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Published Work


Working Papers

"Does Financial Aid Raise Political Participation?"

(with Igor Geyn[Working Paper]

Abstract: There is a long-standing positive association between educational attainment and political participation, but little research is able to identify whether public spending on higher education has positive civic externalities. We use data on 16.4 million FAFSAs filed since 2010 and a discontinuity in eligibility to estimate the impact of the United States' largest tuition-free 4-year college grant program on political participation. We find that each of the 2.6 million grants increases a student's voter turnout rate by 4 to 12 percentage points in the 2020 election, raising total voter turnout in the awarding state by roughly 1 percentage point. Suggestive evidence supports increased in-person time at a 4-year campus as the most compelling mechanism, implying that other education policies which increase 4-year college attendance or on campus housing may have similar effects.

"The Effect of Selective Colleges on Student Partisanship"

(Sole Author) [SOCAE 2022 Best Paper Award] [Working Paper]

Media Mentions: The Boston Globe, Marginal Revolution

Abstract: College-educated citizens are trending toward the political left across Western democracies, but the most politically powerful and left-leaning student bodies originate from a smaller number of highly selective institutions. Using data on over 250,000 applicants and a discontinuity in the University of California's admission rules, I estimate the impact of admissions to highly selective colleges in America's largest research university system on partisanship after college. Admissions to highly selective UC campuses reduce Republican registration and increase registration as independents or Democrats. Such admissions likewise raise primary election turnout, mostly through Democratic presidential contests. I use administrative data, surveys, and a poll of in-sample students to show that long-run mechanisms and on-campus peer socialization are plausible, but intentional efforts by faculty to influence their students are unlikely to explain these results.

"Help Really Wanted? The Impact of Age Stereotypes in Job Ads on Applications from Older Workers"

(with Ian Burn, Daniel Ladd, and David Neumark) [NBER Working Paper 30287]

Media Mentions: The Wall Street JournalForbesMarketWatch, Barron's 

Pilot Study: "Machine Learning and Perceived Age Stereotypes in Job Ads: Evidence from an Experiment" (with Ian Burn, Daniel Ladd, and David Neumark), Forthcoming at The Journal of Pension Economics and Finance

Abstract: Correspondence studies have found evidence of age discrimination in callback rates for older workers, but less is known about whether job advertisements can themselves shape the age composition of the applicant pool. We construct job ads for administrative assistant, retail, and security guard jobs, using language from real job ads collected in a prior large-scale correspondence study (Neumark et al., 2019a). We modify the job-ad language to randomly vary whether or not the job ad includes ageist language regarding age-related stereotypes. Our main analysis relies on machine learning methods to design job ads based on the semantic similarity between phrases in job ads and age-related stereotypes. In contrast to a correspondence study in which job searchers are artificial and researchers study the responses of real employers, in our research the job ads are artificial and we study the responses of real job searchers. We find that job-ad language related to ageist stereotypes, even when the language is not blatantly or specifically age-related, deters older workers from applying for jobs. The change in the age distribution of applicants is large, with significant declines in the average and median age, the 75th percentile of the age distribution, and the share of applicants over 40. Based on these estimates and those from the correspondence study, and the fact that we use real-world ageist job-ad language, we conclude that job-ad language that deters older workers from applying for jobs can have roughly as large an impact on the hiring of older workers as direct age discrimination in hiring.

Works in Progress

"The Impact and Incidence of Middle Class Tuition Relief" (Sole Author)

"The Impact of Online Learning on Human Capital Investment and Attainment: Evidence from Virginia Community Colleges" (with Di Xu and Xiaoyang Ye)

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