Lisa Barrow Gives MPES Colloquium Talk

“Increasing Access to Selective High Schools through Place-based Affirmative Action: Unintended Consequences”

Lisa Barrow
Senior Economist and Research Advisor
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Monday, October 28th
Library Place 617

We investigate whether elite Chicago public high schools differentially benefit high-achieving students from more and less affluent neighborhoods. Chicago’s place-based affirmative action policy allocates seats based on achievement and neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES). Using regression discontinuity design, we find that these schools do not raise test scores overall, but students are generally more positive about their high school experiences. For students from low-SES neighborhoods, we estimate negative effects on grades and the probability of attending a selective college. We present suggestive evidence that these findings for students from low-SES neighborhoods are driven by the negative effect of relative achievement ranking.

Lisa Barrow is a Senior Economist and Research Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Affiliated Researcher at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. Her research focuses on a variety of education issues, including the impact of attending a selective high school on student outcomes, a randomized evaluation of computer-aided algebra instruction in large urban school districts, and evaluations of performance-based scholarship impacts on academic outcomes and student time use at the college level. Her prior research on school choice, education production, and the earned income tax credit has appeared in numerous economic and policy journals. Barrow has also been a visiting assistant professor at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and a visiting lecturer at the Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Barrow received a B.A. in economics from Carleton College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Princeton University.