Job Market Paper
In the US, the bachelor's attainment rate of White high-socioeconomic status youth is much higher than the bachelor's attainment rate of Hispanic, Black, and low-socioeconomic status youth. This is true even among students with high academic scores. For high-scorers, how much of these gaps in bachelor's attainment can be explained by differences in subjective beliefs about own academic ability? Relatedly, Is targeting information and funding to low socioeconomic status high-scorers more efficient at narrowing overall bachelor's attainment gaps than universal policies like free college for all, or a tracking system in the US? To answer these questions, I estimate the distribution of subjective prior beliefs about own ability using self reported beliefs about college outcomes from the NLSY97 and a dynamic discrete choice model with heterogeneous financial support and beliefs about ability. I find that for Black high-scorers beliefs play almost no statistically significant role in explaining gaps. However, for Hispanic and low socioeconomic status youth, differences in beliefs explain 38-49% of the gap relative to White high-socioeconomic status high-scorers. In the policy analysis I show that the targeted policy is the most efficient at closing gaps and that it closes overall gaps in bachelor's attainment by 25% to 42% depending on the comparison group. This suggests representation in higher education can be increased through recruiting low socioeconomic high scorers, but inequality will persist with differences in early childhood human capital stock and non pecuniary utility.
The Racial/Ethnic Gap in Financial Literacy in the Population and by Income (with Luisa Blanco, Salvador Contreras, and Marcos Angrisani). Contemporary Economic Policy. September 2020.
Work in Progress
The Effect of Their Experiences During the Second World War on the Success of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans (with Andreas Ferrara, Price Fishback, and Misty Heggeness)
The Effect of Neighborhood Level Outcomes on Subjective Beliefs regarding School, Crime, Family Formation, and Labor Market Outcomes
(with Misty Heggeness)