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Jel Classification:H75 

Working Paper
Estimating the Cost Function of Connecticut Public K–12 Education: Implications for Inequity and Inadequacy in School Spending

Facing legal challenges and public pressures, Connecticut needs an objective and rigorous study of its public education costs. This study is the first to estimate the cost function of Connecticut public K–12 education and to evaluate the equity and the adequacy in the state’s school spending based on regression-estimated education costs. It finds large disparities across districts in education costs and cost-adjusted spending. Districts with the largest enrollments, the highestschool-age-child-poverty rates, or the least amount of property wealth, on average, have the highest costs and ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-6

Working Paper
The Returns to Public Library Investment

Local governments spend over 12 billion dollars annually funding the operation of 15,000 public libraries in the United States. This funding supports widespread library use: more than 50% of Americans visit public libraries each year. But despite extensive public investment in libraries, surprisingly little research quantities the effects of public libraries on communities and children. We use data on the near-universe of U.S. public libraries to study the effects of capital spending shocks on library resources, patron usage, student achievement, and local housing prices. We use a dynamic ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2021-06

Working Paper
The role of economic, fiscal, and financial shocks in the evolution of public sector pension funding

Many studies have documented the pervasive underfunding of public sector pension plans in the United States in recent years. The deterioration of the funded status of public pension plans coincided with severe fiscal crises that state and local governments experienced in the 2000s. This development has led to a suspicion that state and local governments have decreased employer pension contributions as a backdoor means of running fiscal deficits. In this paper, the authors investigate the extent to which this phenomenon has occurred. They estimate panel data regressions using the Boston ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-26

Working Paper
The Effects of the Massachusetts Health Reform on Financial Distress

A major benefit of health insurance coverage is that it protects the insured from unexpected medical costs that may devastate their personal finances. In this paper, we use detailed credit report information on a large panel of individuals to examine the effect of a major health care reform in Massachusetts in 2006 on a broad set of financial outcomes. The Massachusetts model served as the basis for the Affordable Care Act and allows us to examine the effect of coverage on financial outcomes for the entire population of the uninsured, not just those with very low incomes. We exploit plausibly ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-1

Working Paper
The Returns to Public Library Investment

Local governments spend over 12 billion dollars annually funding the operation of 17,000 public libraries in the United States, yet we know little about their effects. We use data describing the near-universe of public libraries to show that public library investment increases children’s attendance at library events by 18%, children’s checkouts of items by 21%, and library visits by 21%. Increases in library use translate into improved test scores in nearby school districts: a $1,000 or greater per-student capital investment in local public libraries increases reading test scores by 0.02 ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2021-06

Report
The Effect of Constitutional Provisions on Education Policy and Outcomes

Education services in the United States are determined predominantly by non-market institutions, the rules of which are defined by state constitutions. This paper empirically examines the effect of changes in constitutional provisions on education outcomes in the United States. To show causal effects, we exploit discontinuities in the procedure for adopting constitutional amendments to compare outcomes when an amendment passed with those when an amendment failed. Our results show that adoption of an amendment results in higher per-pupil expenditure, higher teacher salaries, smaller class ...
Staff Report , Paper 623

Report
The effect of state pension cut legislation on bank values

This study provides an empirical analysis of the impact of Wisconsin and Ohio pension cut legislation on values of banks operating in Wisconsin and Ohio, banks operating in other states in which pension cut legislation was being considered as Wisconsin and Ohio went through its legislative process, and all publicly traded U.S. banks. We find that banks doing business in Wisconsin and Ohio experience positive (negative) stock price reactions to announcements that indicate an increased (a decreased) probability of pension cut legislation. The stock price reactions are positively related to the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 679

Working Paper
State disinvestment in higher education: the impact on public research universities' patent applications

While state appropriations are the largest revenue source of the U.S. public university systems, they have declined significantly over the past several decades. Surprisingly, there is little empirical work on the effect of state appropriation cuts on the research productivity of public universities. Helping fill that gap, this paper is the first to examine the role that state appropriations play in public universities? patent production. The results suggest that state appropriation cuts have a negative impact on the number of approved patent applications from public research universities. ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-2

Working Paper
How to Design a State Education Aid Formula That Is Equitable, Adequate, and Politically Feasible: The Case of Connecticut

After being sued for inequity and inadequacy in school funding, many states have reformed their education aid policies. Using Connecticut as an example, this paper shows how to design a state education aid formula that can effectively address funding inequity and inadequacy while taking political feasibility into account. It first develops a measure of the gap between education cost and revenue capacity, both of which are estimated using school district characteristics that are outside the direct control of local officials at any given point in time. It then uses each district’s ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-1

Working Paper
The Roles of State Aid and Local Conditions in Elementary School Test-Score Gaps

Equal educational opportunity is a core American value. Yet many children of low-income or minority racial or ethnic status attend public schools that are lower quality compared with those that white children or high-income children attend. And data indicate that, on average, low-income or minority children score lower on states’ elementary-school accountability tests compared with higher-income children or white children. Such test-score gaps serve as evidence of unequal educational opportunity. This study uses information from metropolitan areas and from school districts to understand ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-2

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