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Jel Classification:I21 

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

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

Report
The impact of the Great Recession on school district finances: evidence from New York

Despite education?s fundamental role in human capital formation and growth, there is no research that examines the effect of the Great Recession (or any other recession) on schools. Our paper begins to fill this gap. Exploiting detailed data on school finance indicators and an analysis of trend shifts, we examine how the Great Recession affected school funding in New York State. While we find no evidence of effects on either total revenue or expenditure, there were important compositional changes to both. There is strong evidence of substitution of funds on the revenue side?the infusion of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 534

Working Paper
What Kind of Teachers Are Schools Looking For? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

Teacher quality is a pressing public policy concern, yet there is little evidence on what types of teachers schools actually prefer to hire. This paper reports the results of an experiment that involved sending schools fictitious resumes with randomly-chosen characteristics in an attempt to determine what characteristics schools value when hiring new teachers. The results of the study suggest that an applicant?s academic background has little impact on the likelihood of success at private and charter schools, although public schools respond more favorably to candidates from more selective ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1436

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
Intended college attendance: evidence from an experiment on college returns and costs

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. For this purpose, we conduct an information experiment about college returns and costs embedded within a representative survey of U.S. household heads. We show that, at the baseline, perceptions of college costs and benefits are severely and systematically biased: 75 percent of our respondents ...
Staff Reports , Paper 739

Working Paper
Improving Child Welfare in Middle Income Countries: The Unintended Consequence of a Pro-Homemaker Divorce Law and Wait Time to Divorce

This study identifies the impact of access to and the speed of divorce on the welfare of children in a middle income largely Catholic country. Using difference-in-difference estimation techniques, I compare school enrollment for children of married and cohabiting parent households before and after the legalization of divorce. Implementing pro-homemaker divorce laws increased school enrollment anywhere from 3.4 to 5.5 percentage points, and the effect was particularly salient on secondary school students. I provide evidence that administrative processes influencing the speed of divorce affect ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 27

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

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

Report
Human capital investments and expectations about career and family

This paper studies how individuals believe human capital investments will affect their future career and family life. We conducted a survey of high-ability currently enrolled college students and elicited beliefs about how their choice of college major, and whether to complete their degree at all, would affect a wide array of future events, including future earnings, employment, marriage prospects, potential spousal characteristics, and fertility. We find that students perceive large ?returns" to human capital not only in their own future earnings, but also in a number of other dimensions ...
Staff Reports , Paper 792

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