Working Papers

College Opportunity and Teen Fertility: Evidence from Ser Pilo Paga in Colombia

with Michael D. Bloem [Revision requested by Journal of Development Economics]

We study the effects of an increase in post-secondary educational opportunities on teen fertility by exploiting policy-induced variation from Ser Pilo Paga (SPP), a generous college financial aid program in Colombia that dramatically expanded college opportunities for low-income students. Our preferred empirical approach uses a triple difference design that leverages variation in the share of female students eligible for the program across municipalities and the fact that the introduction of SPP should not affect the education and fertility decisions of older women not targeted by the program. We find that after the introduction of SPP, fertility rates for women aged 15-19 years old decreased in more affected municipalities by about 6 percent relative to less affected municipalities. This effect accounts for approximately one-fourth of the overall decrease in teen fertility observed in the years following the program's announcement. Our results suggest that increasing economic opportunities through expanding college access can contribute to lowering teen fertility rates.

Career and Technical Education Alignment Across Five States

with Celeste K. Carruthers, Shaun Dougherty, Thomas Goldring, Daniel Kreisman, Roddy Theobald, and Carly Urban

We quantify alignment between high school career and technical education (CTE) and local labor markets across five states—Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, and Washington. We find that CTE is partially aligned with local labor markets. A 10-percentage-point increase in the share of local jobs most related to a given CTE career cluster is associated with a 3-point increase in CTE concentration in that cluster. Concentrators in business and service fields are more aligned with jobs requiring a college degree, whereas more technical students are more aligned with jobs that do not require college. Women and students from racial or ethnic minority groups are more aligned with college-level jobs than with HS-level jobs. We find more limited evidence of dynamic, short-term adjustments in CTE after changes in local labor markets. Realignment lags the labor market by two-to-three years, is less than one-for-one, and is only observed following changes in college-level employment.

Who Takes High-Earning CTE Pathways? 

with Celeste K. Carruthers, Shaun Dougherty, Thomas Goldring, Daniel Kreisman, Roddy Theobald, and Carly Urban

High school students in career and technical education (CTE) select concentration areas that map to almost every occupation in the modern U.S. economy. Some fields have much higher potential earnings than others. We study CTE enrollment patterns across four states and one large metro area to assess if potential pay arising from students’ CTE fields foreshadows longstanding inequities in the labor market. Findings suggest that women concentrate in fields linked to jobs with 7-20% lower pay, a range that includes the actual U.S. gender pay gap. We also find evidence of disparities in potential pay by race, ethnicity, family income, and disability identification, although these are much smaller and less consistent across locations than the gender gap. 

Policy Reports and Other Works

The Effect of Passing a CTE Technical Assessment on College Enrollment (with Daniel Kreisman and Béla Figge)

High school CTE in the Atlanta Metro Region: An overview focused on access and equity (with Daniel Kreisman)