Working Papers

The Impact of International Students on US Colleges: Higher Education as a Service Export
Mingyu Chen and Yanzun Yang
Media coverage: [latitude(s)], [Journal of International Students]
[Current draft (September 2023)]
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Recent immigration policies have created massive uncertainty for inBetween 2005 and 2016, international enrollment in US higher education nearly doubled. I examine how trade shocks in education affect public universities’ decisionmaking. I construct a shift-share instrument to exploit institutions’ historical networks with different origins of international students, income growth, and exchange-rate fluctuations. Contrary to claims that US-born students are crowded out, I find that international students increase schools’ funding via tuition payments, which leads to increased in-state enrollment and lower tuition prices. Schools also keep steady per-student spending and recruit more students with high math scores. Lastly, states allocate more appropriations to universities that attract fewer international students.

The impact of immigration on firms and workers: insights from the H-1B lottery
Agostina Brinatti, Mingyu Chen, Parag Mahajan, Nicolas Morales, and Kevin Shih
[Current draft (April 2023)]
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We study how random variation in the availability of highly educated, foreign-born workers impacts firm performance and recruitment behavior. We combine two rich data sources: 1) administrative employer-employee matched data from the US Census Bureau; and 2) firm-level information on the first large-scale H-1B visa lottery in 2007. Using an event-study approach, we find that lottery wins lead to increases in firm hiring of college-educated, immigrant labor along with increases in scale and productivity. Skill-intensive, high-paying firms expand the most after winning the H-1B lottery. We find limited evidence of displacement effects on native-born, college-educated workers.

Job Characteristics, Gender Sorting, and Gender Pay Gap: Evidence from Online Job Postings
Mingyu Chen and Qinyue Luo
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Draft available upon request.

Income and Geographic Segregation Across Colleges in China
Mingyu Chen, Ernest Liu and Yinshan Shang
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Draft available upon request.

Published Papers

The Value of US College Education in Global Labor Markets: Experimental Evidence from China
Mingyu Chen
Forthcoming, Management Science
Media coverage (selected): [INSIDE HIGHER ED], [Chronicle of Higher Education], [Global Times], [National Business Daily (with 200 million views on Weibo, Chinese "Twitter")], [PIE News], [Quartz], [University World News]
[Published Version] [Pre-publication (August 2022)]
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One million international students study in the United States each year, and the majority of them compete in global labor markets after graduation. I conducted a large-scale field experiment and a companion employer survey to study how employers in China value U.S. college education. I sent more than 27,000 fictitious online applications to business and computer science jobs in China, randomizing the country of college education. I find that U.S.-educated applicants are on average 18% less likely to receive a callback than applicants educated in China, with applicants from very elective U.S. institutions under-performing those from the least selective Chinese institutions. The United States-China callback gap is smaller at high-wage jobs, consistent with employers fearing U.S.-educated applicants have better outside options and would be harder to hire and retain. The gap is also smaller at foreign-owned firms, consistent with Chinese-owned firms knowing less about American education. Controlling for high school quality, test scores, or U.S. work experiences does not attenuate the gap, suggesting that the gap is not driven by employer perceptions of negative selection. A survey of 507 hiring managers at college career fairs finds consistent and additional supporting evidence for the experimental findings.

Best and Brightest? The Impact of Student Visa Restrictiveness on Who Attends College in the US
Mingyu Chen, Jessica Howell and Jonathan Smith
Labour Economics, Vol.84 (October 2023)
Media coverage: [latitude(s)], [South China Morning Post] , [FutureEd]
[Published Version] [Pre-publication (April 2023)]
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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, student F-1 visa applicants faced a 27 percent refusal rate that varies by time and region. Recent immigration policies have created uncertainty in whether international students will receive their visas. Using data on the universe of SAT takers between 2004 and 2015 matched with college enrollment records, we examine how the anticipated F-1 visa restrictiveness influences the enrollment of international students in the US. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that a higher anticipated F-1 student visa refusal rate decreases the number of international SAT takers, decreases the probability of sending SAT scores to US colleges, and decreases international student enrollment in the US. The decreases are larger among international students with higher measured academic achievement. We also document academic achievement of international students and show that over 40 percent of high-scoring international SAT takers do not pursue US college education.

