Vouchers, responses, and the test-taking population: regression discontinuity evidence from Florida
While there is a rich literature that investigates whether accountability regimes induce schools to manipulate their test-taking population by strategically excluding weaker students, no study thus far investigates whether voucher programs induce schools to engage in similar strategic behavior. This paper analyzes a Florida program that embedded vouchers in an accountability regime. Specifically, it investigates whether the threat of vouchers and the stigma associated with the Florida program induced schools to strategically manipulate their test-taking population. Under Florida rules, scores ...
Did State Reopenings Increase Consumer Spending?
The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has had a profound impact on economic activity. Beginning in March, most states imposed severe restrictions on households and businesses to slow the spread of the virus. This was followed by a gradual loosening of restrictions (“reopening”) starting in April. As the virus has re-emerged, a number of states have taken steps to reverse the reopening of their economies. For example, Texas and Florida closed bars again in June, and Arizona additionally paused operations of gyms and movie theatres. Taken together, these measures raise the question of ...
Education’s Role in Earnings, Employment, and Economic Mobility
Amid dialogue about the soaring student loan burden, questions arise about how educational characteristics (school type, selectivity, and major) affect disparities in post-college labor market outcomes. In this post, we specifically explore the impact of such school and major choices on employment, earnings, and upward economic mobility. Insight into determinants of economic disparity is key for understanding long-term consumption and inequality patterns. In addition, this gives us a window into factors that could be used to ameliorate income inequality and promote economic mobility.
Racial and Income Gaps in Consumer Spending following COVID-19
This post is the first in a two-part series that seeks to understand whether consumer spending patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic evolved differentially across counties by race and income. As the pandemic hit and social distancing restrictions were put into place in March 2020, consumer spending plummeted. Subsequently, as social distancing restrictions began to be relaxed later in spring 2020, consumer spending started to rebound. We find that higher-income counties had a considerably steeper decline and a shallower recovery than low-income counties did. The differences by race were also ...
Program design, incentives, and response: evidence from educational interventions
In an effort to reform K-12 education, policymakers have introduced school vouchers?scholarships that make students eligible to transfer from public to private schools?in some U.S. school districts. This article analyzes two such educational interventions in the United States: the Milwaukee and Florida voucher programs. Under the Milwaukee program, vouchers were imposed from the outset, so that all low-income public school students became eligible for vouchers to transfer to private schools. In contrast, schools in the Florida program were only threatened with vouchers, with students of a ...
Can increasing private school participation and monetary loss in a voucher program affect public school performance? Evidence from Milwaukee
The Milwaukee voucher program, as implemented in 1990, allowed only nonsectarian private schools to participate in the program. However, following a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, the program was expanded to include religious private schools in 1998. This second phase of the voucher program led to more than a three-fold increase in the number of private schools and almost a four-fold increase in the number of choice students. Moreover, because of some changes in funding provisions, the revenue loss per student from vouchers increased in the second phase of the program. This paper analyzes, ...
Getting ahead by spending more? Local community response to state merit aid programs
In more than half of U.S. states over the past two decades, the implementation of merit aid programs has dramatically reduced net tuition expenses for college-bound students who attend in-state colleges. Although the intention of these programs was to improve access to enrollment for high-achieving students, it is possible that they had unanticipated effects. We analyze whether state funding for higher education and K-12 education changed as a result of program implementation, and whether local school districts attempt to counter any such changes. We employ two methodologies to study whether ...
Are Charter Schools Draining Private School Enrollment?
Charter schools are a major policy initiative at the national and local levels. As charter schools spread, one key question is whether they reduce private school enrollment, especially at Catholic schools. If so, an increase in charters could change public school spending patterns, decrease the number or size of private schools, and alter educational outcomes and school quality for public and private school students. But is this really the case? Maybe not. In this post, based on our 2010 New York Fed staff report, we find that despite widespread fears to the contrary, the expansion of charter ...
Who is More Likely to Default on Student Loans?
This post seeks to understand how educational characteristics (school type and selectivity, graduation status, major) and family background relate to the incidence of student loan default. Student indebtedness has grown substantially, increasing by 170 percent between 2006 and 2016. In addition, the fraction of students who default on those loans has grown considerably. Of students who left college in 2010 and 2011, 28 percent defaulted on their student loans within five years, compared with 19 percent of those who left school in 2005 and 2006. Since defaulting on student loans can have ...
How Did the Great Recession Affect New York State's Public Schools?
Surprisingly, there is no literature on how recessions (including the Great Recession) have affected schools. Perhaps this is because educational funding stresses and decisions vary among and within states, which makes it hard to reach general conclusions. Yet schools play an indispensable role in our society, educating the populace and building the nation’s future. Therefore, it is important to understand how the Great Recession is affecting public spending on schools, the delivery of education services, and student learning. In this post, we analyze one state’s experience, drawing on ...