April 26, 2019

Dropping Knowledge

Voucher students in Louisiana are still performing worse in math four years after they transfer schools, a new study shows. The study counters previous research that showed Louisiana voucher students’ test scores bouncing back after a few years of decline. Researchers followed the 2012-13 cohort of voucher students and took advantage of admissions lotteries to compare outcomes from students who won the lottery to receive a voucher to those who did not. The researchers conclude:

“After four years, students using LSP vouchers to enroll in LSP participating private schools performed noticeably worse on state assessments than their control group counterparts.”

Contextual Healing

Reducing air pollution by retrofitting school buses improved English test scores the same amount as going from a novice teacher to one with five years of experience, researchers at Georgia State University found (paywall). The effects are largest in elementary school children as they are more susceptible to air pollution.

The researchers estimate that reducing diesel emissions by retrofitting 10% of an average district’s bus fleet yields a lifetime net present value of $2.5 million due to increased test scores and $950,000 due to improved health outcomes. In comparison, the cost of retrofitting 10% of a fleet is only $90,000. Brookings Institute published a short summary of the study, which is useful if you can’t access it.

For Your Consideration

The Amazon HQ2 craze showed the lengths to which state governments will go to land big companies, but does it actually benefit governments to offer massive tax incentives to lure companies? New research from NC State researchers says no. Drawing on data from 32 states (including North Carolina) from 1990 to 2015, the researchers examined the impact of fiscal incentives on a state’s fiscal health. They concluded, “Ultimately, the results show that financial incentives negatively affect the overall fiscal health of a state.”

Financial incentives to attract business may produce economic growth and generate new tax revenue. However, researchers caution governments to recognize that new businesses and new employees also increase the demand for services. Looking at the different types of incentives offered, researchers found that research and development tax credits were most associated with weaker fiscal health, whereas job creation tax breaks had no effect on fiscal health.


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    Pew Charitable Trusts | 04/24/2019

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  • Is America Missing 2.5 Million Women Workers?

    The Aspen Institute | 04/17/2019

  • High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment

    NPR | 04/18/2019

  • In Regions Hit by Recession, Gen Z Is Turning Out to Be Frugal

    Bloomberg | 04/25/2019

  • Childhood Trauma Is More Common Than You Think. This School-Based Intervention Can Help

    Rand | 04/23/2019