Monday, February 18, 2013

Working papers of interest

University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California

Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban M. Aucejo, V. Joseph Hotz

NBER Working Paper No. 18799
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED 
The low number of college graduates with science degrees -- particularly among under-represented minorities -- is of growing concern. We examine differences across universities in graduating students in different fields. Using student-level data on the University of California system during a period in which racial preferences were in place, we show significant sorting into majors based on academic preparation, with science majors at each campus having on average stronger credentials than their non-science counterparts. Students with relatively weaker academic preparation are significantly more likely to leave the sciences and take longer to graduate at each campus. We show the vast majority of minority students would be more likely to graduate with a science degree and graduate in less time had they attended a lower ranked university. Similar results do not apply for non-minority students.

An Economic Analysis of Black-White Disparities in NYPD's Stop and Frisk Program

Decio Coviello, Nicola Persico

NBER Working Paper No. 18803
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   LE 
We analyze data on NYPD's "stop and frisk program" in an effort to identify racial bias on the part of the police officers making the stops. We find that the officers are not biased against African Americans relative to whites, because the latter are being stopped despite being a "less productive stop" for a police officer.
[Note from DK: this strikes me a lot like the arguments about statistical discrimination in the labor market. By some technical definition of bias there may indeed not be bias here, but that doesn't suggest at all that the bias we care about isn't going on].

Choice of Country by the Foreign Born for PhD and Postdoctoral Study: A Sixteen-Country Perspective

Paula Stephan, Chiara Franzoni, Giuseppe Scellato

NBER Working Paper No. 18809
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS   PR 
We analyze the decisions of foreign-born PhD and postdoctoral trainees to come to the United States vs. go to another country for training. Data are drawn from the GlobSci survey of scientists in sixteen countries working in four fields. We find that individuals come to the U.S. to train because of the prestige of its programs and/or career prospects. They are discouraged from training in the United States because of the perceived lifestyle. The availability of exchange programs elsewhere discourages coming for PhD study; the relative unattractiveness of fringe benefits discourages coming for postdoctoral study. Countries that have been nibbling at the U.S.-PhD and postdoc share are Australia, Germany, and Switzerland; France and Great Britain have gained appeal in attracting postdocs, but not in attracting PhD students. Canada has made gains in neither.

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