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Essays in Economics of Education

Sen, Sonkurt (2022) Essays in Economics of Education. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This thesis consists of three papers that study gender, socio-economic and racial inequalities in Higher Education. Chapter 1 evaluates an RCT targeted at students’ beliefs and study tips. The intervention provided students with information about the malleability of the brain and how study methods can help improve the brain. We find that our intervention increased students’ beliefs about the productivity of effort in success as well as their academic outcomes while having no effect on students’ effort but the way they study. We document that our intervention was more successful for male students than for female students. Chapter 2 studies the effects of contextualized admissions, an SES-based affirmative action policy, on students’ academic and labor market outcomes. Using staggered differences-in- differences method, I find that when universities implement this policy, they are more likely to receive applications from state school students and students with lower test scores. This increases enrolled students’ likelihood of coming from state schools and from the most deprived areas and reduces the tariff scores of those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. The policy results in students taking longer to graduate and graduate with worse academic outcomes with little effect on labor market outcomes. Chapter 3 studies how being exposed to minority academics affect White and racial minority students’ academic and labor market outcomes. In order to study the effect of minority academics, I define students’ university-subject choice set and then run OLS regression. I find that White and South Asian students who are exposed to more minority academics graduate with better academic outcomes. When it comes to labor market outcomes, the results are mixed: White students are more likely to be in employment while minority students are less likely to be in employment but more likely to be in further study and mainly in PhD.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Depositing User: Sonkurt Sen
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 16:09
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 16:09

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