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Title:Essays on the economics of education, gender, and public policy
Author(s):Shaat, Dana
Director of Research:Forsythe, Eliza
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Forsythe, Eliza
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Weinstein, Russell; Powers, Elizabeth T; Lubotsky, Darren
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Labor Economics
Higher Education
Human Capital
Community College
Articulation Agreements
Women's Colleges
College Major
Peer Effects
Outside Options
Gender Wage Gap
Abstract:This dissertation consists of three papers that, together, analyze the impacts of education and/or workplace policies on student/worker outcomes, with an emphasis on gender and non-traditional higher education paths. In chapter 1, I study the effects of statewide credit transfer policies on community college enrollment, degree attainment, and transfers into public four-year institutions. Community colleges provide entry points to higher education for 42 percent of undergraduates. To facilitate and encourage transfers, states have enacted statewide articulation laws, which mandate the development of formal transfer agreements between community colleges and public, four-year institutions. In this paper, I estimate the direct effects of statewide articulation, namely whether they increase transfers from community colleges, and the indirect effects, whether they change student enrollment and degree attainment choices. I show evidence that statewide articulation laws did not increase transfers, but increased community college enrollment, and non-vocational associate's degree attainment. To investigate the effects of articulation agreements on transfers into four-year public universities, I collect community college transfer data from the state of California. My findings show that California's STAR act did not significantly increase transfers from California Community Colleges to California State University campuses. I further exploit a quasi-experiment wherein states implement articulation policies over multiple years, and find a statistically significant long-run 20 percent increase in enrollment at community colleges. This effect is driven by students' substituting away from less competitive four-year institutions. I also find a 17.4 percent increase in non-vocational associate's degrees awarded. In chapter 2, co-authored with Avery Calkins, Ariel Binder, and Brenden Timpe, we study the impacts of gendered peer environments on women's college major choices. We leverage variation in the timing of women's colleges' transition to coeducation throughout the 1960s-2000s to study how exposure to a gendered social environment affects women's human capital investments. Applying event study and synthetic control analyses to newly collected historical data, we find that the share of women majoring in STEM at newly coeducational colleges declined by 2.0 percentage points (24%) after ten years of coeducation. Coeducation induced a large increase in the male share of the student body, but did not measurably influence the male share of faculty, capacity constraints, or the ability composition of female students. A simple extrapolation of our main estimate suggests that gendered peer effects can account for 34% of the gender gap in STEM majoring. These findings support the hypothesis that non-pecuniary factors, related to social norms and gender roles, shape gender gaps in the major choice that in turn perpetuate the gender wage gap. In chapter 3, co-authored with Russell Weinstein, we study the effects of outside options on worker's wages. In particular, we examine the probability that a worker's wage increases, which we proxy with a worker appearing as one of the five highest-paid employees in their firm, after experiencing an outside opening. We focus on the orchestra setting where vacancies are rare, making it possible to identify meaningful changes in outside options. Furthermore, the nature of the classical musician industry makes it so that we can identify the relevant set of outside options for each musician in the orchestra. Using data from orchestra rosters and wage data from orchestra tax forms (Form 990), we estimate an event-study model and find evidence that musicians are 1.1 percentage points more likely to appear as one of the five highest-paid employees in their orchestra within two years after they experience an opening for their instrument-position in another orchestra, relative to the year before the opening. However, this result is not statistically significant. Workers who have been in the orchestra for 10-19 years experience a statistically significant 3.69 percentage point increase, which is also statistically significantly larger than the effect for musicians with 0-9 years of tenure.
Issue Date:2021-04-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Dana Shaat
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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