Understanding Working Hours—Can We Rely on Worker-Recalled Data?

Estimation of labor supply elasticities

Economists need to understand workers’ reported working hours to develop sound policies related to the labor market, such as income-tax systems, childcare programs, and universal basic-income schemes. In a new study, Garry Barrett (University of Sydney) and Daniel Hamermesh (Barnard College) asked: How well do workers report their hours? Do we really have an accurate understanding of the labor supply?
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Teacher Effects beyond the Test

Though many studies have shown that teachers have large effects on student achievement, we know little about the degree to which teachers affect a broader set of student outcomes. Using data from six large school districts, Matthew A. Kraft (Brown University) estimated how teachers affect a range of student skills and competencies beyond those measured by multiple-choice tests.
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A Two-Child Limit Imposed on Political Candidates in India—Does It Work?

probability of third child and sex ratio before and after two-child policy

In India, policy-makers have looked to population control as a means of increasing resources per capita and reducing widespread poverty. Since 1992, eleven Indian states have experimented with restricting elected village council positions to candidates with two or fewer children. The hope is that leaders with small families would inspire their constituents to follow suit. In a new study, researchers S. Anukriti (Boston College) and Abhishek Chakravarty (University of Manchester) found the policy was effective in reducing family sizes, but it worsened the sex ratio as families favored boys.
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When Families Want Sons, Do Daughters Get an Education?

Gender bias in families is evident in many regions, but the evidence to date does not allow us to fully understand its effects. Stacy H. Chen (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, GRIPS), Yen-Chien Chen (Chi-Nan University, Taiwan), and Jin-Tan Liu (National Taiwan University and NBER) studied the educational outcomes of children in more than 965,000 families in Taiwan to better understand the experiences of daughters and sons.
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Financial Aid Accelerates College Graduation

college student

Financial aid can affect who goes to college. But how does financial aid affect students already in college who would attend even without the aid? In a new study, Jeffrey T. Denning (Brigham Young University) examines the effect of additional financial aid on these students. He finds that additional aid speeds up graduation for university seniors and increases persistence to the next year for sophomores and juniors.
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Preschool and Parents’ Reactions in a Developing Country: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment in Cambodia

preschool boy

Studies from low-, middle-, and high-income countries show that children brought up in a more favorable early environment benefit in the long run. They are healthier, taller, have higher cognitive ability and educational attainment, and earn significantly higher wages. As a result, preschool construction programs are often assumed to hold considerable promise to increase school readiness while reducing socioeconomic gaps in human capital development. Researchers Adrien Bouguen (University of Mannheim), Deon Filmer (World Bank), Karen Macours (Paris School of Economics and INRA), and Sophie Naudeau (World Bank) examined a school construction project in Cambodia to see if this kind of effort had the desired results. They found that a poor understanding of parent response may be at the heart of the program’s disappointing results.
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Job Corps Improves Earnings, Employment, and Use of Public Benefits…Even for Eligible Nonparticipants

Job Corps effects

Government-sponsored job training programs are believed to be essential to improve the job prospects of economically disadvantaged citizens and reduce dependence on safety net programs, but do they work? Job Corps is the main federal training program in the United States targeted at disadvantaged youth ages 16 to 24. Xuan Chen (Renmin University of China), Carlos A. Flores (California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo), and Alfonso Flores-Lagunes (Syracuse University) measure the effectiveness of Job Corps training and find a positive effect on three important outcomes—earnings, employment, and amount of public benefits received.
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Head Start’s Long-Run Impact

Head Start impact

Because experiences in early childhood are known to influence child development, preschool programs are often viewed as policy interventions with the most potential to improve the prospects of children from low-income families. In a new study, Owen Thompson (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) examined the impact of Head Start on a variety of socioeconomic outcomes for participants through age 48.
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AP Exam Scores Impact College Major Choice

students and AP scores

The choice of college major can have big implications for students’ long-term outcomes, such as lifetime earnings, but researchers have limited evidence on what helps shape this decision. New research by Christopher Avery (Harvard University), Oded Gurantz (Stanford University, College Board), Michael Hurwitz (College Board), and Jonathan Smith (Georgia State University) examined how Advanced Placement (AP), a national program that exposes high school students to a college-level curriculum, shapes students’ choice of college major.
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