Ethan J. Schmick
Washington & Jefferson College
60 S. Lincoln St.
Washington, PA 15301
Institutional Affiliation: Washington & Jefferson College
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2019||The Impact of Early Investments in Urban School Systems in the United States|
with Allison Shertzer: w25663
Cities in the United States dramatically expanded spending on public education in the years following World War I, with the average urban school district increasing per pupil expenditures by over 70 percent between 1916 and 1924. We provide the first evaluation of these historically unprecedented investments in public education by compiling a new dataset that links individuals to both the quality of the city school district they attended as a child and their adult outcomes. Using plausibly exogenous growth in school spending generated by anti-German sentiment after World War I, we find that school resources significantly increased educational attainment and wages later in life, particularly for the children of unskilled workers. Increases in expenditures can explain between 19 and 29 perce...