NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2016||Shifting College Majors in Response to Advanced Placement Exam Scores|
with Christopher Avery, Michael Hurwitz, Jonathan Smith: w22841
Mapping continuous raw scores from millions of Advanced Placement examinations onto the 1 to 5 integer scoring scale, we apply a regression discontinuity design to understand how students’ choice of college major is impacted by receiving a higher integer score despite similar exam performance to students who earned a lower integer score. Attaining higher scores increases the probability that a student will major in that exam subject by approximately 5 percent (0.64 percentage points), with some individual exams demonstrating increases in major choice by as much as 30 percent. These direct impacts of a higher score explain approximately 11 percent of the unconditional 64 percent (5.7 percentage points) gap in the probability of majoring in the same subject as the AP exam when attaining a...
|June 2016||The Long Run Impacts of Merit Aid: Evidence from California’s Cal Grant|
with Eric Bettinger, Laura Kawano, Bruce Sacerdote: w22347
We examine the impacts of being awarded a Cal Grant, among the most generous state merit aid programs. We exploit variation in eligibility rules using GPA and family income cutoffs that are ex ante unknown to applicants. Cal Grant eligibility increases degree completion by 2 to 5 percentage points in our reduced form estimates. Cal Grant also induces modest shifts in institution choice at the income discontinuity. At ages 28-32, Cal Grant receipt increases by three percentage points the likelihood of living in California at the income discontinuity, and raises earnings by four percentage points at the GPA discontinuity.