Essays on the Economics of Education
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CitationBacher-Hicks, Andrew. 2020. Essays on the Economics of Education. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation includes three essays in the field of economics of education. The first essay estimates the impact of New York City's stop and frisk policing strategy on student's long-run educational attainment. Leveraging the quasi-random movement of New York City police commanders across police precincts, we first show that a commander's predicted effect on stops--based only on data from other precincts--is highly predictive of police stops after that commander enters a new precinct. Increases in students' exposure to police stops has negative effects on their high school graduation, college enrollment, and college persistence. These negative effects are concentrated among black students, the racial group overwhelmingly stopped by police. However, we also find increases in overall school safety and evidence of positive spillovers for white and Asian students, who are less likely to interact with the police directly.
The second essay estimates the impact of school suspensions on students' long-run educational attainment and involvement with the criminal justice system. Using exogenous variation in school assignment caused by a large and sudden boundary change and a supplementary design based on principal switches, we show that schools with higher suspension rates have substantial negative long-run impacts. Students assigned to a school that has a one standard deviation higher suspension rate are 15 to 20 percent more likely to be arrested and incarcerated as adults. We also find negative impacts on educational attainment. The negative impacts of attending a high suspension school are largest for males and minorities.
The third essay estimates the impact of retirement incentives on teacher turnover and workforce composition. Relying on sharp changes in retirement benefit eligibility at key age-service thresholds, I find that teachers' retirement decisions are highly responsive to benefit schedules: retirement eligibility increases turnover by approximately 120 percent. Approximately 93 percent of teachers who retire are replaced the following school year, an estimate that is not statistically significantly different from full replacement. However, turnover in year t also increases turnover in year t+1, suggesting that retirement incentives can create a turnover cycle that lasts several years, particularly in low-income schools.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365891
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