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Jel Classification:I21 

Report
Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment

This paper studies the determinants of college major choice using an experimentally generated panel of beliefs, obtained by providing students with information on the true population distribution of various major-specific characteristics. Students logically revise their beliefs in response to the information, and their subjective beliefs about future major choice are associated with beliefs about their own earnings and ability. We estimate a rich model of college major choice using the panel of beliefs data. While expected earnings and perceived ability are a significant determinant of major ...
Staff Reports , Paper 500

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

Journal Article
The Great Recession’s impact on school district finances in New York State

A slowly emerging literature explores the effects of the Great Recession on different parts of the economy; however, very little research examines the impact of the Great Recession (or any other recession) on schools. Given the fundamental role of education in human capital formation and growth, understanding the effect of recessions on schools is essential. This article contributes to filling this gap. Exploiting detailed panel data on a multitude of school finance indicators and a trend shift analysis, it examines how the Great Recession affected school finances in New York State. While it ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 12-1 , Pages 45-66

Report
Preferences and biases in educational choices and labor market expectations: shrinking the black box of gender

Standard observed characteristics explain only part of the differences between men and women in education choices and labor market trajectories. Using an experiment to derive students' levels of overconfidence, and preferences for competitiveness and risk, this paper investigates whether these behavioral biases and preferences explain gender differences in college major choices and expected future earnings. In a sample of high-ability undergraduates, we find that competitiveness and overconfidence, but not risk aversion, are systematically related with expectations about future earnings: ...
Staff Reports , Paper 627

Report
Information heterogeneity and intended college enrollment

Despite a robust college premium, college attendance rates in the United States have remained stagnant and exhibit a substantial socioeconomic gradient. We focus on information gaps? specifically, incomplete information about college benefits and costs?as a potential explanation for these patterns. In a nationally representative survey of U.S. household heads, we show that perceptions of college costs and benefits are severely and systematically biased: 74 percent of our respondents underestimate the true benefits of college (average earnings of a college graduate relative to a non-college ...
Staff Reports , Paper 685

Report
University choice: the role of expected earnings, non-pecuniary outcomes, and financial constraints

We investigate the determinants of students? university choice, with a focus on expected monetary returns, non-pecuniary factors enjoyed at school, and financial constraints, in the Pakistani context. To mitigate the identification problem concerning the separation of preferences, expectations, and markets constraints, we combine rich data on individual-specific subjective expectations about labor market and non-pecuniary outcomes, with direct measures of financial constraints and students? stated school choice both with and without financial constraints. Estimates from a life-cycle model ...
Staff Reports , Paper 683

Report
Abbott and Bacon Districts: education finances during the Great Recession

In the State of New Jersey, any child between the age of five and eighteen has the constitutional right to a thorough and efficient education. The State of New Jersey also has one of the country?s most rigid policies regarding a balanced budget come fiscal end. When state and local revenues took a big hit in the most recent recession, officials had to make tough decisions about education spending. This paper exploits rich panel data and trend-shift analysis to analyze how school finances in the Abbott and Bacon School Districts, as well as the high-poverty districts in general, were affected ...
Staff Reports , Paper 573

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

Journal Article
A tale of two states: the recession’s impact on N.Y. and N.J. school finances

Although schools play a crucial role in human capital formation and economic growth, relatively few studies consider the effect of recessions (and in particular the Great Recession) on schools. This article helps fill this gap by comparing and contrasting the effects of the Great Recession on school districts in New York and New Jersey. In fact, it is the first article to compare the impacts of the Great Recession on schools in different states. The authors find that the two states had very different experiences in the two years following the recession. While total school funding in New York ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 23-1 , Pages 30-42

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