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Jel Classification:I21 

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

Agglomeration and job matching among college graduates

We examine job matching as a potential source of urban agglomeration economies. Focusing on college graduates, we construct two direct measures of job matching based on how well an individual?s job corresponds to his or her college education. Consistent with matching-based theories of urban agglomeration, we find evidence that larger and thicker local labor markets increase both the likelihood and quality of a job match for college graduates. We then assess the extent to which better job matching of college-educated workers increases individual-level wages and thereby contributes to the urban ...
Staff Reports , Paper 587

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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