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Author:Chakrabarti, Rajashri 

Discussion Paper
The Impact of Superstorm Sandy on New York City School Closures and Attendance

On October 29, superstorm Sandy hit the tri-state area, flooding streets, highways, tunnels, buildings, and homes, and crippling the region?s public transit system. At least ninety-four people in New York and New Jersey were killed. Downed power lines and damaged transformers plunged downtown Manhattan and coastal areas into days and weeks of darkness. The damage is still being assessed, but costs are sure to be in the tens of billions. Schools were no exception to this devastation, both in infrastructural damage and in disruptions to students? education. The storm shut down all 1,750 New ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20121219

Report
Precarious slopes? The Great Recession, federal stimulus, and New Jersey schools

While sparse literature exists investigating the impact of the Great Recession on various sectors of the economy, there is virtually no research that studies the effect of the Great Recession, or past recessions, on schools. This paper starts to fill the void. Studying school funding during the recession is of paramount importance because schools have a fundamental role in fostering human capital formation and economic growth. We exploit unique panel-data and trend-shift analysis to analyze how New Jersey school finances were affected during the Great Recession and the ARRA federal stimulus ...
Staff Reports , Paper 538

Discussion Paper
Investigating the Effect of Health Insurance in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Does health insurance improve health? This question, while apparently a tautology, has been the subject of considerable economic debate. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has acquired a greater urgency as the lack of universal health insurance has been cited as a cause of the profound racial gap in coronavirus cases, and as a cause of U.S. difficulties in managing the pandemic more generally. However, estimating the effect of health insurance is difficult because it is (generally) not assigned at random. In this post, we approach this question in a novel way by exploiting a natural ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200925

Report
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, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 300

Report
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 ...
Staff Reports , Paper 872

Report
Do vouchers lead to sorting under random private-school selection? Evidence from the Milwaukee voucher program

This paper analyzes the impact of voucher design on student sorting in the application and enrollment phases of parental choice. More specifically, it investigates whether there are feasible ways of designing vouchers that can reduce or eliminate student sorting in these phases. Much of the existing literature investigates the question of sorting where private schools can screen students. However, the publicly funded U.S. voucher programs require private schools to accept all students unless oversubscribed and to pick students randomly if oversubscribed. This paper focuses on two crucial ...
Staff Reports , Paper 379

Discussion Paper
Measuring Racial Disparities in Higher Education and Student Debt Outcomes

Across the United States, the cost of all types of higher education has been rising faster than overall inflation for more than two decades. Despite rising costs, aggregate undergraduate enrollment rose steadily between 2000 and 2010 before leveling off and dipping slightly to its current level. Rising college costs have steadily increased dependence on student debt for college financing, with many students and parents turning to federal and private loans to pay for higher education. An earlier post in this series reported that borrowers in majority Black areas have higher student loan ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200708c

Discussion Paper
Diplomas to Doorsteps: Education, Student Debt, and Homeownership

Evidence overwhelmingly shows that the average earnings premium to having a college education is high and has risen over the past several decades, in part because of a decline in real average earnings for those without a college degree. In addition to high private returns, there are substantial social returns to having a well-educated citizenry and workforce. A new development that may have important longer-term implications for education investment and for the broader economy is a significant change in the financing of higher education. State funding has declined markedly over the past two ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170403

Report
Did cuts in state aid during the Great Recession lead to changes in local property taxes?

During the Great Recession and its aftermath, state and local governments? revenue streams dried up due to diminished taxes. Budget cuts affected many aspects of government; in this paper, we investigate whether (and how) local school districts modified their funding and taxing decisions in response to changes in state aid in the post-recession period. Using detailed district-level panel data from New York and a fixed effects as well as an instrumental variables strategy, we find strong evidence that school districts did indeed respond to state aid cuts in the post-recession period by ...
Staff Reports , Paper 643

Discussion Paper
Did School Districts Offset State Education Funding Cuts?

It’s well known that the Great Recession led to a massive reduction in state government revenues, in spite of the federal government’s attempt to ease budget tightening through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aid to states. School districts rely heavily on aid from higher levels of government for their funding, and, even with the federal stimulus, total aid to school districts declined sharply in the post-recession years. But the local school budget process gives local residents and school districts a powerful tool to influence school spending. In this post, we summarize our recent ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20141110

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