Eric Bettinger

Eric Bettinger
Stanford University | SU · Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA)

About

74
Publications
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Publications

Publications (74)
Article
We examine whether virtual advising – college counseling using technology to communicate remotely – increases postsecondary enrollment in selective colleges. We test this approach using a sample of approximately 16,000 high-achieving, low- and middle-income students identified by the College Board and randomly assigned to receive virtual advising f...
Preprint
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Experimental studies rarely consider the shape and nature of the education production function, which is useful for deriving optimal levels of input substitution in increasingly resource constrained environments. Because of the rapid expansion of EdTech as a substitute for traditional learning around the world and against the backdrop of full-scale...
Article
Full-text available
Here we evaluate the potential for growth mindset interventions (which teach students that intellectual abilities can be developed) to inspire adolescents to be “learners”—that is, to seek out challenging learning experiences. In a previous analysis, the U.S. National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM) showed that a growth mindset could improve the...
Article
Full-text available
Peer effects are an important contributing factor in the learning process. Most of the prior literature on peer effects focuses on the characteristics of peers rather than examining the structure of peer networks. We attempt to measure not only the impact of peers but also the structure of the peer network. In particular we are interested in the ch...
Article
Pre‐college advising programs exist in most disadvantaged high schools throughout the United States. These programs supplement traditional advising by high school guidance counselors and attempt to help underrepresented and disadvantaged students overcome the complexities of the postsecondary admission and financial aid processes. Existing evidence...
Article
We examine the long- term impacts of California's state- based financial aid by tracking educational and labor force outcomes for up to 14 years after high school graduation. We identify program impacts by exploiting variation in eligibility rules using GPA and family income cutoffs that are ex ante unknown to applicants. Aid eligibility increases...
Article
An important goal of community colleges is to prepare students for the labor market. But are students aware of the labor market outcomes in different majors? And how much do students weigh labor market outcomes when choosing a major? In this study we find that less than 15% of a sample of community college students in California rank broad categori...
Article
Full-text available
Research by psychologists and economists demonstrates that many non-cognitive skills are malleable in both children and adolescents, but we have limited knowledge on what schools can do to foster these skills. In a field experiment requiring real effort, we investigate how schools can increase students’ perseverance in math by shaping students’ bel...
Article
Online college courses are a rapidly expanding feature of higher education, yet little research identifies their effects relative to traditional in-person classes. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that taking a course online, instead of in-person, reduces student success and progress in college. Grades are lower both for the course...
Article
Class size is a first-order consideration in the study of education cost and effectiveness. Yet little is known about the effects of class size on student outcomes in online college classes, even though online courses have become commonplace in many institutions of higher education. We study a field experiment in which college students were quasi-r...
Article
This paper measures the effects of collegiate class size on college retention and graduation. Class size is a perennial issue in research on primary and secondary schooling. However, few researchers have focused on the causal impacts of collegiate class size. Whereas college students have greater choice of classes, selection problems and nonrandom...
Article
Peers affect individual's productivity in the workforce, in education, and in other team-based tasks. Using large-scale language data from an online college course, we measure the impacts of peer interactions on student learning outcomes and persistence. In our setting, students are quasi-randomly assigned to peers, and as such, we are able to over...
Article
We examine graduate student teaching as an input to two production processes: the education of undergraduates and the development of graduate students themselves. Using fluctuations in full-time faculty availability as an instrument, we find undergraduates are more likely to major in a subject if their first course in the subject was taught by a gr...
Article
This article exploits a natural experiment to estimate the effects of need-based aid policies on first-year college persistence rates. In fall 2006, Ohio abruptly adopted a new state financial aid policy that was significantly more generous than the previous plan. Using student-level data and very narrowly defined sets of students, I estimate a dif...
Article
In 1998 the Norwegian government introduced a program that increased parents' incentives to stay home with children under the age of 3. Many eligible children had older siblings, and we investigate how this program affected the long-run educational outcomes of the older siblings. Using comprehensive administrative data, we estimate a difference-in-...
Article
This chapter discusses the collaboration between a national college access program, the National College Advising Corps (NCAC), and its research and evaluation team at Stanford University. NCAC is currently active in almost four hundred high schools and through the placement of a recent college graduate to serve as a college adviser provides necess...
Article
Low rates of college completion are a major problem in the United States. Less than 60 percent of students at four-year colleges graduate within six years, and at some colleges, the graduation rate is less than 10 percent. Additionally, many students enter higher education ill-prepared to comprehend college-level course material. Some estimates sug...
