The Department of Economics Microeconomics Seminar Series presents

"College Access, Initial College Choice and Degree Completion"
with Joshua Goodman, Assistant Professor, Harvard University

September 30, 2014
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza A, Room 3132

Estimating the impact of initial college choice on student outcomes is confounded by the non-random nature of college selection. Goodman identifies two new contexts where admission test score thresholds provide exogenous variation in access to four-year public colleges. He studies Georgia’s state university system, whose thresholds are known to students, as well as other colleges whose threshold use is hidden from students but can be detected in the data. Using the universe of SAT takers in the high school classes of 2004-07, a regression discontinuity design comparing the relatively low-skilled students just above and below these thresholds yields two main findings. First, access to these four-year public colleges diverts students from two-year colleges or lower quality four-year colleges. Second, access substantially increases bachelor’s degree completion rates, particularly for low-income students. This is strong evidence of a college choice effect, as access allows students to attend four-year colleges from which some are capable of graduating.

*Joint work with Michael Hurwitz and Jonathan Smith of the College Board

For further information, please contact Maria Hernandez, or 949-824-4834.

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