Most of us understand that investments in early childhood education matter. Quality education early in life not only leads to higher educational attainment, and typically increased learning, but also enables other positive outcomes—such as increased wages. Despite this broad understanding, important caveats exist.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the North East Universities Development Consortium (NEUDC) conference. I presented my paper on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries (working paper available here and presentation slides here). It was an excellent conference and a wonderful experience (not least of which because Cornell University kind-of feels like Hogwarts).
A couple weekends ago, my department (Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota) hosted the Midwest International Economic Development Conference (MIEDC). It is a smaller conference with tremendous quality of presentations. Despite this, many are not able to attend the conference or even all of the sessions. As a service to those interested, a few colleagues and I posted a recap of the 2018 MIEDC on the Economics That Really Matters blog.
Economists love to repeat (over and over) that incentives matter. This leads to one way of examining differences in educational achievement by investigating differences in the return to education among different people. The logic goes as follows: If people like me don’t tend to land high-paying or satisfying jobs after completing some level of education, then why would I expend the resources to attain that education level? In short, for some people, the costs of attaining higher levels of education may exceed the benefits. This is a really simple model of decision making, so it is worth asking: Is this really how people make decisions in the real world?
A new working paper, by Daniel Hungerman, Kevin Rinz, and Jay Frymark, entitled, “Beyond the Classroom: The Implications of School Vouchers for Church Finances“, was just released via the NBER working paper series. Although the paper still needs to be peer reviewed, I think it provides valuable insight. Here is the abstract (emphasis added):