Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat: The Effect of Increased Income on Children's Academic Achievement: Evidence from the Marcellus Shale


Monday, September 11, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Allison Dining Room
Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Duke University.

Elizabeth Oltmans AnanatThe income gap in children’s academic achievement is large and growing in the United States, raising concerns about intergenerational social mobility and global competitiveness. Yet it remains unclear whether the association between children’s achievement and income is causal, because both family and local economic circumstances are endogenous to a host of other, difficult-to-measure characteristics.

We take advantage of local economic growth generated by the extraction of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale geological formation to study whether improving economic conditions affect children’s academic achievement.

We find that local economic booms increase test scores, but only in initially disadvantaged districts; effects are negligible in more affluent districts. In contrast to recent work arguing that early childhood is a uniquely important window for addressing disadvantage, we find that test scores increase fairly uniformly across ages.

About the speaker

Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University. Her research focuses on the intergenerational dynamics of poverty and inequality.

Ananat received a B.A. in political economy and mathematics at Williams College in 1999, a master's degree in public policy from the Ford School at the University of Michigan in 2001, and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. In 2010 she served as Senior Economist for Labor, Education, and Welfare at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. 

Learn more about Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat's work
Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat homepage


See also: Fall 2017