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Cross-Border Spillovers from Public Education Investments, (with T. Daniel Woodbury), working paper

Approximately 27% of students in the U.S. K-12 education system will migrate to and work in another state in their future. To the extent that these educated migrants generate positive externalities, this movement causes an external benefit on those in the state in which the migrants move. In this paper, we focus on cross-state migration spillovers associated with K-12 education investment by creating new state-level education investment measures that are weighted by interstate migration. Results indicate out-of-state expenditures contribute to 30% of future earnings growth within a state, thereby giving value to the size of the spillover generated by migrants.


Should Calculus Be a Pre-Requisite for Business Statistics? A Longitudinal Study, (with H. Setzler and H. Rajagopalan), working paper

Business Statistics is a required course for undergraduate business majors and presents significant challenges for students with weak quantitative and critical thinking skills. In this paper, we show that changing the pre-requisite for the Business Statistics course from Business Calculus to Probability and Statistics makes a significant positive impact on student performance despite the increase in course content for business students at a comprehensive regional university in the southeast. We recommend business schools that experience difficulties with students successfully completing business statistics to carefully consider curriculum changes, particularly the chosen pre-requisite courses.


If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them: A Beginner's Guide to Incorporating Smartphones in Classrooms, (with R. Yanson), working paper

As smart devices continue to increase in popularity among college students, a need has emerged to end the constant battle between students and instructors regarding the use of smartphones in the college classroom. Students often feel the need to be connected and prefer to use their devices at their leisure throughout class. Instructors often struggle to keep students engaged and prefer to keep them away from the myriad of distractions that can be found on their smartphone. This paper is intended for instructors who are hesitant about using technology in the classroom but are interested in simple ways to incorporate smartphones as an engaging learning tool and mitigate the smartphone dispute. We propose five simple ways to incorporate smartphones in the college classroom through the Poll Everywhere app and encourage instructors to adopt these methods in their classroom. We discuss examples from the student's perspective as well as a "how to" for instructors. The activities presented here can be beneficial for instructors across all disciplines.


Educational Investment Spillover Effects using Micro-Data, working paper

This paper examines the impact of educational investments in public K-12 education on labor market outcomes. I employ micro-data from the American Community Survey to build upon my previous work on cross-border spillovers from education investments. Using data on K-12 educational spending and educational demographics of parents, I observe the impact of education on future earnings growth of those educated in a (PUMA). Using micro-data allows me to accurately measure the investments used in the education of an area and to incorporate where education was attained and where it was employed. I narrow my focus to younger participants in the labor force, providing a stronger link between lagged educational spending and future earnings. Results indicate that K-12 educational spending spills across state borders in the form of additional earnings benefits and the impact from in-state public K-12 educational spending differs from the impact associated with out-of-state spending.


The Effects of Letter Grade Only and Plus/Minus College Grading Systems on Student Performance, (with G. Hunter, E. Marshall, and A. Maximova), working paper

Over the last 25 years, the percent of institutions that report using a plus/minus grading system has grown significantly. Although many universities have transitioned to this grading system, the current literature lacks clear empirical support in favor of the plus/minus grading system over the straight letter grading system. This paper examines the effect of plus/minus grading versus straight letter grading schemes in undergraduate economics courses at multiple public universities in the U.S. Similar to previous studies, we focus on the effects of each grading scheme on student performance and student motivation, as well as student and faculty perceptions of each grading system. We also examine two previously unexplored grading system outcomes: standard evaluations of teaching and grade inquiries received by instructors. We aim to address the existing ambiguity in the literature and provide evidence-based rationale for employing various grading systems.


The Role of Public Higher Education Expenditure and the Privatization of the Higher Education on U.S. States Economic Growth: An Extension Incorporating Student Migration, (with G. Hunter), work in progress

This paper builds upon the previous work of Curs et al. (2011) which finds a positive relationship between government expenditure on higher education and economic growth for states with a larger share of public higher education institutions. The authors also find a negative relationship for states with a higher share of private higher education institutions. Our extension builds upon this previous work by incorporating student and resident migration. We focus on the differences in migration patterns of public higher institution enrollees versus migration patterns of private higher institution enrollees, specifically in terms of where they reside before enrollment and after graduation. Private higher institution enrollees are known to have a higher rate of out-migration from their home state compared to public higher institution enrollees. Theoretically, these differences in migration patterns affects economic growth of states differently depending on the state's share of private versus public higher institutions. Results could be influential on policies focusing on the growth and development of public institutions versus private institutions in the state, tuition and scholarships, and which institutions politicians, parents, and counselors encourage students to attend.


Public Education Investment Effects in South Carolina, work in progress

This paper examines the past current situation of educational investments and outcomes in the state of South Carolina. As many southern states continue to receive criticism regarding school quality and educational outcomes, examining the harsh reality of the failing public school systems remains an important issue. Among one of the lowest ranking public school systems in the U.S., South Carolina continues to struggle to improve student outcomes. The state's per pupil funding level also remain well below the state law requirement. With high rates of in-migration, the southern sate has benefited from its growing population, however, this growth in the population has failed to benefit the public school system. This paper serves to inform researchers, educators, and policymakers about the current conditions of publicly funded K-12 education in South Carolina.
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