Job Market Paper
Abstract: Gentrification has reshaped many of America’s largest cities in recent decades. While it has been linked to improvements in neighborhood consumption and environmental amenities, the extent to which these positive effects spill into local public schools, a neighborhood amenity vital to the well-being of child residents, is an open empirical question. After matching Census tracts to attendance zones for public elementary schools in New York City, I use detailed school-, grade-, and tract-level data and a natural experiment that spurred gentrification in part of the city to estimate the causal effects of gentrification on outcomes for neighborhood schools. Using an instrumental variables approach to address the endogeneity of gentrification, I find that gentrification reduces math and English language arts test scores by 0.14 and 0.09 standard deviations on average, respectively. I find no statistically significant effect of gentrification on class sizes, school expenditures per pupil, or student demographic characteristics. In contrast, most of the effect on academic performance can be explained by 5% increase in absence rates conditional on changes to school and student characteristics. Lastly, I provide evidence that decreased access to healthcare, measured by the number of healthcare facilities per capita, in gentrifying attendance zones is a possible mechanism for the increased absences.
(with Audrey Light)
Abstract: We ask whether estimated wage payoffs to college majors change when we account for skills acquired in college by including college major dummies and detailed coursework measures in log-wage models. Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we find that students in all majors differ considerably in the percentage of credits taken within-major, as well as in their overall credit distributions. When credit distributions are taken into account in modeling log-wages, estimated coefficients for college majors often fall by 50% or more. Moreover, estimated log-wage gaps between select pairs of majors often change by orders of magnitude depending on whether we compare individuals whose overall credit distributions correspond to obtaining a low, medium, or high level of credit concentration within the major.
Abstract: Even as economic incentives are increasingly used by policymakers to spur state and local economic development, their use is controversial among the public and academics. We examine whether state and local incentives lead to higher rates of business start-ups in metropolitan counties. Existing research indicates that start-ups are important for supporting (net) job creation, long-term growth, innovation, and development. We find that incentives have a statistically significant, negative relationship with start-up rates in total and for some industries including export-based and others that often receive incentives. Our findings support critics who contend that incentives crowd out other economic activity, potentially reducing long-term growth. We also find that greater inter-sectoral job mobility is positively linked to total start-ups, consistent with claims of those who advocate for policies that enhance labor market flexibility via reducing barriers to job mobility.
Should English Majors Take Computer Science Courses? Labor Market Benefits of the Occupational Specificity of Major and Nonmajor College Credits
(with Audrey Light)
Abstract: Using detailed, student-level administrative data, we ask whether the labor market outcomes of four-year college graduates who choose majors that lack a vocational focus are positively associated with completed credits in vocationally-oriented, nonmajor courses. To do so, we model earnings and employment probabilities as functions of a credit-weighted index of the occupational specificity of college coursework, decomposed into within-major, within-discipline, and nondisciplinary components. We define the occupational specificity of each college field as the exogenous likelihood that a student majoring in that field subsequently works in an occupation requiring field-specific skills. Unfortunately, we are unable to present our findings at this time because the paper is currently under review by the data-providing agency, but a more detailed abstract and the paper will be posted as soon as the review process is complete.
Do Dynamic Business Environments Differentially Attract Highly and Less Educated Labor Force Participants? Evidence from the NLSY97
Abstract: Using individual-level, geocode data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth’s 1997 cohort, I identify the extent to which business dynamism, defined as rates of job creation and establishment entry, in local labor markets is related to the location decisions of recent labor market entrants, and I ask whether there are heterogeneous effects with respect to educational attainment. I find that a one standard deviation increase in the job creation rate is associated with a 2 percent increase in the probability a college graduate chooses a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and a 3 percent decrease in the probability a high school graduate with no college experience chooses an MSA. Similarly, I find that a one standard deviation increase in the establishment entry rate is associated with a 6 percent increase in the probability a college graduate chooses an MSA but has no effect on the residential location choice for less educated individuals. These relatively small effects support recent findings documenting a decrease in responsiveness of the population to local labor market conditions, especially among less educated Americans, since 2000 using aggregate data and suggest that incentivizing job creation in local labor markets may not be enough to offset the trend of declining internal migration in the United States.
Immigration, Educational Attainment, and Workforce Availability in Ohio
(with Mark Partridge)