Article
College graduation rates often lag behind college attendance rates. One theory as to why students do not complete college is that they lack key information about how to be successful or fail to act on the information that they have. We present evidence from a randomized experiment which tests the effectiveness of individualized student coaching. Ov...
Article
Growing concerns about low awareness and take-up rates for government support programs like college financial aid have spurred calls to simplify the application process and enhance visibility. We present results from a randomized field experiment in which low-income individuals receiving tax preparation help were also offered immediate assistance a...
Article
Higher education is a gateway to economic mobility, and as the returns on college degrees have increased over time, so too the demand for higher education has increased among every socioeconomic group. Yet, after years of emphasizing college access, policymakers have become increasingly concerned with college completion. The reason is simple. While...
Article
International evidence on school choice largely focuses on educational voucher or voucher-like systems. The research to date primarily focuses on two complementary questions: what are the effects of school choice on students who exercise school choice? and what are the effects of school choice on the overall system that allows choice? In this chapt...
Article
This paper estimates treatment status specific peer effects that are not detected by widely-used approaches to the estimation of spillovers. In a field experiment conducted on college freshmen, we elicited friendship networks and offered monetary incentives for using the recreation center to a treated subset. We found that treated students with tre...
Article
Colleges rely on the ACT exam in their admission decisions to increase their ability to differentiate between students likely to succeed and those that have a high risk of under-performing and dropping out. We show that two of the four sub tests of the ACT, English and Mathematics, are highly predictive of positive college outcomes while the other...
Article
College completion and college success often lag behind college attendance. One theory as to why students do not succeed in college is that they lack key information about how to be successful or fail to act on the information that they have. We present evidence from a randomized experiment which tests the effectiveness of individualized student co...
Article
Full-text available
Higher education has increasingly relied on part-time, adjunct instructors. Critics argue that adjuncts reduce educational quality because they often have less education than full-time professors. On the other hand, by specializing in teaching or being concurrently employed, adjuncts could enhance learning experiences. This paper quantifies how adj...
Article
It is unclear if vouchers increase educational productivity or are purely redistributive, benefiting recipients by giving them access to more desirable peers at others’ expense. To examine this, we study an educational voucher programme in Colombia which allocated vouchers by lottery. Among voucher applicants to vocational schools, lottery winners...
Article
Policymakers and academics are increasingly interested in applying financial incentives to individuals in education. This paper presents evidence from a pay for performance program taking place in Coshocton, Ohio. Since 2004, Coshocton has provided cash payments to students in grades three through six for successful completion of their standardized...
Article
Full-text available
Growing concerns about low awareness and take-up rates for government support programs like college financial aid have spurred calls to simplify the application process and enhance visibility. This project examines the effects of two experimental treatments designed to test of the importance of simplification and information using a random assignme...
Article
Each year, thousands graduate high school academically underprepared for college. Many must take remedial or developmental postsecondary coursework, and there is a growing debate about the effectiveness of such programs. This paper examines the effects of remediation using a unique data set of over 28,000 students. To account for selection biases,...
Article
Subjects chose when they could first use financial rewards between choices 2 months apart. We manipulated the early reward date and whether participants took immediate possession. Quasi-hyperbolic discounting is rejected in favor of hyperbolic discounting without but not with possession.
Article
This paper estimates the risk preferences of cotton farmers in Southern Peru, using the results from a multiple-price-list lottery game. Assuming that preferences conform to two of the leading models of decision under risk--Expected Utility Theory (EUT) and Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT)--we find strong evidence of moderate risk aversion. Once we...
Article
ACADEMIC PREPARATION is an important predictor of success in college. Numerous studies link the types of courses students take in high school to their performance in higher education. Clifford Adelman (1999), for example, provides a detailed study of college access and degree completion among a cohort of students who were in the tenth grade in 1980...
Article
Full-text available
Colombia's PACES program provided over 125,000 poor children with vouchers that covered the cost of private secondary school. The vouchers were renewable annually conditional on adequate academic progress. Since many vouchers were assigned by lottery, program effects can reliably be assessed by comparing lottery winners and losers. Estimates using...
Article
Economic research examining how educational intervention programs affect primary and secondary schooling focuses largely on test scores although the interventions can affect many other outcomes. This paper examines how an educational intervention, a voucher program, affected students' altruism. The voucher program used a lottery to allocate scholar...
