Thesis Corner: Annie Vela

Alex Shaw (AS): Annie, first, what was your thesis about? Annie Vela (AV):  My thesis was about US government changing allocation of funding from public prisons to public education. AS: How did you arrive at this topic? AV: When Kate (Stirling) asked us to start thinking of a topic over the summer, I started thinking about which of my economics classes I really enjoyed my Urban Economics class with Bruce Mann, which I loved. I’m very interested in how economic policy tangibly affects actual people. So I thought about topics that focused on people, and education is super important to Continue reading Thesis Corner: Annie Vela

Bribing Kids For Better Grades

Education is an investment for children. This is much more apparent in higher education as college students pay top dollar to get a degree that will hopefully provide them with a higher salary in the future. This reasoning still holds true for younger kids. Even through elementary school and high school, students offer up their time as opportunity cost for education. We know that as a society, we all profit from the external benefit that comes from education. But we also know that we value future benefits less than we value current benefits. So how can we encourage society to Continue reading Bribing Kids For Better Grades

Thesis Corner | Cydne Pope

A few weeks ago I talked about the details regarding the costs associated with products marketed to females versus males. This week I interviewed senior Cydne Pope whose thesis ties in very well and dives into the related topic of the social and economic consequences of gendered toys in America. She explores everything from the difference in cognitive ability that these toys promote to the future consequences of toy segregation. TS: What inspired you to choose this topic? CP: When deciding on a thesis topic, I always knew that I wanted to incorporate gender and gender differences into my paper Continue reading Thesis Corner | Cydne Pope

Goodhart’s Law and Standardized Tests

As the debate surrounding American education reform continues, more states are adopting a system of teacher evaluation that relies heavily (up to 50%) on their students’ standardized test scores. Considering the published studies showing correlations between increased test scores and student success in college and later in life, it’s not surprising that the Education Department has been encouraging school districts to adopt this new evaluation system. Eduardo Porter recently wrote an article for the Atlantic about these new education policies, and their potential for failure due to Goodhart’s law. Goodhart’s law was named after British economist Charles Goodhart, and explains how performance statistics Continue reading Goodhart’s Law and Standardized Tests

Training and Wages

The Economic Report of the President was released recently, and in it was a sizable section on a trend of declining on-the-job training that identified a downward trend in it over the twelve years between 1996 and 2008. The last observation in the data was in 2008, but given the trends in the prior periods, there seems to be a distinct movement towards jobs with less on-site training.This is a concerning trend, however, when viewed from an efficiency standpoint. In economics, economists identify two basic types of training. The first type is general training, and can be applied across a number Continue reading Training and Wages

Analysis of Obama’s Free Community College Proposal

It’s safe to say that almost everyone agrees that the price of higher education in the United States is far too high. Although 44% of college students opt to attend a more affordable community college, tuition prices have been steadily increasing over the years due to a lack of state funding. In fact, according to College Board, the price of going to community college for two years has increased by 250% in the past 30 years. As you can see in the chart below, there is a primarily negative correlation between changes in education spending and changes in tuition costs: Continue reading Analysis of Obama’s Free Community College Proposal

Thesis Corner: Read and Write the World With Music

No matter what our caliber of creativity is, art and music are important elements in our lives one way or another. Obviously there is enjoyment and pleasure imparted to audiences whom observe these creative and artistic products. But what is often overlooked and equally as important is the benefit gained by the artist producing these novelties. Educational scholars have confirmed the importance of children’s art and musical programs because thinking creatively and artistically unlocks ways our mind can process other types of scholastic information. Ben Hagen, a senior Economics student at the UPS, studied the importance of educational music and Continue reading Thesis Corner: Read and Write the World With Music