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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Does More Information, Like Releasing Test Scores, Improve Schools? Yes, But Not All

school performance

The use of school accountability systems is becoming increasingly popular as a way of changing school behavior to improve school performance. School accountability systems can be divided into two broad categories: soft and hard accountability systems. Soft accountability systems provide information about school performance to parents, students, and the schools themselves, which can influence school behavior. Hard accountability systems tie rewards and punishments to school performance, directly affecting incentives faced by schools. A new study looks at the effect of releasing information about school performance on future performance.
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You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know: Teachers’ Lack of Knowledge Hampers Student Learning in Sub-Saharan Africa

Most children in Sub-Saharan Africa are enrolled in school these days, but for reasons not well understood, they learn very little. Previous research has shown that a lack of physical resources, such as textbooks and flip charts, cannot explain these low levels of achievement. New study finds that when teachers lack knowledge, their students fall behind.
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Study Finds Wives Often Lose When Husbands Take Social Security Early

Potential survivor benefits when husband claims at age 68, actual claiming choices, and potential survivor benefits that maximize household benefits

Social Security provides a large portion of household income in old age. Most women receive at least some Social Security benefits over their lifetime based upon their husbands’ work record, and this will continue even as women are more attached to the labor market and receive higher wages. Unfortunately for many wives, the age her husband begins receiving Social Security benefits can have a spillover effect and also impact her lifetime benefits.
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Children’s Self-Portraits Show that Child Sponsorship Increases Hope

Child poverty illustrated by children: draw yourself in the rain

The role of psychological attributes such as hope and self-efficacy in escaping poverty has attracted increasing attention among economists, policy-makers, and development practitioners. Researchers recently borrowed a technique from clinical psychology to learn what self-portraits can tell us about the effectiveness of a child sponsorship program in the slums of Jakarta.
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