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Jel Classification:I23 

Student Debt and Default: The Role of For-Profit Colleges

For-profit providers have become an important fixture of U.S. higher education markets. Students who attend for-profit institutions take on more educational debt and are more likely to default on their student loans than those attending similarly selective public schools. Because for-profits tend to serve students from more disadvantaged backgrounds, it is important to isolate the causal effect of for-profit enrollment on student debt and repayment outcomes as well as the educational and labor market mechanisms that drive any such effects. We approach this problem using a novel instrument ...
Staff Reports , Paper 811

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
Parenthood and productivity of highly skilled labor: evidence from the groves of academe

We examine the effect of pregnancy and parenthood on the research productivity of academic economists. Combining the survey responses of nearly 10,000 economists with their publication records as documented in their RePEc accounts, we do not find that motherhood is associated with low research productivity. Nor do we find a statistically significant unconditional effect of a first child on research productivity. Conditional difference-in-differences estimates, however, suggest that the effect of parenthood on research productivity is negative for unmarried women and positive for untenured ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-1

Underemployment in the early careers of college graduates following the Great Recession

Though labor market conditions steadily improved following the Great Recession, underemployment among recent college graduates continued to climb, reaching highs not seen since the early 1990s. In this paper, we take a closer look at the jobs held by underemployed college graduates in the early stages of their careers during the first few years after the Great Recession. Contrary to popular perception, we show that relatively few recent graduates were working in low-skilled service jobs, and that many of the underemployed worked in fairly well paid non-college jobs requiring some degree of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 749

Working Paper
Institution, Major, and Firm-Specific Premia: Evidence from Administrative Data

We examine how a student?s major and the institution attended contribute to the labor market outcomes of young graduates. Administrative panel data that combine student transcripts with matched employer-employee records allow us to provide the first decomposition of premia into individual and firm-specific components. We find that both major and institutional premia are more strongly related to the firm-specific component of wages than the individual-specific component of wages. On average, a student?s major is a more important predictor of future wages than the selectivity of the institution ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-24

College Tuition and Income Inequality

This paper evaluates the role of rising income inequality in explaining observed growth in college tuition. We develop a competitive model of the college market in which college quality depends on instructional expenditure and the average ability of admitted students. An innovative feature of our model is that it allows for a continuous distribution of college quality. We find that observed increases in US income inequality can explain more than the entire observed rise in average net tuition since 1990 and that rising income inequality has also depressed college attendance.
Staff Report , Paper 569

Tuition, Debt, and Human Capital

This paper investigates the effects of college tuition on student debt and human capital accumulation. We exploit data from a random sample of undergraduate students in the United States and implement a research design that instruments for tuition with relatively large changes to the tuition of students who enrolled at the same school in different cohorts. We find that $10,000 in higher tuition causally reduces the probability of graduating with a graduate degree by 6.2 percentage points and increases student debt by $2,961. Higher tuition also reduces the probability of obtaining an ...
Staff Reports , Paper 912

Journal Article
The Rise and Fall of College Tuition Inflation

The cost of college tuition increased rapidly from 1980 to 2004 at a rate of about 7 percent per year, significantly outpacing the overall inflation rate. Since 2005, college tuition inflation has slowed markedly and has averaged closer to 2 percent per year for the last few years. Understanding what drives tuition inflation is important for predicting future tuition as well as personal income mobility. However, untangling the various supply and demand factors influencing college tuition can be challenging. {{p}} Brent Bundick and Emily Pollard document changes in college tuition inflation ...
Economic Review , Issue Q I , Pages 57-75

Discussion Paper
Modern Income-Share Agreements in Postsecondary Education: Features, Theory, Applications

An income-share agreement (ISA) in postsecondary education is a contract in which students pledge to pay a certain percentage of their future incomes over a set period of time in exchange for funding educational program expenses in the present. Typically, participants begin to make payments once their incomes rise above a minimum threshold set by the terms of the ISA and will never pay more than a set cap (usually, a multiple of the original amount). Funding for ISAs can range from university sources to philanthropic funding and private investor capital. In this study, we describe the many ...
Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers , Paper 19-6

Working Paper
An Empirical Analysis of Racial Segregation in Higher Education

This descriptive paper documents how segregation between blacks and whites across colleges in the United States has evolved since the 1960s. It also explores potential channels through which changes are occurring, and it uses recent data to study the issue of segregation within colleges. The main findings are as follows: (1) White exposure to blacks has been rising since the 1960s, whereas black exposure to whites increased sharply in the late 1960s and early 1970s and has fluctuated since then. Meanwhile, black-white dissimilarity and the Theil index fell sharply in the late 1960s and early ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1435


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