Rene Crespin named 2021 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow

Rene Crespin

Rene Crespin, PAM PhD student, has been named as one of the 35 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellows in 2021. The National Academy of Education (NAEd) programs provide funding and professional development to early-career researchers whose projects address critical issues in the history, theory, or practice of formal or informal education, at the national and international levels. The 35 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellows — selected from a pool of 413 applicants — will receive $27,500 for a period of up to two years to complete their dissertations and also attend professional development retreats.

According to NAEd President Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, “The NAEd/Spencer Fellowship Programs cultivate the next generation of education scholars by funding their research projects and providing resources to strengthen their research and research training, including mentorship from NAEd members. We consider these fellows to be among the best in their respective fields, and I look forward to working with them in the coming year.”

Rene Armando Crespin, Cornell University

Rene Crespin is an applied microeconomist and Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University. His research applies econometric methods to examine topics at the intersection of education, immigration, and housing. Rene’s dissertation focuses on the causal effects of education and immigration policies on residential and school choices and access. In addition to drawing from relevant theoretical and empirical research, Rene’s work is inspired by his own experiences as the son of immigrants growing up in the South Side of Chicago.

During his academic career, Rene has also worked to improve diversity in academia through various initiatives. He is a co-founder of Diversity in Cornell Economics (DICE) and he was a teaching fellow with the American Economic Association’s Summer Program (AEASP), which aim to prepare undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds for doctoral programs in economics and related fields.

Prior to attending Cornell, Rene was a research assistant at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Before that, he was a research analyst at the University of Chicago’s Consortium on School Research. Rene graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a M.S. in Applied Statistics and from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Economics.

The Effects of Publicizing School Climate Information on School and Neighborhood Choice

Recently, an increasing number of states, school districts, colleges, and universities have begun to focus on the social, learning, and working conditions experienced by students, families, and teachers as a component for school improvement—making this one of the biggest current issues in education policy. Although a growing number of educational institutions seem to value their institutional climate, causal research on how much stakeholders value this is limited. In this project, I study how an initial public release of school climate ratings in Chicago, Illinois affected families’ willingness to pay for homes zoned to better-climate schools, and how student and teacher sorting patterns reacted to the information. I use two natural experiments in a difference-in-differences framework and in a regression discontinuity design to isolate the causal effects of school climate information. Furthermore, I discuss the heterogeneity of effects by race, ethnicity, income, and neighborhood/school characteristics, as well as the potential mechanisms of my findings. This research has strong implications on school choice including both school and neighborhood sorting, which have potential impacts on districts’ tax bases.

See the full list of NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellows here