Impact of Early and Post-secondary Education Policies on Entry and Outcomes
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Elizabeth Dhuey, University of Toronto
Economic Conditions at College Entry and College Outcomes
AbstractRecessions are frequent phenomena with the US experiencing 8 since the 1960s. This means every 6.25 years a cohort of students will come of college-age during a downturn in the national economy. During recessions, the opportunity cost of college is lower making recessionary periods opportune for college investment. Anecdotal and statistical evidence show that more people enroll in college during recessions. What is not yet known however, is how individuals who enrolled during recessions fare in terms of college outcomes. This study fills this gap in the literature by estimating the relationship between economic conditions at college enrollment and subsequent outcomes. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youths (NLSY) and a competing events survival model are employed. In the model, individuals enroll in college after high school graduation and can exit enrollment through one of four events; complete a bachelor's degree, complete a 2-year degree, drop out and remain active and drop out and become inactive. Results show that, compared to individuals who enrolled in college in prosperous years, individuals who enrolled during an economic downturn are less likely to end the spell in college with a 4-year degree, are slightly more likely to earn a 2-year degree and are more likely to drop out. All results are robust to extensive sensitivity analysis including controls for correlated business cycle shocks after college entry, endogenous timing of high school graduation and permanent cohort differences.
Affirmative Action and Pre-College Human Capital
AbstractRace-based affirmative action policies are widespread in higher education. Despite the prevalence of these policies, there is limited evidence on whether they affect students before they reach college. We exploit the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger, which overturned affirmative action bans in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, but not in other states, to study the effect of affirmative action on high school students' outcomes. We analyze four data sets, including nationwide SAT data and administrative data for the state of Texas. The SAT data allow us to leverage state and time variation in difference-in-differences and synthetic control group analyses. Within Texas, variation in race, time, and ex ante ability further help us to isolate the effects of the policy change on secondary school grades, attendance, and college applications. Across data sets, outcomes, and identification strategies, the results all point toward gains for underrepresented minority students and reductions in the racial achievement gap. These gains were concentrated among students in the top of the ability distribution, who also experienced the largest increases in the returns to pre-college human capital in college admissions due to the policy change. This suggests that students increased their human capital investment in response to increases in the returns to effort.
- J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor
- I2 - Education and Research Institutions