Research

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Early to Rise? The Effect of Daily Start Times on Academic PerformanceEconomics of Education Review, Volume 31, Issue 6 (December), 2012, pp 970-983.


Abstract:  Local school districts often stagger daily start times for their schools in order to reduce busing costs. This paper uses data on all middle school students in Wake County, NC from 1999-2006 to study the impact of start times on academic performance. Using variation in start times within and across schools, I find that starting school one hour later leads to a three percentile point gain in both math and reading test scores. Using only variation in start times within schools over time, the effect is a two percentile point gain. I find evidence that later start times are associated with decreased absences, less time spent watching television and a greater amount of time spent on homework, indicating that these factors may explain why later starting students have higher test scores.

Do Schools Begin Too Early? Education Next, Summer 2012, pp. 52-57.


Other Research in Progress

Expectations of Future Subsidies and Educational Enrollment: Evidence from Progresa.

Abstract:  Poverty reduction programs are often evaluated using a structured rollout, where some households are randomly assigned to a control group that does not receive program benefits during an evaluation period. However, if members of the control group expect to receive program benefits in the future, they may modify their behavior during the evaluation period. I examine the case of Progresa, a conditional cash transfer system in rural Mexico with a structured rollout. Using a regression discontinuity research design, I estimate program impact on eligible households not yet receiving subsidies. I find that much of the impact of the subsidies is realized during the evaluation period (before subsidies are received), resulting in downward biased difference-in-differences estimates of program effectiveness.

The Effect of College Type on Income

Abstract:  Different types of colleges and universities can differ dramatically in the manner of undergraduate instruction.  However, little evidence exists on how college type affects earnings over time.  Using confidential data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979), I estimate the differential return to college type (as defined by the Carnegie Classifications).  I find that graduates of traditional liberal arts colleges have similar incomes to graduates of other types in the first ten years of their careers, but receive a wage premium of up to twenty-five percent in later years.  In contrast, graduates of professional oriented bachelor's colleges earn as much as twenty-nine percent less than other graduates throughout their careers, and Research I graduates receive a ten percent premium.  Results are similar for both regression models and propensity score matching methods. 


Book Reviews

Review of What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel. Faith and Economics, forthcoming. 


Non Refereed Publications

Robert Resek, Geoffrey Hewings, Darren Lubotsky, and Finley Edwards. ”The Impact of the University of Illinois on the Economy of Our State.” Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois. January 2009.