Conference to look at economists’ contributions to research on school reform

Steve Koppes
Associate News DirectorUniversity Communications

Prominent scholars from across the nation will gather at the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics on Friday, June 4 to examine how economists can help assess and shape school reform.

At the conference, titled "Economic Analysis and Education Policy," scholars will discuss how best to use assessment information in systems that determine pay, tenure status and job assignments for educators. Papers also will examine the effects of vouchers and charter schools in a variety of settings, and will discuss how accountability systems can affect the efficient use of public resources in education.

"In recent years, the main contribution of economists to the interdisciplinary field of education research has been to refine statistical methods used to evaluate existing policies and programs," said conference organizer Derek Neal, Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. "This conference will highlight the contributions that economists can make to the study of education by applying the analytical tools that economists so often employ in other areas."

The conference, which will be held in Room 110 in the Classics Building, 1010 E. 59th St., begins at 8:25 a.m. and concludes at 4:05 p.m. This conference is free and open to the campus community. People interested in attending may e-mail mfi@uchicago.edu.

Graduate students from many departments who are part of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences training program and the Committee on Education's Workshop on Education are assisting in organizing the conference.

In addition to promoting research on education, the conference will help students from a variety of disciplines acquire a better understanding of how tools developed in economics can be used in education research.

Papers to be presented at the conference include:

  • "Anti-Lemons: School Reputation and Educational Quality" by W. Bentley MacLeod, Professor of Economics, Columbia, and Miguel Urquiola, Associate Professor of Economics, Columbia University
  • "Effects of School Reform on Education and Labor Market Performance: Evidence from Chile's Universal Voucher System" by Petra Todd, Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania
  • "Pay for Percentile" by Derek Neal, Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, and Gadi Barlevy, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • "Effort, Race Gaps and Affirmative Action: A Structural Policy Analysis of U.S. College Admissions" by Brent Hickman, a graduate student in economics at the University of Iowa
  • "Searching for Effective Teachers with Imperfect Information" by Douglas Staiger, the John French Professor of Economics at Dartmouth University, and Jonah Rockoff, the Sidney Taurel Associate Professor of Business at the Columbia Graduate School of Business

The papers and more information about the conference are available at: http://mfi.uchicago.edu/programs/fy10_events/conf_June4.shtml.