I investigate how mandates to teach personal finance education in high school affect federal student loan repayment outcomes after college. To overcome a lack of quality borrower level data, I use the College Scorecard database to estimate how university level student loan repayment metrics change due to increased exposure to personal finance education mandates. Exposure to mandates is driven by two sources of variation: changes in state mandate status and migration of high school students to colleges. I find that cohorts more exposed to personal finance education mandates have better student loan repayment rates and this effect is largest for first generation and low income students at public universities. I find little evidence that low income and first generation students bound by a state mandate reduce student loan borrowing and mandated students are no more financially literate than non-mandated students. However, I present evidence that students bound by personal finance mandates are better able to answer questions pertaining to institutional details of the federal loan system.
Media Coverage: Policy Genius
We exploit the partial deregulation of New York City taxi medallions to provide a causal estimate of the impact of taxi supply on congestion. We employ taxi trip records to measure historical street-level speed. We find that the roll-out of newly authorized taxis caused a local 8-9\% decrease in speed. We estimate an empirical congestion elasticity curve from heterogeneous changes in speed and taxi supply, counted from aerial orthoimagery. Additionally, we provide novel urban sensor data to document a substantial traffic slowdown since 2013. Most of the slowdown in midtown Manhattan is accounted for by new supply from ridehail applications.
I estimate the impact of a supplemental nutrition intervention on math and language arts test scores at low income elementary schools in the Mississippi Delta. The intervention provided meals to students to replicate school breakfast and lunch over the weekend. Using a difference-in-differences design, I estimate the effect of the intervention on the mean and the distribution of test scores. I find that treated students performed better on both language arts and math standardized tests. The average gains stem from a reduction in the share of students achieving at the lowest threshold and shifts towards higher thresholds. I also use a triple-difference design using administrative attendance data to test whether students are less likely to be absent from school. I find improvements in attendance that are suggestive of improved weekend nutrition. I find no compelling evidence of a persistent effect in the year after intervention.
We examine the predictors of both long-term expectations of self-employment and future self-employment activities and earnings among the same individuals, with a particular focus on gender differences and the roles of non-cognitive skills. Using longitudinal data from the GMAT Registrant Survey, which includes prospective graduate management students, our analysis involves wide-ranging and novel sets of variables, including work-life balance and job preferences, self-efficacy, confidence, and other non-cognitive skills or characteristics. We find notable differences in the drivers of self-employment and self-employment expectations between men and women, and also large differences in the set of variables that relate to self-employment intentions versus future self-employment outcomes. While preferences for work-life balance matter more for men's expectations, preferences about non-monetary characteristics of the job, such as job security and interesting work, matter more for women. In contrast, regarding actual self-employment, only non-cognitive skills play a substantial role for women, while men are driven mostly by preferences over work-life balance. Confidence in one's quantitative skills influences self- employment decisions, especially for women, and it also affects success in both the self-employed and the traditionally employed sectors, as reflected in earnings.
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