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Jel Classification:I24 

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-17

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 712

Working Paper
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 ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 057

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, ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-36R

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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-13

Working Paper
The Impact of Learning Disabilities on Children and Parental Outcomes: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

We document the characteristics of children and young adults identified in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics as having a learning disability and study whether legislative changes in diagnosis criteria have had a noticeable effect determining who receives a diagnosis. We further document that children and young adults identified as a having a learning disability experience less desirable outcomes early in life, including trouble with the police, drug use, violent behavior, incarceration, self-reported low levels of well-being, lower educational attainment, and less favorable labor market ...
Working Papers , Paper 23-7

Working Paper
College Access and Attendance Patterns: A Long-Run View

We harmonize the results of 42 different data sets and studies dating back to the early 20th century to construct a time series of college attendance patterns for the United States. We find an important reversal around the time of World War II: before that time, family characteristics such as income were the better predictor of college attendance; afterwards, academic ability was the better predictor. We construct a model of college choice that can explain this reversal. The model's central mechanism is an exogenous rise in the demand for college that leads better colleges to become ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 10

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 ...
Review , Volume 99 , Issue 1 , Pages 85-101

Report
The Effect of Constitutional Provisions on Education Policy and Outcomes

Education services in the United States are determined predominantly by non-market institutions, the rules of which are defined by state constitutions. This paper empirically examines the effect of changes in constitutional provisions on education outcomes in the United States. To show causal effects, we exploit discontinuities in the procedure for adopting constitutional amendments to compare outcomes when an amendment passed with those when an amendment failed. Our results show that adoption of an amendment results in higher per-pupil expenditure, higher teacher salaries, smaller class ...
Staff Report , Paper 623

Working Paper
The Income-Achievement Gap and Adult Outcome Inequality

This paper discusses various methods for assessing group differences in academic achievement using only the ordinal content of achievement test scores. Researchers and policymakers frequently draw conclusions about achievement differences between various populations using methods that rely on the cardinal comparability of test scores. This paper shows that such methods can lead to erroneous conclusions in an important application: measuring changes over time in the achievement gap between youth from high- and low-income households. Commonly-employed, cardinal methods suggest that this ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-41

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