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A Path towards Citizenship: The Effects of Early College High Schools on Criminal Convictions and Voting

January 11, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

On Friday, January 11, Douglas Lauen, PhD, will present A Path towards Citizenship: The Effects of Early College High Schools on Criminal Convictions and Voting as part of the Carolina Population Center 2018-2019 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar series.
Lauen is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an affiliated faculty member with the Department of Sociology and the Education Policy Initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Lauen’s work examines the effectiveness of educational policies, school types, and interventions on students and how these effects vary for traditionally underserved populations.

Lauen is hosted by Carolina Population Center Fellow Ted Mouw. Mouw is a Professor of Sociology. His research focuses on social mobility and factors that affect the upward mobility of low wage workers.

Friday, Jan 11
Carolina Square Room 2002
123 West Franklin Street

Location information is here.


Formal schooling is critically important to human capital development and socialization. Those with more education enjoy many benefits – higher income, better health, and longer lives, to name just three. Education also produces positive externalities beyond individual benefits. Highly educated people are more likely to vote, become civically involved, and are less likely to commit crimes. For this reason, virtually all cultures subsidize education, although the quantity and nature of this support varies across countries. While we know a great deal about the broad effects of educational attainment on civic outcomes, we actually know very little about the effects of specific educational interventions on these types of outcomes, in part because long term follow-up studies are rare.

This talk will present early findings from a long term follow up study of early college high schools (ECHS) from North Carolina. ECHS are small schools of choice that provide students with the opportunity to earn, at no financial cost to them, two years of transferable college credit or an Associate’s degree while simultaneously satisfying high school graduation requirements. This promising intervention is aimed at smoothing the transition from high school to college for under-represented demographic groups. There are more than 85 ECHSs in North Carolina, although the model is implemented in more than 30 states in the U.S. as well.

The study team assembled personally-identified population level statewide administrative data on all NC high school students (including ECHS) and linked it to postsecondary enrollment and completion data (through in-state four-year and two-year institutions and the National Student Clearinghouse), incarceration records (from the NC Department of Public Safety), and voting records (from the NC Board of Elections). Together, these data comprise one of the most comprehensive data sources in the U.S. to study the effects of educational interventions.

Our results show that early colleges have positive effects on test scores and post-secondary degree attainment. The intervention also reduces the likelihood of incarceration and increases the likelihood of voting. We argue that the effects on crime are likely robust to unmeasured confounding, while the effects on voting most likely are not. Quasi-experimental impacts for some outcomes have been validated against impacts generated from a randomized controlled trial of the same intervention in a subset of the sites during the same time period.

CV for Douglas Lauen, PhD.

Instructors: To arrange for class attendance, contact CPC at by the Monday before the seminar

Streaming may be available and must be arranged at least one week in advance.

This seminar is part of the Carolina Population Center’s Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series.


January 11, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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