Essays on economics of education
This dissertation investigates the relationship between various input for education (such as class structure and academic environment) and academic outcomes (including majors and test scores). It also looks at the impact of education on individuals’ non-academic outcomes. This dissertation consists of three essays. The first chapter examines the impact of assigning students into different tracks on students’ academic performance and subject specialization in China. I make use of regression discontinuity design and find that track assignment significantly affects choice of majors and test scores in high school. For students around the tracking threshold, being assigned to a high track reduces the probability of choosing the science major by 7 percent for boys and 21 percent for girls. The second chapter examines the impact of international peers on domestic students STEM degree in U.S.. I use historical enrollment patterns as an instrumental variable to predict current enrollment of international students and find that the composition and ability of international peers significantly affect the likelihood of graduating with a STEM degree for female and minority domestic students. The third chapter explores the casual relationship from education to religious beliefs in China. I exploit the change in compulsory school law in China in 1986 and find that one additional year of schooling reduce the probability of being religious by 8 percent.