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Understanding the Economics of Education

Yale SOM’s Seth Zimmerman uses the tools of economics to offer data-driven answers to real issues facing education students, parents, and schools.

Seth Zimmerman
  • How Universities in Israel Keep Going

    Profs. Edward Kaplan and Evan Morris were part of a group of Yale faculty that traveled to Israel to meet with counterparts at Israeli universities. They came away with insights into how research and teaching can bring people from different backgrounds together in a shared enterprise.

    Students giving a presentation
  • Teachers See Misbehavior from Black Students as More Blameworthy

    In order to isolate the role of race in teacher-student interactions, Prof. Jayanti Owens created videos using actors to depict misbehavior. She found that teachers are more likely to describe an incident with “blaming” language if the actor playing the misbehaving students is Black.

    Students of various races in a classroom
  • Does Capital Spending on Schools Improve Education?

    Yale SOM’s Barbara Biasi and her co-authors found that some projects improve test scores and others boost local property values—but they aren’t the same ones.

    Construction on a school building
  • Expanding the Pathways from School to a Career

    Washington state’s collective action approach to career-connected learning expands students’ horizons, connects employers to their future workforce, and builds community, says Maud Daudon ’83 of Career Connect Washington.

    A student and instructor working with a piece of equipment
  • Black Boys Face Double Jeopardy at School

    Teachers tend to blame Black boys more than White boys for identical misbehaviors, finds Yale SOM’s Jayanti Owens. Black and Latino boys also receive harsher punishment because the schools they attend tend to have more punitive cultures.

    A teacher with two boys, one Black and one White
  • Are Student Loans Worth It?

    We asked SOM’s Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, whose current work focuses on assessing the costs and benefits of debtor protection policies and understanding the role that consumer debt plays in the macroeconomy, to put President Biden’s decision to forgive student debt in context.

    Graduates at California State University of Los Angeles's 2022 commencement ceremony in May 2022.
  • How Superintendents Can Restore Public Trust in Schools

    Despite challenges like the scorched-earth debates on curricula, Caitlin Sullivan ’13, co-founder of Leading Now, sees superintendents as uniquely positioned to cross lines of difference and find common ground.

    Parents at a rally against critical race theory in schools
  • Real-Time Placement Odds Can Smooth the School Choice Process

    Some families going through the school placement process overestimate their chances of getting into their top choices, and fail to match at any school as a result. Warnings about the placement odds at top schools can dramatically reduce non-placements.

    Kindergarteners lined up on the first day of school
  • How the Philadelphia Schools Confronted Systemic Racism

    William Hite, Philadelphia’s superintendent of schools, describes how the system sought to create an inclusive process for rooting racism out of its structures.

    William Hite at a press conference in 2014
  • Century-Old Harvard Records Show How Social Connections Help the Elite

    A study co-authored by Yale SOM’s Seth Zimmerman, drawing on a trove of archival student records, suggests that membership in exclusive clubs propelled students from the top prep schools to higher incomes, while good grades did little to lift other students into the top-earning tier.

    A group portrait of students from 1930 in academic robes