NBER Publications by Lesley J. Turner

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April 2015The Impact of Tuition Increases on Undocumented College Students' Attainment
with Dylan Conger: w21135
We examine the impact of a temporary price shock on the attainment of undocumented college students enrolled in a large urban college system. In spring 2002, the City University of New York reversed its policy of charging in-state tuition to undocumented students. By fall 2002, the state legislature restored in-state rates. Using a differences-in-differences identification strategy, we estimate impacts on reenrollment, credits, grades, and degree completion. The price shock led to an immediate 8 percent decrease in senior college students' enrollment. Senior college students who entered college the semester prior to the price shock experienced lasting reductions in attainment, including a 22 percent decrease in degree receipt. Conversely, among senior college students who been enrolled ...
January 2015Borrowing Trouble? Student Loans, the Cost of Borrowing, and Implications for the Effectiveness of Need-Based Grant Aid
with Benjamin M. Marx: w20850
We use regression discontinuity and regression kink designs to estimate the impact of need-based grant aid on the borrowing and educational attainment of students enrolled in a large public university system. Pell Grant aid substantially reduces borrowing: among students who would borrow in the absence of a Pell Grant, every dollar of Pell Grant aid crowds-out over $1.80 of loans. A simple model illustrates that our findings are consistent with students facing a fixed cost of incurring debt. The presence of such a fixed cost may lead to the unintended consequence of additional grant aid decreasing some students' attainment. Empirically, we rule out all but modest average impacts of Pell Grant aid on attainment, and we provide suggestive evidence of heterogeneous effects consistent with our...
December 2014All or Nothing? The Impact of School and Classroom Gender Composition on Effort and Academic Achievement
with Soohyung Lee, Seokjin Woo, Kyunghee Kim: w20722
We estimate the causal impact of school and classroom gender composition on achievement. We take advantage of the random assignment of Korean middle school students to single-sex schools, co-educational (coed) schools with single-sex classes, and coed schools with mixed-gender classes. Male students attending single-sex classes within coed schools score 0.10 of a standard deviation below male students in mixed-gender classes, and this achievement gap is entirely accounted for by classroom gender composition. Conversely, male students attending single-sex schools outperform their counterparts in mixed-gender classes by 0.15 of a standard deviation. The significant impact of single-sex schools on male students' achievement are not driven by classroom gender composition, but largely accounted...
December 2008Short Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality
with Jonah E. Rockoff: w14564
In November of 2007, the New York City Department of Education assigned elementary and middle schools a letter grade (A to F) under a new accountability system. Grades were based on numeric scores derived from student achievement and other school environmental factors such as attendance, and were linked to a system of rewards and consequences. We use the discontinuities in the assignment of grades to estimate the impact of accountability in the short run. Specifically, we examine student achievement in English Language Arts and mathematics (measured in January and March of 2008, respectively) using school level aggregate data. Although schools had only a few months to respond to the release of accountability grades, we find that receipt of a low grade significantly increased student ach...

Published: Jonah Rockoff & Lesley J. Turner, 2010. "Short-Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 119-47, November. citation courtesy of

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