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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

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

Working Paper
Stepping Stone and Option Value in a Model of Postsecondary Education

A stepping stone arises in risky environments with learning and transferable human capital. An example is the role played by academic two-year colleges in postsecondary education: Students, as they learn about the uncertain educational outcomes, can drop out or transfer up to harder and more rewarding schools, carrying a fraction of the accumulated human capital. A theory of education is built and contrasted empirically to find that i) option value explains a large part of returns to enrollment, ii) enrollment in academic two-year colleges is driven by the option to transfer up, and iii) the ...
Working Paper , Paper 14-3

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

Working Paper
The Signaling, Screening, and Human Capital Effects of National Board Certification: Evidence from Chicago and Kentucky High Schools

Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-06

Working Paper
Is It Still an Econ Course? The Effect of a Standardized Personal Finance Test on the Learning of Economics

We study the implications of mixing economics and personal finance standardsin a high school course. Using administrative, survey, and testing data on collegestudents, we find evidence that personal finance instruction crowds out economicsinstruction. We find that students who received more instruction in economics scorealmost 5% higher on an economics test. Furthermore, we estimate the effect of beingassigned a certification test in personal finance as a part of this course. The effect ofthe certification test is not uniform across students. The test reduces the economicsscores of students ...
Working Paper , Paper 22-03

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

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