Archive for the ‘Harvard University’ Category

Curbing Adult Student Attrition: Evidence from a Field Experiment

June 15, 2015 Comments off

Curbing Adult Student Attrition: Evidence from a Field Experiment
Source: Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

Roughly 20% of adults in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) lack basic numeracy and literacy skills. In the UK, many colleges offer fully government-subsidized adult education programs to improve these skills. Constructing a unique dataset consisting of weekly attendance records for 1,179 students, we find that approximately 25% of learners stop attending these programs in the first 10 weeks and that average attendance rates deteriorate by 20% in that time. We implement a large-scale field experiment in which we send encouraging text messages to students. Our initial results show that these simple text messages reduce the proportion of students that stop attending by 36% and lead to a 7% increase in average attendance relative to the control group. The effects on attendance rates persist through the three weeks of available data following the initial intervention.

The Causal Effects of Growing up in Different Counties on Earnings in Adulthood — Percentage Gains/Losses Relative to National Average

May 4, 2015 Comments off

The Causal Effects of Growing up in Different Counties on Earnings in Adulthood — Percentage Gains/Losses Relative to National Average
Source: Harvard University (Equality of Opportunity Project)

How can we improve economic opportunities for low-income children? The Equality of Opportunity Project uses “big data” to develop new answers to this question. The previous phase of the project presented statistics on how upward mobility varies across areas of the U.S. and over time. In the current phase, we focus on families who moved across areas to study how neighborhoods affect upward mobility. We find that every year of exposure to a better environment improves a child’s chances of success, both in a national quasi-experimental study of five million families and in a re-analysis of the Moving to Opportunity Experiment. We use the new methodology and data to present estimates of the causal effect of each county in America on upward mobility.

Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies
Source: Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

This project examines the rapidly changing landscape of online intermediary liability at the intersection of law, technology, norms, and markets, and is aimed at informing and improving Internet policy-making globally. It is a first output of a larger initiative on the governance of online intermediaries and represents a globally coordinated, independent academic research project by the Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers (NoC) consisting of a case study series exploring online intermediary liability frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and a synthesis paper.

What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In

April 8, 2015 Comments off

What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In
Source: Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills.

The State and Fate of Community Banking

February 26, 2015 Comments off

The State and Fate of Community Banking
Source: Harvard Kennedy School, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government

This working paper focuses on the plight of community banks in the United States. It begins by examining different definitions of what constitutes a community bank, and goes on to review what makes these institutions unique and distinguishes them from larger regional or national peers. Our assessment of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation data finds that community banks service a disproportionately large amount of key segments of the U.S. commercial bank lending market – specifically, agricultural, residential mortgage, and small business loans. However, community banks’ share of U.S. banking assets and lending markets has fallen from over 40 percent in 1994 to around 20 percent today. Interestingly, we find that community banks emerged from the financial crisis with a market share 6 percent lower, but since the second quarter of 2010 – around the time of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act – their share of U.S. commercial banking assets has declined at a rate almost double that between the second quarters of 2006 and 2010. Particularly troubling is community banks’ declining market share in several key lending markets, their decline in small business lending volume, and the disproportionate losses being realized by particularly small community banks. We review studies on the impact of regulation, consumer trends and other factors on community banks, and examine the consequences of consolidation on U.S. lending markets. We conclude with a discussion of policies that could promote a more competitive and robust banking sector.

The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary

February 4, 2015 Comments off

The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary
Source: Harvard University

The American judiciary, like other branches of government, has increasingly come under attack as both ideologically driven and politicized. Using an original dataset that captures the ideological positioning of nearly half a million judges and lawyers who have made campaign contributions, we present empirical evidence showing politicization through various tiers of judicial hierarchy. Specifically, we show that, the higher the court, the more conservative and more polarized it becomes, in contrast with the broader population of attorneys, who tend to be liberal. These findings suggest that political actors not only rely on ideology in the selection of judges onto courts, but that they do so strategically, prioritizing higher courts. As explanation for these findings, we present a model of judicial politicization that formulates the ideological composition of the judiciary as a function of the ideological distributions of attorneys and politicians. To our knowledge, our study is the first to provide a direct ideological comparison across tiers of the judiciary and between judges and lawyers, and also the first to document how — and why — American courts are politicized.

The Air War versus The Ground Game: An Analysis of Multi-Channel Marketing in US Presidential Elections

January 30, 2015 Comments off

The Air War versus The Ground Game: An Analysis of Multi-Channel Marketing in US Presidential Elections
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Firms increasingly use both mass-media advertising and targeted personal selling to successfully promote products and brands in the marketplace. In this study, we jointly examine the effect of mass-media advertising and personal selling in the context of U.S. presidential elections, where the former is referred to as the “air war” and the latter the “ground game.” Specifically, we look at how different types of advertising―candidates’ own ads vs. outside ads―and personal selling―in the form of utilizing field offices―affect voter preferences. Further, we ask how these various campaign activities affect the outcome of elections through their diverse effects on various types of people. We find that personal selling has a stronger effect among partisan voters, while candidates’ own advertising is better received by non-partisans. We also find that personal selling accounted for the Democratic victories in the 2008 and 2012 elections and that advertising was critical only in a close election, such as the one in 2004. Interestingly, had the Democrats received more outside advertising in 2004, the election would have ended up in a 269-269 tie. Our findings generate insights on how to allocate resources across and within channels.


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