Department of Education Policy
and Social Analysis
525 W. 120th Street
New York, NY 10027
NBER Program Affiliations:
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Columbia University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2020||Hiring as Exploration|
with , : w27736
This paper views hiring as a contextual bandit problem: to find the best workers over time, firms must balance “exploitation” (selecting from groups with proven track records) with “exploration” (selecting from under-represented groups to learn about quality). Yet modern hiring algorithms, based on “supervised learning” approaches, are designed solely for exploitation. Instead, we build a resume screening algorithm that values exploration by evaluating candidates according to their statistical upside potential. Using data from professional services recruiting within a Fortune 500 firm, we show that this approach improves the quality (as measured by eventual hiring rates) of candidates selected for an interview, while also increasing demographic diversity, relative to the firm's existing pr...
|May 2020||Housing Search Frictions: Evidence from Detailed Search Data and a Field Experiment|
with , : w27209
We randomized school quality information onto the listings of a nationwide housing website for low-income families. We use this variation and data on families' search and location choices to estimate a model of housing search and neighborhood choice that incorporates imperfect information and potentially biased beliefs. We find that imperfect information and biased beliefs cause families to live in neighborhoods with lower-performing, more segregated schools. Families underestimate school quality conditional on neighborhood characteristics. If we had ignored this information problem, we would have estimated that families value school quality relative to their commute downtown by half that of the truth.
|August 2019||Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice|
with , , , , : w26164
Low-income families in the United States tend to live in neighborhoods that offer limited opportunities for upward income mobility. One potential explanation for this pattern is that families prefer such neighborhoods for other reasons, such as affordability or proximity to family and jobs. An alternative explanation is that they do not move to high-opportunity areas because of barriers that prevent them from making such moves. We test between these two explanations using a randomized controlled trial with housing voucher recipients in Seattle and King County. We provided services to reduce barriers to moving to high-upward-mobility neighborhoods: customized search assistance, landlord engagement, and short-term financial assistance. Unlike many previous housing mobility programs, families...
|December 2018||Education for All? A Nationwide Audit Study of School Choice|
with : w25396
School choice may allow schools to impede access to students perceived as costlier to educate. To test this, we sent emails from fictitious parents to 6,452 charter schools and traditional public schools subject to school choice in 29 states and Washington, D.C. The fictitious parent asked whether any student is eligible to apply to the school and how to apply. Each email signaled a randomly assigned attribute of the child. We find that schools are less likely to respond to inquiries from students with poor behavior, low achievement, or a significant special need. Lower response rates to students with this special need are driven by charter schools. Otherwise, these results hold for traditional public schools, high value-added schools, including high-value added, urban charter schools.