Job Market Paper

"The Consequences of Sorting for Understanding School Quality" [Job Market Paper] 

ABSTRACT: I study the sorting of students to school districts using new lottery data from an inter-district school choice program in Massachusetts. I find that moving to a more preferred school district increases student math scores by 0.16 standard deviations. The program also generates positive effects on coursework quality, high-school graduation, and college attendance. Motivated by these findings, I develop a rich model of treatment effect heterogeneity and estimate it using a new empirical-Bayes-type procedure that leverages non-experimental data to increase precision in quasi-experimental designs. I use the heterogeneous effects to examine Roy selection into the choice program. Students who would be negatively impacted by the program are both less likely to apply and, conditional on taking up an offer to enroll, they are more likely to subsequently return to their home district. I find that this selection drives almost all of the program evaluation treatment effect identified with the lottery. The fact that families sort students to school districts according to potential benefit suggests that research relying on school choice lotteries to learn about differences in school quality may lack any broad claim to external validity. 

My job market paper will be publicly available after a review is completed at the Massachusetts Department of Education (expected mid-October). If you would like more information prior to that time, please send me an e-mail.

Working Papers

Works in Progress

"Teacher Quality and Charter School Outcomes" (joint with Joshua Cowen, Scott Imberman, and Marcus A. Winters)

"Treatment Effects at the Quantile" (Joint with Juan Carvajal) [Updated October 2015]

"The Geography of Gang Violence" 

"Gender Composition and Voting Strategies in U.S. City Councils" (joint with Thea How-Choon and Anna Weber)