Do Family Structure Differences Explain Trends in Wealth Differentials?
Race and ethnic wealth differentials are wide and increasing. Some of the gaps are associated with education differences, but education alone cannot account for the substantially higher net worth of White families than of Black and Hispanic families. As of 2013, the median wealth of Black college graduate families had fallen to only 13 percent of the median wealth of White families. One possible explanation is the significantly lower shares of married couple and married parent households among minorities. For example, even among college graduates, only 41 percent of Black family heads were ...
The Illusion of School Choice: Empirical Evidence from Barcelona
School choice aims to improve (1) the matching between children and schools and (2) students? educa-tional outcomes. Yet, the concern is that disadvantaged families are less able to exercise choice, which raises (3) equity concerns. The Boston mechanism (BM) is a procedure that is widely used around the world to resolve overdemands for particular schools by defining a set of priority points based on neigh-borhood and socioeconomic characteristics. The mechanism design literature has shown that under the BM, parents may not have incentives to provide their true preferences, thereby ...
Who Values Access to College?
A first glance at US data suggests that college -- given its mean returns and sharply subsidized cost for all enrollees -- could be of great value to most. Using an empirically-disciplined human capital model that allows for variation in college readiness, we show otherwise. While the top decile of valuations is indeed large (40 percent of consumption), nearly half of high school completers place zero value on access to college. Subsidies to college currently flow to those already best positioned to succeed and least sensitive to them. Even modestly targeted alternatives may therefore improve ...
College Is Not Enough: Higher Education Does Not Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Wealth Gaps
Differences in college and post-graduate degree attainment alone explain less than half of Black-White and Hispanic-White wealth gaps in a standard wealth regression. Differences in family structure and measures of luck such as income windfalls and inheritances explain even less. Measures of financial decisionmaking, such as the share of housing in total assets and debt ratios, are much more important.
Affirmative Action and Racial Segregation
Prior research suggests that statewide affirmative action bans reduce minority enrollment at selective colleges while leaving overall minority college enrollment unchanged. However, the effect of these bans on across-college racial segregation has not yet been estimated. This effect is theoretically ambiguous due to a U-shaped relationship across colleges between minority enrollment and college selectivity. This paper uses variation in the timing of affirmative action bans across states to estimate their effects on racial segregation as measured by standard exposure and dissimilarity indexes, ...
The Pathway to Enrolling in a High-Performance High School: Understanding Barriers to Access
In 2017, Chicago Public Schools adopted an online universal application system for all high schools with the hope of providing more equitable access to high-performance schools. Despite the new system, Black students and students living in low-socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods remained less likely than their peers to enroll in a high-performance high school. In this paper, we characterize various constraints that students and families may face in enrolling in a high-performance high school including eligibility to programs based on prior academic achievement, distance from ...
Within-school spillover effects of foreclosures and student mobility on student academic performance
Working with a unique dataset that matches individual student records from Boston Public Schools with real estate records that indicate whether the student lived at an address involved in foreclosure, the authors investigate the degree to which the test scores of students attending high-foreclosure schools suffer, even among students not directly experiencing foreclosure. They also explore the impact on individual test scores of inflows of new students to a school during the school year?both for cases where the inflow was associated with a foreclosure and for cases where the cause of the ...
The effect of foreclosure on Boston Public School student academic performance
Although the recent wave of mortgage foreclosures has clearly been accompanied by economic hardship, relatively little research has examined how foreclosures affect the academic performance of students. This paper investigates the relationship between mortgage foreclosures and the academic performance of students using a unique dataset that matches information on the standardized test scores and attendance of individual Boston Public School students with real estate records indicating whether the student lived at an address involved in foreclosure and whether that student's parent or guardian ...
Decomposing Outcome Differences between HBCU and Non-HBCU Institutions
This paper investigates differences in outcomes between historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and traditional college and universities (non-HBCUs) using a standard Oaxaca/Blinder decomposition. This method decomposes differences in observed educational and labor market outcomes between HBCU and non-HBCU students into differences in characteristics (both student and institutional) and differences in how those characteristics translate into differential outcomes. Efforts to control for differences in unobservables between the two types of students are undertaken through ...
When Do Informational Interventions Work? Experimental Evidence from New York City High School Choice
This paper reports the results of a large, school-level randomized controlled trial evaluating a set of three informational interventions for young people choosing high schools in 473 middle schools, serving over 115,000 8th graders. The interventions differed in their level of customization to the student and their mode of delivery (paper or online); all treated schools received identical materials to scaffold the decision-making process. Every intervention reduced likelihood of application to and enrollment in schools with graduation rates below the city median (75 percent). An important ...