Jeffrey T. Denning

Department of Economics
Brigham Young University
435N CTB
Provo, UT 84602
Tel: 801/422-3182

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: ED
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Brigham Young University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2020Winners and Losers? The Effect of Gaining and Losing Access to Selective Colleges on Education and Labor Market Outcomes
with Sandra E. Black, Jesse Rothstein: w26821
Selective college admissions are fundamentally a question of tradeoffs: Given capacity, admitting one student means rejecting another. Research to date has generally estimated average effects of college selectivity, and has been unable to distinguish between the effects on students gaining access and on those losing access under alternative admissions policies. We use the introduction of the Top Ten Percent rule and administrative data from the State of Texas to estimate the effect of access to a selective college on student graduation and earnings outcomes. We estimate separate effects on two groups of students. The first--highly ranked students at schools which previously sent few students to the flagship university--gain access due to the policy; the second--students outside the top tie...
August 2019Nudging at Scale: Experimental Evidence from FAFSA Completion Campaigns
with Kelli A. Bird, Benjamin L. Castleman, Joshua Goodman, Cait Lamberton, Kelly Ochs Rosinger: w26158
Do nudge interventions that have generated positive impacts at a local level maintain efficacy when scaled state or nationwide? What specific mechanisms explain the positive impacts of promising smaller-scale nudges? We investigate, through two randomized controlled trials, the impact of a national and state-level campaign to encourage students to apply for financial aid for college. The campaigns collectively reached over 800,000 students, with multiple treatment arms to investigate different potential mechanisms. We find no impacts on financial aid receipt or college enrollment overall or for any student subgroups. We find no evidence that different approaches to message framing, delivery, or timing, or access to one-on-one advising affected campaign efficacy. We discuss why nudge strate...
April 2019The Return to Hours Worked Within and Across Occupations: Implications for the Gender Wage Gap
with Brian Jacob, Lars Lefgren, Christian vom Lehn: w25739
We document two empirical phenomena. First, the observational wage returns to hours worked within occupation is small, and even negative in some specifications. Second, the wage return to average hours worked across occupations is large. We develop a conceptual framework that reconciles these facts, where the key insight is that workers choose jobs as a bundle of compensation and expected hours worked. As an example, we apply this framework to the gender wage gap and show how it can explain the view expressed in recent work that hours differences between men and women represent a large and growing component of the gender wage gap.
September 2017ProPelled: The Effects of Grants on Graduation, Earnings, and Welfare
with Benjamin M. Marx, Lesley J. Turner: w23860
We estimate effects of the largest U.S. federal grant for college students using administrative data from Texas four-year public colleges and a discontinuity in grant generosity. Eligibility for additional grant aid significantly increases degree receipt and earnings beginning four years after entry. Estimated increases in income tax payments fully recoup government expenditures within ten years. A theoretical model shows that welfare effects of changes in college prices depend on (1) externalities from recipients’ behavioral responses and (2) facilitation of intertemporal consumption smoothing. Calibration suggests that increasing grant aid for low-income college students would enhance welfare in many U.S. settings.

Published: Jeffrey T. Denning & Benjamin M. Marx & Lesley J. Turner, 2019. "ProPelled: The Effects of Grants on Graduation, Earnings, and Welfare," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol 11(3), pages 193-224. citation courtesy of

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