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 ...
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 ...
Optimal Need-Based Financial Aid
We study the optimal design of student financial aid as a function of parental income. We derive optimal financial aid formulas in a general model. For a simple model version, we derive mild conditions on primitives under which poorer students receive more aid even without distributional concerns. We quantitatively extend this result to an empirical model of selection into college for the United States that comprises multidimensional heterogeneity, endogenous parental transfers, dropout, labor supply in college, and uncertain returns. Optimal financial aid is strongly declining in parental ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The College Wealth Divide: Education and Inequality in America, 1956-2016
Using new long-run microdata, this article studies wealth and income trends of households with a college degree (college households) and without a college degree (noncollege households) in the United States since 1956. We document the emergence of a substantial college wealth premium since the 1980s, which is considerably larger than the college income premium. Over the past four decades, the wealth of college households has tripled. By contrast, the wealth of noncollege households has barely grown in real terms over the same period. Part of the rising wealth gap can be traced back to ...
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.
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 ...
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 ...