The Efficiency of K-12 Public Education Production, Gender Inequalities in College Advising, and Labor Market Implications
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMy dissertation consists of three chapters that focus on the economics of education. In particular I look at public school financing, gender discrimination in advising, and the effectiveness of out-of-school-time programs for disadvantaged schools. The first chapter analyzes the effect of an extremely large funding shock on Wyoming public schools in the 2006-07 school year. The effect of the shock is estimated on high school graduation rates and NAEP math and reading scores via synthetic control methods. The funding shock in Wyoming, which was the largest increase in education expenditure for any state in the nation from 1998-2008, is shown to have been largely unsuccessful in raising graduation rates and test scores. The second chapter uses a field experiment to analyze college advising differentials by student and advisor gender. Advisors assess the expected performance of students in both mathematics and English and recommend one of the two subjects to the student. Surveys are randomly assigned, and the experiment is designed such that student gender is the treatment. Advisors are found to discount the ability of female students relative to males in both mathematics and English. Additionally, male advisors recommend mathematics with much greater likelihood than do female advisors. The final chapter analyzes the effect of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program on disadvantaged schools. Using a regression discontinuity design, it is found that 21CCLC has a more positive effect on middle schoolers than on elementary school students, but that results vary widely depending on the cohort and grade level. The program seems to have potential for significant improvement in school outcomes, but also has potential to have negative effects. There is some evidence from 2007-2011 that the program is improving over time.
Degree ProgramGraduate College