Can a Summer Make a Difference? The Impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on Minority Student Outcomes
Charles Becker, Cecilia E. Rouse, and Mingyu Chen
Economics of Education Review, Vol.53 (August 2016)
Media coverage: [Amazon Science]
[Published Version] [Pre-publication (January 2016)]
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In the 1970s, the American Economic Association (AEA) was one of several professional associations to launch a summer program with the goal of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in its profession. In this paper we estimate the effectiveness of the AEA's program which, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to rigorously study such a summer program. Using a comparison group consisting of those who applied to, but did not attend, the program and controlling for an array of background characteristics, we find that program participants were over 40 percentage points more likely to apply to and attend a Ph.D. program in economics, 26 percentage points more likely to complete a Ph.D., and about 15 percentage points more likely to ever work in an economics-related academic job. Using our estimates, we calculate that the program may directly account for 17–21 percent of the Ph.D.s awarded to minorities in economics over the past 20 years.

Labor Mismatch in the Great Recession: A Review of Indexes Using Recent U.S. Data
Maria Canon, Mingyu Chen, and Elise Marifian
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, Vol.95(3) (May 2013)
[Published Version]
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Labor mismatch, also known as structural imbalance, can be defined as a poor match between the characteristics of unemployed workers and those required for vacant jobs. In the wake of the jobless recovery from the Great Recession, economists have sought to explain the coexistence of a high unemployment rate and increasing job openings as a mismatch phenomenon. This article reviews five studies that have contributed to the development of mismatch indexes and computes the corresponding indexes over the period May 2005–May 2012 using job vacancy data from the Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series. For most of the indexes, mismatch increased during the Great Recession, although the indexes exhibit a range of behaviors. According to an index developed in Jackman and Roper (1987), mismatch can account for at most 2.72 percentage points of the 5.30-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate from the beginning of the recession to the unemployment rate peak.

Wearing New Shoes to Walk the Old Road: The Negotiation of Opposing Imperatives in High School New Curriculum Classes in China
Tanja Sargent, Mingyu Chen, Shelley Wu, and Chentong Chen
In International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol.15, (December 2011)
[Published Version]
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When college entrance examinations act as gatekeepers to modern-sector jobs, the entire education system then becomes oriented toward these examinations. This occurs at the expense of learning for the sake of learning and other aspects of education that address the holistic development and well-being of students. In recent years in China, there has been growing concern that examination competition has compromised the quality of classroom teaching and learning and is detrimental to the development of skills necessary for the global knowledge economy. These concerns have given rise to a far-reaching set of education reforms known as the New Curriculum reforms which have aimed to move students to the center of teaching and learning and to transform teaching and learning so as to foster such capacities as creativity, innovation, collaboration, self-expression, engagement, enjoyment of learning, inquiry skills, problem-solving abilities, and ability to apply knowledge in practice. In this chapter, we use videotaped high school New Curriculum demonstration lessons to examine teaching and learning practices that are regarded as exemplary in the current reform context. We investigate how teachers are negotiating the competing demands of preparing students for the examinations and addressing the aims of the New Curriculum reforms. The nature of student participation in the classroom emerges in the analysis as a key indicator of the success of this negotiation.

Open-Eds and Policy Publications

Labor Mismatch in the Great Recession: A Review of Indexes Using Recent U.S. Data
Yi Wen and Mingyu Chen
Economic Synopses, 2012 [Published Version]
Dewey Defeats Truman: Be Aware of Data Revisions
Mingyu Chen
Page One Economics, 2012 [Published Version]
The Mismatch between Job Openings and Job Seekers
Maria Canon and Mingyu Chen
The Regional Economist, 2011 [Published Version]
Oil Price Shocks and Inflation Risk
Yi Wen and Mingyu Chen
Economic Synopses, 2011 [Published Version]
RMB Appreciation and U.S. Inflation Risk
Mingyu Chen and Yi Wen
Economic Synopses, 2011 [Published Version]