How Should Tax Progressivity Respond to Rising Income Inequality?
We address this question in a heterogeneous-agent incomplete-markets model featuring exogenous idiosyncratic risk, endogenous skill investment, and flexible labor supply. The tax and transfer schedule is restricted to be log-linear in income, a good description of the US system. Rising inequality is modeled as a combination of skill-biased technical change and growth in residual wage dispersion. When facing shifts in the income distribution like those observed in the US, a utilitarian planner chooses higher progressivity in response to larger residual inequality but lower progressivity in ...
Why have revenue-strapped New England school districts been slow to turn to alternative funding sources?
During and even after the Great Recession, numerous popular press stories commented on the apparent growth of non-tax revenues in the face of school district budget deficits. But Downes and Killeen (2014) show that nationally the growth of non-traditional revenues has been far less than these articles may lead the reader to believe. This paper uses data from the New England states to assess the empirical content of some of the possible explanations of this slow growth. In New England, as in the rest of the nation, non-tax revenues per pupil have grown in real terms but have not become a more ...
Opening remarks at the Convening on Student Loan Data Conference
Remarks at the Convening on Student Loan Data Conference, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York City.
Financial aid, debt management, and socioeconomic outcomes: post-college effects of merit-based aid
Prior research has demonstrated that financial aid can influence both college enrollments and completions, but less is known about its post-college consequences. Even for students whose attainment is unaffected, financial aid may affect post-college outcomes via reductions in both time to degree and debt at graduation. We utilize two complementary quasi-experimental strategies to identify causal effects of the WV PROMISE scholarship, a broad-based state merit aid program, up to ten years post-college-entry. This study is the first to link college transcripts and financial aid information to ...
Measuring student debt and its performance
Studies continue to indicate that higher education is frequently a worthwhile investment for individuals and that it raises the productivity of the workforce as a whole. While the rising cost of post-secondary education has not eliminated this "college premium," it has raised new questions about how growing numbers of students can make these investments. One solution to this problem is student loans, which have come to play an increasingly important role in financing higher education. Yet, despite its importance, educational debt is not well understood. Among the reasons is that there ...
Credit supply and the rise in college tuition: evidence from the expansion in federal student aid programs
We study the link between the student credit expansion of the past fifteen years and the contemporaneous rise in college tuition. To disentangle simultaneity issues, we analyze the effects of increases in federal student loan caps using detailed student-level financial data. We find a pass-through effect on tuition of changes in subsidized loan maximums of about 60 cents on the dollar, and smaller but positive effects for unsubsidized federal loans. The subsidized loan effect is most pronounced for more expensive degrees, those offered by private institutions, and for two-year or vocational ...
Student debt and higher education financing: a public finance perspective
Remarks at the National Association of College and University Business Officers, at the Waldorf Astoria, New York City.
Optimal Need-Based Financial Aid
We study the optimal design of student financial aid as a function of parental income. We derive optimal financial aid formulas in a general model. For a simple model version, we derive mild conditions on primitives under which poorer students receive more aid even without distributional concerns. We quantitatively extend this result to an empirical model of selection into college for the United States that comprises multidimensional heterogeneity, endogenous parental transfers, dropout, labor supply in college, and uncertain returns. Optimal financial aid is strongly declining in parental ...
Student Loans and Repayment: Theory, Evidence and Policy
Rising costs of and returns to college have led to sizeable increases in the demand for student loans in many countries. In the U.S., student loan default rates have also risen for recent cohorts as labor market uncertainty and debt levels have increased. We discuss these trends as well as recent evidence on the extent to which students are able to obtain enough credit for college and the extent to which they are able to repay their student debts after. We then discuss optimal student credit arrangements that balance three important objectives: (i) providing credit for students to access ...
The Role of Selective High Schools in Equalizing Educational Outcomes: Heterogeneous Effects by Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status
We investigate whether elite Chicago public high schools can help close the achievement gap between high-achieving students from more and less affluent neighborhoods. Seats are allocated based on prior achievement with 70 percent reserved for high-achieving applicants from four neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) categories. Using regression discontinuity design, we find no effect on test scores or college attendance for students from high- or low-SES neighborhoods and positive effects on student reports of their experiences. For students from low-SES neighborhoods, we estimate ...