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Jel Classification:I24 

Briefing
Do foreclosures affect Boston public school student academic performance?
Foreclosures have well-documented adverse consequences for families living in or owning properties undergoing foreclosure and on surrounding neighborhoods, but they may also have other costs. This policy brief summarizes our research on the impact of mortgage foreclosures on academic performance among Boston public school students. The data show that students who live at an address that experiences a foreclosure tend to score substantially lower on standardized tests (math and English) and also have substantially worse attendance. However, if we account for the influence of student characteristics, housing, and the student's past academic performance on test scores, the size of the foreclosure effects is reduced to nearly zero. We interpret these findings as indicating that underlying (yet unobserved) factors such as economic stress within the family contribute to both poor academic performance and the foreclosure event, rather than implying that foreclosure per se causes deterioration in a student's academic performance. We also find that foreclosures may harm academic performance indirectly by causing an affected student to change schools during the academic year. However, we cannot say with certainty that the strong negative association between a child's performance and school change ? whether the change is precipitated by foreclosure or by other circumstances ? reflects a causal relationship. Accordingly, public policies aimed at improving student performance should address family stressors that jointly cause decreased academic performance and foreclosures. Existing school assignment policies in Boston ? based as they are on citywide high schools and three broad zones ? loosen the link between residential moves and school changes during the school year. Other policies at the school, district, and community level may help to lessen the disruptive effects of academic-year school changes on performance.
AUTHORS: Burke, Mary A.; Triest, Robert K.; Bradbury, Katharine L.
DATE: 2013

Working Paper
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 was the owner or a tenant in the property. Econometric analysis of this relationship suggests that foreclosures are associated with slightly lower test scores and attendance, controlling for the previous-year's test score and attendance as well as other student characteristics and environmental factors. The results suggest that both the foreclosure event and the diminished student outcomes stem from underlying economic stress within the family. School changes during the school year, which are sometimes induced by foreclosure-related residential moves but also occur independently of foreclosure, may be associated with more substantial negative effects on academic performance than foreclosures, although this causal relationship is not certain. This latter finding suggests that policies that decouple residential moves from school changes during the school year may help to mitigate this indirect effect of foreclosure on student performance.
AUTHORS: Burke, Mary A.; Triest, Robert K.; Bradbury, Katharine L.
DATE: 2013-02-01

Working Paper
House price growth when children are teenagers: a path to higher earnings?
The United States has a long history of promoting homeownership through the mortgage interest tax deduction, and home equity constitutes an important source of borrowing collateral. There is a sizable body of work studying how fluctuating house prices impact consumer behavior. Since college tuition costs pose a large financial burden for many U.S. families, access to housing equity may impact decisions about pursuing a post-secondary education. This paper adds to the literature by using MSA-level house-price variation and data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to study the link between future adult earnings and the house price growth that occurs around the time children are 17 years-old, when most college enrollment decisions are made, and how this link varies based on whether parents own or rent their homes. The sample period runs from 1979 through 1999.
AUTHORS: Cooper, Daniel H.; Luengo-Prado, Maria Jose
DATE: 2014-12-23

Working Paper
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 inflow was not foreclosure.
AUTHORS: Bradbury, Katharine L.; Triest, Robert K.; Burke, Mary A.
DATE: 2014-07-25

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 1970s and have fallen more gradually since. (2) There has been regional convergence, although colleges in the South remain more segregated than those in any other region when measured by dissimilarity, by the Theil index, or by black exposure to whites. (3) A major channel for the decline in segregation is the declining share of blacks attending historically black colleges and universities. (4) Although there is segregation within universities, most segregation across major university cells occurs across universities. )
AUTHORS: Hinrichs, Peter
DATE: 2014-12-08

Working Paper
Affirmative Action and Racial Segregation
A number of states have recently prohibited the use of affirmative action in admissions to public universities statewide. A growing body of research suggests that these affirmative action bans reduce minority enrollment at selective colleges while leaving overall minority college enrollment rates unchanged. The effect of these bans on racial segregation across colleges has not yet been estimated directly and is theoretically ambiguous due to a U-shaped relationship 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 exposure and dissimilarity indexes. The results suggest that affirmative action bans have in some cases increased segregation across colleges but in others cases may have actually reduced it. In particular, early affirmative action bans in states with highly selective public universities appear to be associated with more segregation, whereas other affirmative action bans appear to be associated with less segregation.
AUTHORS: Hinrichs, Peter
DATE: 2016-12-23

Working Paper
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, finding that affirmative action bans have increased segregation across colleges in some cases but reduced it in others. In particular, early affirmative action bans in states with highly selective public universities appear to be associated with less segregation, whereas more recent affirmative action bans appear to be associated with more segregation.
AUTHORS: Hinrichs, Peter
DATE: 2019-10-17

Report
Community Education Circles in the Lawrence Public Schools: evaluation design and baseline survey data
This paper describes a plan for evaluating the Community Education Circles (CECs) program that is being implemented in the Lawrence Public Schools as part of an effort to enhance family-school engagement and improve outcomes for both students and parents. The CECs program supports the larger Lawrence Working Families Initiative, which in 2013 was awarded a multiyear grant through the Boston Fed?s Working Cities Challenge. This paper accomplishes several objectives: (1) describe the goals and methods of the CECs program as well as the larger goals of the Lawrence Working Families Initiative; (2) describe the methods that will be used to evaluate the success of the CECs program; (3) describe important features of the survey data and the school administrative data that have been collected so far for the families that are participating in our study. Concerning the last objective, we describe aspects of a family?s structure and employment situation, primary language, demographic information and immigrant status, measures of a family?s financial situation and financial stress, and measures of parents? satisfaction with the schools and of their involvement in their child?s learning. We also identify relationships between such characteristics that may present barriers to the achievement of the goals of the CECs program across a diverse set of families.
AUTHORS: Burke, Mary A.; Bradbury, Katharine L.; Triest, Robert K.; Brown, John C.; Graves, Erin
DATE: 2017-06-01

Speech
Never let your brains go to your head (with reference to the sages of the ages, Diana Sorensen, John Paul Jones and 'Babe' Fisher)
My heartfelt advice to you is to work as hard on expanding your EQ as you have on harnessing your IQ.
AUTHORS: Fisher, Richard W.
DATE: 2014-05-17

Journal Article
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 married, compared with 68 percent of White family heads. Did these trends in family status contribute significantly to differences between Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics in the declines in wealth among college graduates? The author finds that family status changes between 2007 and 2013 were too small to play a large role and even married couple families among Blacks and Hispanics suffered sharp declines in home equity and net worth. Still, married couples retained at least a 70 percent advantage over the unmarried groups.
AUTHORS: Lerman, Robert
DATE: 2017

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