarter of university applicants admitted to any university program each year, and only about one third of polytechnic applicants admitted to any polytechnic. These statistics seem almost beyond belief in and of themselves already. Why are we trying to keep such large proportions of each cohort out of education? Younger cohorts will probably end up less educated than older ones.
But at least we are admitting the best third of applicants, right? This turns out not to be the case at all — actual admissions look rather arbitrary — and it seems plausible that both the lack of selection of higher education admissions and the long queues into Finnish higher education themselves are caused by the deficiencies of its application system.
Why Finnish polytechnics reject top applicants

Do girls do better in school because they enter puberty earlier?
Well.. maybe. We find that pubertal development correlates with cognitive development. At the same time, magnitudes are underwhelming compared to typical gender gaps in educational outcomes, and differences in pubertal development cannot really explain why girls work so much harder in school in the first place.
Cognitive consequences of the timing of puberty

How many Finnish university graduates end up poor and unemployed?
Contrary to popular Finnish belief, Finnish university graduates actually have lifetime incomes that are substantially higher than those of other educational groups, also after taxes and transfers. Their lifetime income distributions are furthermore characterized by a low probability of having very low income, and by the notable possibility of having very high income. Besides, have you ever seen the co-skews of annual incomes graphed?
The Risk and Return of Human Capital Investments

Can secondary school policies affect primary school test scores?
Students typically enroll in a single, comprehensive school type up until a certain age, after which they transition into vocational and academic tracks. This transition often constitutes a high-stakes moment for the student, and student test score performance will therefore be higher during the period leading up to this transition. These kinds of effects can both explain some cross-country differences in educational performance at specific ages, and more generally illustrate that earlier age test scores are endogenous with respect to later age policies.
Incentives from curriculum tracking

4. Conclusions

"You know it."
Figure 3: You know it.

But also, here's my Curriculum Vitae.


Q: "Körselman"?
A: Try "Kuu" as in "Kuusamo". In fact, pronouncing all of Koerselman as Kuusamo isn't a bad approximation at all.

Q: I read online that Dutchmen are very direct, but I am much more direct than you.
A: Students would cry.

Q: Are you being mean to me?
A: Not intentionally.

Q: Are you secretly disappointed in me?
A: That seems unlikely.

Q: I sent you an email, but you haven't answered.
A: Remind me.

Q: You were supposed to do the Thing, but you haven't.
A: Remind me.

Q: We have a zoom meeting right now, but you haven't turned up.
A: Call me.

Q: Are you busy?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I bother you?
A: Also yes.

Q: I have a stupid question.
A: Stupid questions never come from those who pause to wonder whether their question is stupid. Just ask.