Essays in the economics of education and innovation
- This dissertation contains three essays on the economics of education and innovation. In the first essay, I study the effects of increased access to higher education by examining a dramatic 1961 Italian reform that increased university enrollment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields by more than 200 percent in a few years. The peculiar features of the reform allow me to identify students who were unaffected, directly affected, and indirectly affected. They also allow me to identify key channels through which the effects ran. Using data I collected from tax returns and hand-written transcripts on more than 27,000 students, I show that the direct effects of the reform were as intended: many more students enrolled and many more obtained degrees. However, I also find that those induced to enroll earned no more than students in earlier cohorts who were denied access to university. I reconcile these surprising results by showing that the education expansion reduced returns to skill and lowered university learning through congestion and peer effects. I also demonstrate that apparently inframarginal students were significantly affected: the most able of them abandoned STEM majors rather than accept lower returns and lower human capital. The promotion of STEM education, realized by inducing more students to enroll in university STEM majors, might have large positive externalities by fostering the production of innovation. In the second essay (joint work with Michela Giorcelli), we use the 1961 Italian reform of college admissions as a positive shock to the amount of STEM workers in the economy. We isolate the effect of the policy on invention using a variety of techniques. At the individual level, we link the school and income data of students that were in school around the policy implementation with information on each Italian patent that they owned or developed. At the national level, we exploit differential increases of STEM skills in municipalities that were at varying distance from a STEM school. In both cases, we do not find strong evidence that easier access to university STEM majors led to higher level of patenting. In the third essay (joint work with Joerg Baten and Petra Moser), we investigate whether compulsory licensing - which allows governments to license patents with- out the consent of patent-owners - discourages invention. Our analysis exploits new historical data on German patents to examine the effects of compulsory licensing under the US Trading-with-the-Enemy Act on invention in Germany. We find that compulsory licensing was associated with a 28 percent increase in invention. Historical evidence indicates that, as a result of war-related demands, fields with licensing were negatively selected, so that OLS estimates may underestimate the positive effects of compulsory licensing on future inventions.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Stanford University, Department of Economics.
|Hoxby, Caroline Minter
|Hoxby, Caroline Minter
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2015.
- © 2015 by Nicola Bianchi
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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