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Jel Classification:I28 

Journal Article
The Great Recession’s impact on school district finances in New York State

A slowly emerging literature explores the effects of the Great Recession on different parts of the economy; however, very little research examines the impact of the Great Recession (or any other recession) on schools. Given the fundamental role of education in human capital formation and growth, understanding the effect of recessions on schools is essential. This article contributes to filling this gap. Exploiting detailed panel data on a multitude of school finance indicators and a trend shift analysis, it examines how the Great Recession affected school finances in New York State. While it ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 12-1 , Pages 45-66

Report
Information heterogeneity and intended college enrollment

Despite a robust college premium, college attendance rates in the United States have remained stagnant and exhibit a substantial socioeconomic gradient. We focus on information gaps? specifically, incomplete information about college benefits and costs?as a potential explanation for these patterns. In a nationally representative survey of U.S. household heads, we show that perceptions of college costs and benefits are severely and systematically biased: 74 percent of our respondents underestimate the true benefits of college (average earnings of a college graduate relative to a non-college ...
Staff Reports , Paper 685

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 201636R

Report
Abbott and Bacon Districts: education finances during the Great Recession

In the State of New Jersey, any child between the age of five and eighteen has the constitutional right to a thorough and efficient education. The State of New Jersey also has one of the country?s most rigid policies regarding a balanced budget come fiscal end. When state and local revenues took a big hit in the most recent recession, officials had to make tough decisions about education spending. This paper exploits rich panel data and trend-shift analysis to analyze how school finances in the Abbott and Bacon School Districts, as well as the high-poverty districts in general, were affected ...
Staff Reports , Paper 573

Working Paper
Estimating the Cost Function of Connecticut Public K–12 Education: Implications for Inequity and Inadequacy in School Spending

Facing legal challenges and public pressures, Connecticut needs an objective and rigorous study of its public education costs. This study is the first to estimate the cost function of Connecticut public K–12 education and to evaluate the equity and the adequacy in the state’s school spending based on regression-estimated education costs. It finds large disparities across districts in education costs and cost-adjusted spending. Districts with the largest enrollments, the highestschool-age-child-poverty rates, or the least amount of property wealth, on average, have the highest costs and ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-6

Working Paper
The Returns to Public Library Investment

Local governments spend over 12 billion dollars annually funding the operation of 15,000 public libraries in the United States. This funding supports widespread library use: more than 50% of Americans visit public libraries each year. But despite extensive public investment in libraries, surprisingly little research quantities the effects of public libraries on communities and children. We use data on the near-universe of U.S. public libraries to study the effects of capital spending shocks on library resources, patron usage, student achievement, and local housing prices. We use a dynamic ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2021-06

Working Paper
An Experiment on Information Use in College Student Loan Decisions

There is ample concern that college students are making ill-informed student loan decisions with potentially negative consequences to themselves and the broader economy. This paper reports the results of a randomized field experiment in which college students are provided salient information about their borrowing choices. The setting is a large flagship public university in the Midwest, and the sample includes all nongraduating students who previously borrowed student loan money (~10,000 students). Half of the students received individually tailored letters with simplified information about ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-18

Journal Article
A tale of two states: the recession’s impact on N.Y. and N.J. school finances

Although schools play a crucial role in human capital formation and economic growth, relatively few studies consider the effect of recessions (and in particular the Great Recession) on schools. This article helps fill this gap by comparing and contrasting the effects of the Great Recession on school districts in New York and New Jersey. In fact, it is the first article to compare the impacts of the Great Recession on schools in different states. The authors find that the two states had very different experiences in the two years following the recession. While total school funding in New York ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 23-1 , Pages 30-42

Journal Article
Precarious slopes? The Great Recession, federal stimulus, and New Jersey schools

While only a sparse literature investigates the impact of the Great Recession on various sectors of the economy, there is virtually no research on the effect on schools. This article starts to fill the void. The authors make use of rich panel data and a trend-shift analysis to study how New Jersey school finances were affected by the onset of the recession and the federal stimulus that followed. Their results show strong evidence of downward shifts in total school funding and expenditures, relative to trend, following the recession. Support of more than $2 billion in American Recovery and ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Dec , Pages 41-65

Working Paper
The Signaling, Screening, and Human Capital Effects of National Board Certification: Evidence from Chicago and Kentucky High Schools

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recognizes teachers who meet performance standards for “accomplished” educators. States and districts provide support for teachers to obtain this certification, which is considered an honor in the field. Using high school data from Chicago and Kentucky, we examine whether participation in the time- and resource-intensive certification process improves teacher productivity and, ultimately, if recognized teachers are of higher quality than their non-certified peers. We find the certification process itself did not increase teacher ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2020-06

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