NBER

Richard W. Patterson

United States Military Academy
B107 Lincoln Hall
West Point, NY 10996

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: United States Military Academy

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020How Much to Save? Decision Costs and Retirement Plan Participation
with Jacob Goldin, Tatiana Homonoff, William L. Skimmyhorn: w27575
Deciding how much to save for retirement can be complicated. Drawing on a field experiment conducted with the Department of Defense, we study whether such complexity depresses participation in an employer-sponsored retirement saving plan. We find that simplifying one dimension of the enrollment decision, by highlighting a potential rate at which non-participants might contribute, increases participation in the plan. Similar communications that did not include a highlighted rate yield smaller effects. The results highlight how reducing complexity on the intensive margin of a decision (how much to contribute) can affect extensive margin behavior (whether to contribute at all) in a setting of policy interest.
September 2018When Studying and Nudging Don’t Go as Planned: Unsuccessful Attempts to Help Traditional and Online College Students
with Philip Oreopoulos, Uros Petronijevic, Nolan G. Pope: w25036
We evaluate two low-cost college support programs designed to target insufficient study time, a common occurrence among many undergraduates. We experimentally evaluate the programs across three distinct colleges, randomly assigning more than 9,000 students to construct a weekly schedule in an online planning module and to receive weekly study reminders or coach consultation via text message. Despite high participation and engagement, and treated students at two sites marginally increasing study time, we estimate precise null effects on student credit accumulation, course grades, and retention at each site for the full sample and for multiple subgroups. The results and other supplemental evidence suggest that low-touch programs that offer scheduling assistance, encouragement, and reminders ...
February 2018The Competitive Effects of Online Education
with David J. Deming, Michael Lovenheim
in Productivity in Higher Education, Caroline M. Hoxby and Kevin Stange, editors
We study the impact of online degree programs on the market for U.S. higher education. Online degree programs increase the competitiveness of local education markets by providing additional options in areas that previously only had a small number of brick-and-mortar schools. We show that local postsecondary institutions in less competitive markets experienced relative enrollment declines following a regulatory change in 2006 that increased the market entry and enrollment of online institutions. Impacts on enrollment are concentrated among private non-selective institutions, which are online degree programs’ closest competitors. We also find increases in per-student instructional spending among public institutions and a relative shift towards instruction spending among private institutions....
October 2016The Competitive Effects of Online Education
with David J. Deming, Michael Lovenheim: w22749
We study the impact of online degree programs on the market for U.S. higher education. Online degree programs increase the competitiveness of local education markets by providing additional options in areas that previously only had a small number of brick-and-mortar schools. We show that local postsecondary institutions in less competitive markets experienced relative enrollment declines following a regulatory change in 2006 that increased the market entry and enrollment of online institutions. Impacts on enrollment were concentrated among private non-selective institutions, which are likely to be the closest competitors to online degree programs. We also find increases in per-student instructional spending among public institutions. Our results suggest that by increasing competitive press...

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