Category THE PATH FROM CAUSE TO EFFECT

Public-Private Face-Off

The C&B data set includes more than 14,000 former students. These students were admitted and rejected at many different combinations of schools (C&B asked for the names of at least three schools students considered seriously, besides the one attended). Many of the possible application/acceptance sets in this data set are represented by only a single student. Moreover, in some sets with more than one student, all schools are either public or private. Just as with groups C and D in Table 2.1. these perfectly homogeneous groups provide no guidance as to the value of a private education.

We can increase the number of useful comparisons by deeming schools to be matched if they are equally selective instead of insisting on identical matches...

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The Wages of Schooling

Legend tells of a legendary econometrician whose econometric skills were the stuff of legend.

Masters at Work

This chapter completes our exploration of paths from cause to effect with a multifaceted

investigation of the causal effect of schooling on wages. Good questions are the foundation of our work, and the question of whether increased education really increases earnings is a classic. Masters have tackled the schooling question with all tools in hand, except, ironically, random assignment. The answers they’ve fashioned are no less interesting for being incomplete.

6.1 Schooling, Experience, and Earnings

British World War II veteran Bertie Gladwin dropped out of secondary school at age 14, though he still found work as a radio communication engineer in the British intelligence service...

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The Charter Conundrum

interviewer: Have your mom and dad told you about the lottery?

daisy: The lottery… isn’t that when people play and they win money?

Waiting for Superman, 2010

The release of Waiting for Superman, a documentary film that tells the story of applicants to charter schools in New York and California, intensified an already feverish debate over American education policy. Superman argues that charter schools offer the best hope for poor minority students who would otherwise remain at inner city public schools, where few excel and many drop out.

Charter schools are public schools that operate with considerably more autonomy than traditional American public schools...

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In Sickness and in Health (Insurance)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has proven to be one of the most controversial and interesting policy innovations we’ve seen. The ACA requires Americans to buy health insurance, with a tax penalty for those who don’t voluntarily buy in. The question of the proper role of government in the market for health care has many angles. One is the causal effect of health insurance on health. The United States spends more of its GDP on health care than do other developed nations, yet Americans are surprisingly unhealthy. For example, Americans are more likely to be overweight and die sooner than their Canadian cousins, who spend only about two-thirds as much on care. America is also unusual among developed countries in having no universal health insurance scheme...

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Fuzzy RD Is IV

In a regression rite of passage, social scientists around the world link student achievement to the average ability of their schoolmates. Such regressions reliably reveal a strong association between the performance of students and the achievement of their peers. Among all Boston exam school applicants, a regression of students’ seventh-grade math scores on the average fourth-grade scores of their seventh-grade classmates generates a coefficient of about one-quarter...

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Regressions Run

We start with regression estimates of the private school earnings advantage from models with no controls. The coefficient from a regression of log earnings (in 1995) on a dummy for private school attendance, with no other regressors (right-hand side variables) in the model, gives the raw difference in log earnings between those who attended a private school and everyone else (the chapter appendix explains why regression on a single dummy variable produces a difference in means across groups defined by the dummy). Not surprisingly, this raw gap, reported in the first column of Table 2.2. shows a substantial private school premium. Specifically, private school students are estimated to have earnings about 14% higher than the earnings of other students.

The numbers that appear in parentheses ...

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