Essays on Higher Education and Inequality
Kozakowski, Whitney Catherine
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CitationKozakowski, Whitney Catherine. 2020. Essays on Higher Education and Inequality. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation consists of three essays at the intersection of higher education and inequality within the field of economics of education. The first essay estimates the effects of adopting an instructional approach blending online and in-person elements called the emporium model in remedial college courses. Under this model, students complete online work in an on-campus lab with instructors onsite to assist. Using a triple difference identification strategy, I find that using the emporium model compared to traditional instruction in remedial math courses in a state community college system reduces course pass rates, retention, and degree attainment. These results suggest the need for caution in using the emporium model with students who are less academically prepared for college. The second and third essays explore the long-run impacts of admission to a state’s four-year public college sector. Leveraging the GPA- and SAT-based admissions thresholds for four-year public colleges in Massachusetts, I use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of four-year public college admission on a range of economic and civic outcomes for low-income students and students of color. In the second essay, I find admission to in-state four-year public colleges increases applicants’ mean annual earnings by almost $8,000 eight to fourteen years after applying. Using student-level cost and aid data, I also find students experience large private returns to admission, and the state recovers the cost of admitting an additional student at the admissions threshold through increased lifetime tax revenues. The third essay focuses on the civic consequences of admission to the four-year public sector. Linking college application records to voting records, I find admission to four-year public colleges increases both voter registration and turnout by the time applicants are 24-31 years old. Together, these two chapters highlight the importance of access to the in-state four-year public college sector in promoting economic mobility and civic engagement.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365699
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