Redshirting, compulsory schooling laws, and educational attainment
A wide literature uses date of birth as an instrument to study the causal effects of educational attainment. This paper shows how parents delaying their children?s initial enrollment in kindergarten, a practice known as redshirting, can make estimates obtained through this identification framework all but impossible to interpret. A latent index model is used to illustrate how the monotonicity assumption in this framework is violated if redshirting decisions are made in a setting of essential heterogeneity. Empirical evidence is presented from the ECLS-K data set that favors this scenario; ...
Community-based well maintenance in rural Haiti
The international community has pledged $11 billion to Haiti, a country where nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) provide nearly all public goods and services. This raises at least two questions: How can NGOs most effectively perform their own work, and how can NGOs integrate their programs into broader efforts organized by public institutions? This paper addresses these questions by evaluating the community-based model of Haiti Outreach (HO) that focuses on training communities to manage wells after they have been constructed. The effect of this management training is identified by ...
Although the U.S. poverty rate was the same in 2000 as it was in 1970, the geographic distribution of the poor has become more concentrated. A higher concentration of poor in poor neighborhoods is a concern because it may mean the poor are exposed to fewer opportunities that affect their outcomes in life, like employment and income. We show where and how poverty has become more concentrated in the United States, and who is most likely to be affected.
The Opioid Epidemic and the Labor Market
Drug overdoses now account for more deaths in the United States than traffic deaths or suicides, and most of the increase in overdose deaths since 2010 can be attributed to opioids--a class of drugs that includes both prescription pain relievers and illegal narcotics. We look at trends in drug use and overdose deaths to document how the opioid epidemic has evolved over time and to determine whether it could be large enough to impact the labor force.
A distinction between causal effects in structural and rubin causal models
Structural Causal Models define causal effects in terms of a single Data Generating Process (DGP), and the Rubin Causal Model defines causal effects in terms of a model that can represent counterfactuals from many DGPs. Under these different definitions, notationally similar causal effects make distinct claims about the results of interventions to the system under investigation: Structural equations imply conditional independencies in the data that potential outcomes do not. One implication is that the DAG of a Rubin Causal Model is different from the DAG of a Structural Causal Model. Another ...
Opioids and the Labor Market
This paper finds evidence that opioid availability decreases labor force participation while a large labor market shock does not influence the share of opioid abusers. We first identify the effect of availability on participation using the geographic variation in opioid prescription rates. We use a combination of the American Community Survey (ACS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) county-level prescription data to examine labor market patterns across both rural and metropolitan areas of the United States from 2007 to 2016. Individuals in areas with higher prescription ...
The growing difference in college attainment between women and men
Workers with more education typically earn more than those with less education, and the difference has been growing in recent decades. Not surprisingly, the percentage of the population going after and getting a college degree has been rising as well. Since the late 1970s, though, the increase in college attainment has stalled for men and gathered steam for women. Among college-age individuals, more women now graduate than men. Changes in labor market incentives appear to explain the increased investment in education made by women. But men?s investments in education have been much less ...
Differences of Opinions
This paper presents a generalization of the DeGroot learning rule in which social learning can lead to polarization, even for connected networks. I first develop a model of biased assimilation in which the utility an agent receives from past decisions depends on current beliefs when uncertainty is slow to resolve. I use this model to motivate key features of an agent?s optimization problem subject to scarce private information, which forces the agent to extrapolate using social information. Even when the agent extrapolates under ?scientific? assumptions and all individuals in the network ...
Can Wealth Explain Neighborhood Sorting by Race and Income?
Why do high-income blacks live in neighborhoods with characteristics similar to those of low-income whites? One plausible explanation is wealth, since homeownership requires some wealth, and black households hold less wealth than white households at all levels of income. We present evidence against this hypothesis by showing that wealth does not predict sorting into neighborhood quality once race and income are taken into account. An alternative explanation is that the scarcity of high-quality black neighborhoods increases the cost of living in a high-quality neighborhood for black households ...
Assessing the evidence on neighborhood effects from Moving to Opportunity
This paper investigates the assumptions under which various parameters can be identified by the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing mobility experiment. Joint models of potential outcomes and selection into treatment are used to clarify the current interpretation of empirical evidence, distinguishing program effects from neighborhood effects. It is shown that MTO only identifi es a restricted subset of the neighborhood effects of interest, with empirical evidence presented that MTO does not identify effects from moving to high quality neighborhoods. One implication is that programs designed ...