Student performance in public economics and consequently microeconomics as pre-requisite can improve with the correct pedagogic intervention. This paper proposes an empirical model that investigates the factors or predictors that may best explain the success rate in the subject field. The model has been designed according to existing studies and adjusted to support the discussion behind the success rate of public economics students at third year level. The dependent variable is effectively the final mark reached, whilst using a dummy variable to indicate pass or failure. The coefficients or explanatory variables include the age of the student, the assignment marks, whether studying full-time or not, gender, home language, the final mark of the pre-requisite microeconomics first and second-year-level together with the number of repeats of the latter. The methodology supports an ordinary least squares regression analysis, but because of binary data, a binary logit model is also investigated. The results suggest that the final course mark of first year level and especially second year level have a significant impact on the final mark of third year Public Economics. This was to be expected in the sense that the Public Economics content is Microeconomic based. A higher mark for the assignments during the year also usually results in a higher final mark for the student. Studying in the home language tends to benefit the student, although a third-year student tends to be more senior and mature in their studies. Age seems to become a factor because a significant gap between second and third year studies tends to develop, and potentially has a negative impact on the final results. Part-time students tend to perform better, with the student possibly more resourceful in terms of facilities and time management. It was found that the more the student repeated Public Economics in previous years of study, the probability to pass Public Economics decreased. The more they repeated second-year Microeconomics, their probability of passing Public Economics also got lower. This coincides with the final marks variable as dependent variable. The results may, amongst others, promote a more efficient, effective and economic e-learning environment, and may further assist in guiding other tertiary institutions with the challenges arising within the open distance learning arena.
Public economics, microeconomics, student success, pedagogic intervention