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Author:Barrow, Lisa 

Working Paper
Causality, causality, causality: the view of education inputs and outputs from economics

Educators and policy makers are increasingly intent on using scientifically-based evidence when making decisions about education policy. Thus, education research today must necessarily be focused on identifying the causal relationships between education inputs and student outcomes. In this paper we discuss methodologies for estimating the causal effect of resources on education outcomes; we also review what we believe to be the best evidence from economics on a few important inputs: spending, class size, teacher quality, the length of the school year, and technology. We conclude that while ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-05-15

Working Paper
The earned income credit and durable goods purchase

Working Paper Series , Paper WP-99-24

Newsletter
The changing value of education

Why has the economic value of education stopped rising over the past ten years? The most likely explanation seems to be that the booming economy of the late 1990s helped to increase the average earnings of all workers, including those at the low end of the skills distribution.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue Apr

Journal Article
The economic value of education by race and ethnicity

Using data from the U.S. Census and the National Longitudinal Surveys, the authors find little evidence of differences in the economic value of education across racial and ethnic groups, even with attempts to control for ability and measurement error biases. As a result, they argue, policies that increase education among the low-skilled, who are disproportionately African American and Hispanic, have a good possibility of increasing their economic well-being and reducing inequality.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 30 , Issue Q II , Pages 14-27

Working Paper
The Impact of Chicago's Small High School Initiative

This project examines the effects of the introduction of new small high schools on student performance in the Chicago Public School (CPS) district. Specifically, we investigate whether students attending small high schools have better graduation/enrollment rates and achievement than similar students who attend regular CPS high schools. We show that students who choose to attend a small school are more disadvantaged on average, including having prior test scores that are about 0.2 standard deviations lower than their elementary school classmates. To address the selection problem, we use an ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-20

Working Paper
School vouchers and student achievement: recent evidence, remaining questions

In this article, we review the empirical evidence on the impact of education vouchers on student achievement, and briefly discuss the evidence from other forms of school choice. The best research to date finds relatively small achievement gains for students offered education vouchers, most of which are not statistically different from zero. Further, what little evidence exists regarding the potential for public schools to respond to increased competitive pressure generated by vouchers suggests that one should remain wary that large improvements would result from a more comprehensive voucher ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-08-08

Journal Article
School vouchers: recent findings and unanswered questions

The authors review the existing literature on the impact of school vouchers on student achievement. They conclude that expectations about the ability of vouchers to drastically improve student achievement, at least as measured by test scores, should be tempered by the results of the studies to date. Also, there is very little evidence about the potential for public schools to respond to increased competitive pressure generated by vouchers.
Economic Perspectives , Volume 32 , Issue Q III

Working Paper
Technology’s edge: the educational benefits of computer-aided instruction

Because a significant portion of U.S. students lacks critical mathematic skills, schools across the country are investing heavily in computerized curriculums as a way to enhance education output, even though there is surprisingly little evidence that they actually improve student achievement. In this paper we present results from a randomized study in three urban school districts of a well- defined use of computers in schools: a popular instructional computer program which is designed to teach pre-algebra and algebra. We assess the impact of the program using statewide tests that cover a ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-07-17

Journal Article
Is the official unemployment rate misleading? a look at labor market statistics over the business cycle

While maximum unemployment rates following the most recent economic recession are low by historical standards, the lack of increase in payroll employment leads many to conclude that official unemployment rates understate current labor market weakness. This article compares other labor market statistics during the current period with earlier recoveries. While the level of the current unemployment rate may not directly comparable with earlier periods, additional labor market evidence discussed here suggests that the current labor market may be stronger than in previous recovery periods of the ...
Economic Perspectives , Volume 28 , Issue Q II , Pages 21-35

Working Paper
The Role of Selective High Schools in Equalizing Educational Outcomes: Heterogeneous Effects by Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status

We investigate whether elite Chicago public high schools can help close the achievement gap between high-achieving students from more and less affluent neighborhoods. Seats are allocated based on prior achievement with 70 percent reserved for high-achieving applicants from four neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) categories. Using regression discontinuity design, we find no effect on test scores or college attendance for students from high- or low-SES neighborhoods and positive effects on student reports of their experiences. For students from low-SES neighborhoods, we estimate ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-17

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