Article
Full-text available
Each year, thousands graduate high school academically underprepared for college. Many must take remedial or developmental postsecondary coursework, and there is a growing debate about the effectiveness of such programs. This paper examines the effects of remediation using a unique data set of over 28,000 students. To account for selection biases,...
Article
This paper demonstrates how economic field experiments may offer researchers a method to quickly assess policy outcomes that otherwise are difficult to measure. We compare lottery winners to losers of a privately run educational voucher program to measure the program’s effect on confidence. We measure confidence on academic ability using protocols...
Article
This paper estimates the effect of charter schools on both students attending them and students at neighboring public schools. Using school-level data from Michigan's standardized testing program, I compare changes in test scores between charter and public school students. I find that test scores of charter school students do not improve, and may a...
Article
This chapter explores the characteristics and features of remedial education at community colleges, examines participation in these courses, and reviews findings on the effects of remediation on student decisions and outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
Although women have matched or surpassed men in many educational outcomes, female students remain much less likely to major in quantitative, technical, and science-related fields. This under-representation may have serious implications for women's returns to education, occupational segregation, and earnings inequality. To address this problem, some...
Article
Full-text available
College and universities are increasingly using part-time, adjunct instructors on their faculties to facilitate greater fiscal flexibility. However, critics argue that the use of adjuncts is causing the quality of higher education to deteriorate. This paper addresses questions about the impact of adjuncts on student outcomes. Using a unique dataset...
Article
I modify the uniform-price auction rules in allowing the seller to ration bidders. This allows me to provide a strategic foundation for underpricing when the seller has an interest in ownership dispersion. Moreover, many of the so-called "collusive-seeming" equilibria disappear.
Article
Full-text available
Remediation is an important part of American higher education with approximately one-third of students requiring remedial or developmental courses. However, at an annual cost of over $1 billion for public colleges alone, policymakers have become critical of the practice. Despite the growing debate and the thousands of under prepared students who en...
Article
Full-text available
One of the most pronounced trends in higher education over the last decade has been the increased reliance on instructors outside of the traditional full-time, Ph.D.-trained model. Nearly 43 percent of all teaching faculty were part-time in 1998, and at selective colleges, graduate assistant instructors teach over 35 percent of introductory courses...
Article
Full-text available
Colombia’s PACES program provided over 125,000 poor children with vouchers that covered half the cost of private secondary school. The vouchers were renewable annually conditional on adequate academic progress. Since many vouchers were assigned by lottery, program effects can reliably be assessed by comparing lottery winners and losers. Estimates u...
Article
The Pell Grant program is the largest means-tested financial assistance available to postsecondary students across the United States, yet researchers have only limited evidence on the causal effects of these grants. This paper examines the effect of Pell grants on student persistence after the first year. The paper uses unique, student-level data f...
Article
This paper presents evidence on the impact of one of the largest school voucher programs to date, the Programa de Ampliacion de Cobertura de la Educacion Secundaria (PACES), a Colombian initiative that provided over 125,000 pupils with vouchers covering somewhat more than half the cost of private secondary school. Vouchers were renewable as long as...
Article
Full-text available
Colombia used lotteries to distribute vouchers which partially covered the cost of private secondary school for students who maintained satisfactory academic progress. Three years after the lotteries, winners were about 10 percentage points more likely to have finished 8th grade, primarily because they were less likely to repeat grades, and scored...
Article
Recent policy initiatives offer cash payments to children (and often their families) to induce better health and educational choices. These policies implicitly assume that children are especially impatient (i.e., have high discount rates); however, little is known about the nature of children's patience, how it varies across children, and whether c...
Article
The effectiveness of school vouchers to improve opportunities for disadvantaged students is hotly contested. We present evidence from a privately-run, educational voucher program in Toledo, Ohio. The program focused on low-income families with children in grades K-8 and used a lottery to randomly determine voucher recipients. Like other studies, we...
Article
One of the most pronounced trends in higher education over the last decade has been the increased reliance on adjunct professors. While proponents of adjuncts claim that they are e ssential t o maintaining first-rate universities in a tight fiscal environment, critics argue that using adjuncts deteriorates the quality of higher education. Surprisin...
Article
This paper exploits a natural experiment to estimate the effects of need-based aid policies on first year college persistence rates. In Fall 2006, Ohio abruptly adopted a new state financial aid policy which was significantly more generous than the previous plan. Using student-level data and very narrowly defined sets of students, I estimate a diff...