Natatorium Undine


State universities’ reliance on out-of-state enrollment

Research on enrollment patterns finds that shrinking state funds leads admissions departments to look for out-of-state tuition financing.

“Fixed effects panel models revealed a strong negative relationship between state appropriations and nonresident freshman enrollment. This negative relationship was stronger at research universities than master’s or baccalaureate institutions. These results provide empirical support for assertions by scholars that state disinvestment in public higher education compels public universities to behave like private universities by focusing on attracting paying customers.

We contribute to a growing body of evidence that showing that university revenue seeking behaviors are associated with a strong Matthew Effect. Cheslock and Gianneschi showed that only flagship research universities could generate substantial revenues from voluntary support. Therefore, increasing reliance on voluntary support increases the differences between ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ universities. Similarly, our results suggest that relying on nonresident enrollment growth to compensate for declines in state appropriations also increases the difference between the haves and the have-nots. Many public universities may desire tuition revenue from nonresident students. However, descriptive statistics suggest that only research universities are capable of generating substantial nonresident enrollment.”

Link to the full paper, by OZAN JAQUETTE and BRADLEY CURS.

  • An NBER working paper, from 2016, produces similar findings in the case of international student enrollment: “Our analysis focuses on the interaction between the type of university experience demanded by students from abroad and the supply-side of the U.S. market. For the period between 1996 and 2012, we estimate that a 10% reduction in state appropriations is associated with an increase in foreign enrollment of 12% at public research universities and about 17% at the most resource-intensive public universities.” Link to the paper, link to a summary.
  • From a 2016 paper titled “Tuition Rich, Mission Poor”: “Institution-level panel models revealed that growth in the proportion of nonresident students was associated with a decline in the proportion of low-income students. This negative relationship was stronger at prestigious universities and at universities in high-poverty states.” Link.
  • A state audit report for the University of California claimed the trend was hurting in-state applicants, particularly poor and minority students. Link to the audit. Outrage in response to the findings led the UC system to reverse course. Link to coverage in the NYT.
  • Further research by Jaquette and Curs in 2017 found no effects of nonresident enrollment on residents in the sample of all state research universities, but when the sample was restricted to elite institutions, like those under particular fire in the UC system, there was a a negative effect on resident enrollment. Link.
  • Again from the Times, David Leonhardt’s 2017 column on the College Access Index and the crisis of disinvestment from state universities. Link.


From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “a slate of bold legislation to achieve and maintain full employment and end working poverty in the U.S. economy”

Dylan Matthews’s tweet elucidates the implications: “It’s fascinating, intellectually but also politically and institutionally, that CBPP published…on a federal job guarantee. A sign it could become a mainstream Dem position.”

From the paper:

“A job guarantee would fundamentally transform the current labor market in the United States. Our current conception of full employment is inadequate; we discuss a bold policy in this paper to bring the United States to a permanent, more accurate indicator of full employment­—by which we mean that everyone who seeks a job can find one at non-poverty wages. Beyond providing full employment, the job guarantee could be a turning point for American workers. Workers are faced with stagnating real wages and a continued erosion of labor’s share of income. The job guarantee could significantly alter the current power dynamics between labor and capital—particularly for low-wage workers and traditionally marginalized groups.”


  • Cited within the CBPP work is this 2005 paper, “The right to work and basic income guarantees: competing or complementary goals?” Philip Harvey concludes that they are complementary, and makes a distinction between job guarantees and workfare: “Securing the right to work would involve no imposition of a duty to work on anyone. Its goal is to insure that everyone who wants paid employment is able to obtain it.” Another point of note: “Anyone who wanted an income greater than their BI grant would have to work for it. They would have to find a paying job, and that being the case, access to work would remain a vital source of economic opportunity and well-being.” Link.
  • Pavlina Tcherneva at the Levy Institute has written extensively on a job guarantee. In a recent interview she also addresses the overlap with UBI: “I started talking to UBI academics 20 years ago precisely because we have very similar diagnoses of the problems of the labor market. The labor market has become precarious, punitive, and people don’t seem to thrive in it… basic income is probably an add-on to other broader progressive agenda.” Link.
  • Darity and Hamilton’s previous article suggesting a municipal job guarantee. Link.
  • What kinds of work will be available in the future? A December report from Brookings addresses this question. Link. ht Lauren, who comments: “The Brookings report predicts that as tech-skilled laborers grow in numbers, the new high demand skills will be intuitive, perceptive, empathic—’noncognitive’ qualities that are uniquely human (and, may I add, historically characterized as feminine and undervalued).” To this last point, see this December article in the New York Times on MTA workers getting out of subway booths and onto busy subway platforms. Link.
 labor ubi


