Weili Ding

Queens University
138 Union Street
Sutherland Hall
Ontario K7L 3N6
Tel: 613-533-6000x78784
Fax: 613-533-2135

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2014Understanding the Role of Time-Varying Unobserved Ability Heterogeneity in Education Production
with Steven F. Lehrer: w19937
Unobserved ability heterogeneity has long been postulated to play a key role in human capital development. Traditional strategies to estimate education production functions do not allow for varying role or development of unobserved ability as a child ages. Such restrictions are highly inconsistent with a growing body of scientific evidence; moreover, in order to obtain unbiased parameter estimates of observed educational inputs, researchers must properly account for unobserved skills that may be correlated with other inputs to the production process. To illustrate our empirical strategy we use experimental data from Tennessee's Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio experiment, known as Project STAR. We find that unobserved ability is endogenously developed over time and its impact on cognitive...

Published: Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F., 2014. "Understanding the role of time-varying unobserved ability heterogeneity in education production," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 55-75. citation courtesy of

August 2009Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multi-Period Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions
with Steven F. Lehrer: w15200
This paper introduces an empirical strategy to estimate dynamic treatment effects in randomized trials that provide treatment in multiple stages and in which various noncompliance problems arise such as attrition and selective transitions between treatment and control groups. Our approach is applied to the highly influential four year randomized class size study, Project STAR. We find benefits from attending small class in all cognitive subject areas in kindergarten and the first grade. We do not find any statistically significant dynamic benefits from continuous treatment versus never attending small classes following grade one. Finally, statistical tests support accounting for both selective attrition and noncompliance with treatment assignment.

Published: Weili Ding & Steven F Lehrer, 2010. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Contaminated Multiperiod Education Experiments: The Dynamic Impacts of Class Size Reductions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 31-42, 06. citation courtesy of

June 2006The Impact of Poor Health on Education: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers
with Steven F. Lehrer, J. Niels Rosenquist, Janet Audrain-McGovern: w12304
This paper examines the influence of health conditions on academic performance during adolescence. To account for the endogeneity of health outcomes and their interactions with risky behaviors we exploit natural variation within a set of genetic markers across individuals. We present strong evidence that these genetic markers serve as valid instruments with good statistical properties for ADHD, depression and obesity. They help to reveal a new dynamism from poor health to lower academic achievement with substantial heterogeneity in their impacts across genders. Our investigation further exposes the considerable challenges in identifying health impacts due to the prevalence of comorbid health conditions and endogenous health behaviors.

Published: Ding, W., S. Lehrer, N. Rosenquist and J. Audrain-McGovern. "The Impact of Poor Health on Academic Performance: New Evidence Using Genetic Markers." Journal of Health Economics 28, 3 (May 2009): 578-597.

Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?
with Steven F. Lehrer: w12305
Peer effects have figured prominently in debates on school vouchers, desegregation, ability tracking and anti-poverty programs. Compelling evidence of their existence remains scarce for plaguing endogeneity issues such as selection bias and the reflection problem. This paper firmly establishes a link between peer performance and student achievement, using a unique dataset from China. We find strong evidence that peer effects exist and operate in a positive and nonlinear manner; reducing the variation of peer performance increases achievement; and our semi-parametric estimates clarify the tradeoffs facing policymakers in exploiting positive peers effects to increase future achievement.

Published: Weili Ding & Steven F Lehrer, 2007. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 300-312, 02. citation courtesy of

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