NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Christopher A. Neilson

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

July 2013Are Some Degrees Worth More than Others? Evidence from college admission cutoffs in Chile
with Justine S. Hastings, Seth D. Zimmerman: w19241
We use administrative data from Chile from 1985 through 2011 to estimate the returns to postsecondary admission as a function of field of study, course requirements, selectivity, and student socioeconomic status. Our data link high school and college records to labor market earnings from federal tax forms. We exploit hundreds of regression discontinuities from the centralized, score-based admissions system to estimate the causal impacts of interest. Returns are positive and significant only among more-selective degrees. Returns are highly heterogeneous by field of study, with large returns in health, law and social science, as well as selective technology and business degrees. We find small to negative returns in arts, humanities and education degrees. We do not find evidence that vocation...
October 2012The Gender Gap in Mathematics: Evidence from Low- and Middle-Income Countries
with Prashant Bharadwaj, Giacomo De Giorgi, David Hansen: w18464
We establish the presence of a gender gap in mathematics across many low- and middle-income countries using detailed, comparable test score data. Examining micro level data on school performance linked to household demographics we note that first, the gender gap appears to increase with age. Indeed, the gap nearly doubles when comparing 4th grade and 8th grade test scores. Second, we test whether commonly proposed explanations such as parental background and investments, unobserved ability, and classroom environment (including teacher gender) explain a substantial portion of the gap. While none of these explanations help in substantially explaining the gender gap we observe, we show that boys and girls differ significantly in perceptions about their own ability in math, conditional on math...
August 2012The Effect of School Choice on Intrinsic Motivation and Academic Outcomes
with Justine S. Hastings, Seth D. Zimmerman: w18324
Using data on student outcomes and school choice lotteries from a low-income urban school district, we examine how school choice can affect student outcomes through increased motivation and personal effort as well as through improved school and peer inputs. First we use unique daily data on individual-level student absences and suspensions to show that lottery winners have significantly lower truancies after they learn about lottery outcomes but before they enroll in their new schools. The effects are largest for male students entering high school, whose truancy rates decline by 21% in the months after winning the lottery. We then examine the impact attending a chosen school has on student test score outcomes. We find substantial test score gains from attending a charter school and some ev...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us