The intellectual history of bitcoin

ARVIND NARAYANAN and JEREMY CLARK examine academic work on secure ledgers and proof of work from the 1980s and 1990s, concluding:

“The history described here offers rich (and complementary) lessons for practitioners and academics. Practitioners should be skeptical of claims of revolutionary technology. As shown here, most of the ideas in bitcoin that have generated excitement in the enterprise, such as distributed ledgers and Byzantine agreement, actually date back 20 years or more. Recognize that your problem may not require any breakthroughs—there may be long-forgotten solutions in research papers.

“Academia seems to have the opposite problem, at least in this instance: a resistance to radical, extrinsic ideas. The bitcoin white paper, despite the pedigree of many of its ideas, was more novel than most academic research. Moreover, Nakamoto didn’t care for academic peer review and didn’t fully connect it to its history. As a result, academics essentially ignored bitcoin for several years. Many academic communities informally argued that Bitcoin couldn’t work, based on theoretical models or experiences with past systems, despite the fact that it was working in practice.”

Full post here.

  • Last week, a Berkeley City Council member proposed converting municipal bonds to crypto-assets, in an “initial community offering.” Link.

+ + +

  • “A huge, decade-long experiment involving millions of farmers reports its results this week. Writing in Nature, scientists in China describe how they identified and passed on evidence-based techniques to make smallholder farming in the country more efficient. No sharing of agricultural tools was required; just the gathering and pooling of scientific data on local conditions and agricultural needs.” The short version of the (very impressive) results: “Farmers spent less money on their land and earned more from it—and they continue to do so.” Link to the paper, link to a summary.
  • A new report from Brookings on automation and labor-displacement. Link.
  • Polarized mass or polarized few? A new study suggests that low survey response rates are to blame for the perceived growth of hyperpolarization. Link. For a critical counterpoint: link.
  • “If income differences between countries are large then your income will significantly depend on where you live, or even on where you were born (97% of the world’s population remain in the countries where they were born). This is what I call a ‘citizenship premium’ (or a ‘citizenship penalty’) – a ‘rent’ that a person receives if he or she happens to be born in a rich country, or, if we use the terminology introduced by John Roemer, an ‘exogenous circumstance’ which is independent from any one individual’s effort and episodic luck.” Link.
  • What do trade agreements really do? Link.
  • “This combination of [a] game theoretic view of bargaining, where we see conflict as arising from uncertainty and commitment problems, melded with a set of more psychological issues around emotions, levels of self versus more social interest, and the mistakes people systematically make. That framework, for me, explains an astonishing amount of violence.” Tyler Cowen in conversation with Chris Blattman: on cash transfers, civil war, and development. Link.
  • Making guns obsolete: “The US supposedly has a unique gun culture. Yet, for an economist, culture is a lousy explanation. We seek the origins of culture; the economic and social forces promoting and sustaining it.… The only way to change the US gun culture is by fundamentally changing the economics of the gun industry.” Link.
  • “Non-significant results are informative, and… are more informative than significant results in scenarios that are common, even prevalent, in empirical practice in economics.” Link.
  • On the art market in Nazi-occupied France. Link.
  • Beatrice Cherrier has a long post on her blog covering the history of women in economics, with a focus on “how much thinking about the status of women in economics and what should be done about it was embedded in wider economic debates on how to model the role of women in the economy.” Link.
  • A new IMF working paper on the differential gains from globalization within and between nations. Link.
  • Zeynep Tufekci’s latest in the Times: “Given its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.” Link. From Buzzfeed: “YouTube will accompany conspiracy theory videos with links to Wikipedia to better inform viewers, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced.” Link.

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