Department of Economics
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
Institutional Affiliation: Georgia State University
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2019||School Bus Emissions, Student Health, and Academic Performance|
with Wes Austin, Garth Heutel: w25641
Diesel emissions from school buses expose children to high levels of air pollution; retrofitting bus engines can substantially reduce this exposure. Using variation from 2,656 retrofits across Georgia, we estimate effects of emissions reductions on district-level health and academic achievement. We demonstrate positive effects on respiratory health, measured by a statewide test of aerobic capacity. Placebo tests on body mass index show no impact. We also find that retrofitting districts see significant test score gains in English and smaller gains in math. Results suggest that engine retrofits can have meaningful and cost-effective impacts on health and cognitive functioning.
Published: Wes Austin & Garth Heutel & Daniel Kreisman, 2019. "School Bus Emissions, Student Health and Academic Performance," Economics of Education Review, . citation courtesy of
|November 2018||Designed to Fail: Effects of the Default Option and Information Complexity on Student Loan Repayment|
with James C. Cox, Susan Dynarski: w25258
We ask why so few student loan borrowers enroll in Income Driven Repayment when the majority would benefit from doing so. To do so we run an incentivized laboratory experiment using a facsimile of the government’s Student Loan Exit Counseling website. We test the role information complexity, uncertainty about earnings, and the default option play. We show that despite an ex ante optimal choice, the majority choose, or are defaulted into, a plan that offers no protection against default. We find the default option is a driver of this phenomenon, suggesting the government has an easy policy lever to lower default rates – change the default plan.
|September 2017||Vocational and Career Tech Education in American High Schools: The Value of Depth Over Breadth|
with Kevin Stange: w23851
Vocational education is a large part of the high school curriculum, yet we have little understanding of what drives vocational enrollment or whether these courses help or harm early careers. To address this we develop a framework for curriculum choice, taking into account ability and preferences for academic and vocational work. We test model predictions using detailed transcript and earnings information from the NLSY97. Our results are two-fold. First, students positively sort into vocational courses, suggesting the belief that low ability students are funneled into vocational coursework is unlikely true. Second, we find higher earnings among students taking more upper-level vocational courses – a nearly 2% wage premium for each additional year, yet we find no gain from introductory vocat...