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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
  • Weakening Unions Can Lead to Gender Gap in Wages

    In 2011, legislation in Wisconsin reduced the power of unions to negotiate teachers’ salaries. Within five years, male teachers started earning more than women did.

    Teachers protesting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate collective bargaining for state workers, in 2010. Photo: Mark Hirsch/Getty Images.
  • Leading Hartford Back to School

    This week, students in the Hartford Public Schools, one of the largest districts in Connecticut, returned to the classroom for the first time since March. We talked to Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez about the challenges she has faced and the possibility of lasting change.

    Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez (bottom right) and other school leaders talk with a family on their second-floor porch in the district in June 2020. AP Photo/Jessica Hill.
  • Training Girls for the Building Trades, Virtually

    Demi Knight Clark, founder of She Built This City, describes how she remade a nonprofit that teaches hands-on buildings skills for a world forced to go virtual.

    An illustration of girls and women learning trades and 3-D printing masks for healthcare workers
  • Equalizing School Spending Boosts Lifelong Income 

    School finance reforms that equalize spending across rich and poor neighborhoods improve the long-term economic outcomes of disadvantaged children.

    Third-grade students with their teacher in a Washington, D.C., classroom. Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images.
  • Can Civics Education Repair a Failing Democracy?

    Louise Dubé ’88 of the nonprofit iCivics argues that engagement in civic life requires skills that many schools no longer teach.

    Students recite the Preamble to the Constitution during a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., in 2017. Photo: Jeff Reed/National Archives/Flickr
  • Does Performance-Based Pay Improve Teaching?

    Yale SOM economist Barbara Biasi studied what actually happened when some school districts in Wisconsin started paying partly based on effectiveness.

    A teacher in a classroom.
  • Three Questions: Prof. Barbara Biasi on Teacher Pay

    We asked Barbara Biasi, a labor economist with a focus on education, about this year’s teachers' strikes and the wider implications of how we compensate teachers.

    A teacher in a classroom
  • What’s the Value of Higher Education?

    Have political and fiscal debates about higher education lost sight of the value of education for individuals and society?

    Entrance gate
  • What Will It Take to Fix Public Education?

    Are we making progress toward a better and more equitable education system? Yale Insights talked with former secretary of education John King, now president and CEO of the Education Trust.

    Students in a classroom
  • Seniors Aren’t Learning to Choose Better Prescription Insurance Plans

    Seniors picking prescription plans through Medicare Part D often aren’t choosing the plans that offer the best value.