The Effects of College Desegregation on Academic Achievement and Students’ Social Interactions: Evidence from Turnstile Data [Updated Draft]
How does desegregation of elite schools impact academic achievement? Does desegregation affect students’ interactions with different types of peers within their school? In this paper, I study a natural experiment at an elite university in Colombia where the number of low-SES students tripled as a result of the introduction of the financial aid program Ser Pilo Paga. The average increase in the percentage of low-SES peers had a null impact on high-SES students’ academic performance. I shed light on the mechanisms behind this outcome by studying changes in social interactions using data on students’ comovements across campus captured by turnstiles located at all entrances. Desegregation led to increased connections between high- and low-SES students, although with some persistent bias in favor of interactions among high-SES students. I find that at least half of the increase in interactions between these groups is explained by interactions with high-achieving low-SES students, but I find no evidence of a preference on the extensive margin for interactions with low-income students who are high achievers.
Presented at: Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Conference 2020, North East Universities Development Consortium 2021, Southern Economic Association 2021, Economics and Education Research Seminar at Columbia University 2021, Syracuse-Cornell Education and Social Policy Daniel Patrick Moynahan Conference 2022.
Trust and Network Formation (joint with: Juan Camilo Cardenas, Danisz Okulicz, Davide Pietrobon and Tomás Rodríguez Barraquer) [Draft]
We study whether trust towards strangers is a determinant of social networks among an incoming cohort of first-year undergraduate students. We employ an experiment and survey questions to measure students’ trust before they have substantial chances to meet and socialize. After four months, during which the students have many opportunities to interact, we elicit five networks capturing different relationships between them. The students’ initial levels of trust do not significantly predict the relationships they formed after four months. In contrast, time of exposure, similarity in socioeconomic status, and hometown are relevant determinants of relationship formation.
Work in progress
The Returns to College for Low-income students: Evidence from a Student Loan Program in Colombia (joint with Fabio Sanchez)
Plant Openings and College Outcomes (joint with Viviana Rodriguez and Lois Miller)
Peer reviewed publications
The Methodological Challenges of Measuring Student Learning, Degree Attainment, and Early Labor Market Outcomes in Higher Education 2017. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Vol. 10(2): 424-448 (co-authored with: Melguizo, T., Zamarro, G. and Sanchez, F.)
Impact of Credit for Low-Income Students on Access to and Academic Performance in Higher Education in Colombia: A Regression Discontinuity Approach. 2016. Word Development,Vol. 80. 61-77. (co- authored with: Melguizo, T., Sanchez, F.)
¿Edificar o Educar? Impacto de los megacolegios en pruebas estandarizadas SABER 11. Revista Desarrollo y Sociedad. No. 74 (2015)
Socio-economic inequalities in malnutrition among children and adolescents in Colombia: the role of individual, household- and community-level characteristics. 2013 Public Health Nutrition 16(9): 1703-18 (co- authored with: Garcia, S., Sarmiento O., Forde, I.)
Trends in Key Performance Indicators Among Colleges Participating in a Technology-Mediated Advising Reform Initiative. Community College Research Center Reports. January 2020 (co-authored with: Hughes, K. L., and Barnett, E. A.)
Baseline Trends in Key Performance Indicators Among Colleges Participating in a Technology-Mediated Advising Reform Initiative. Community College Research Center Reports. June 2018 (co- authored with: Armijo, M.)