Friday, November 7, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Dona Ana (Convention Center)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Joseph Sabia, University of New Hampshire
Panel Chairs: Alison Jacknowitz, American University
Discussants: Christine P. Durrance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The four papers in our session examine the role of education policies and learning environment on human capital acquisition. The first paper uses an experimental design to estimate the effect of an affirmative action program on mathematics test scores of junior high school students. Their findings suggest that a quota treatment program substantially increases test scores of disadvantaged students relative to a “color blind” program. The second paper estimates the effect of state anti-bullying laws on school safety, student psychological well-being, and student test scores using repeated cross-sections of the State Youth Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (YRBS). Preliminary difference-in-difference estimates suggest that failing to account for differential trends in student well-being in states that adopted anti-bullying laws would lead one to erroneously conclude that state anti-bullying laws adversely affect human capital acquisition of students. The third paper examines the effect of weekend feeding programs, which provide children with food at school on Fridays to sustain them through the weekend, on student performance on end-of-year exams, school attendance, and behavioral incidents. Using data from the North Carolina Education Research Data Center and from "BackPack" programs serving Northwestern North Carolina, this study uses a difference-in-difference approach to examine the effect of reducing food insecurity on these schooling outcomes. The final paper uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 to investigate the influence of a household adding or losing an adult on parental involvement. The study will use student fixed effects models to control for time-invariant family and child-level unobservables that could have confounded previous studies’ cross-sectional estimates. Taken together, this session will inform policymakers on the impact of education policies and student learning environments on academic performance.