I am an Assistant Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College,  Columbia University. My research interests are education, public finance and health. 

                                                    Peter Bergman


Parent-Child Information Frictions and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Field Experiment Investment (New Draft)

Abstract: This paper uses a field experiment to answer how information frictions between parents and their children affect the inputs to human capital formation and how much reducing these frictions can improve student achievement. I model the interaction between parents and their child as a persuasion game with monitoring and incentives. I show that parents have upwardly-biased beliefs about their child's effort, which is associated with lower performance. In Los Angeles, a random sample of parents was provided detailed information about their child's academic progress. More information allows parents to induce more effort from their children, which translates into significant gains in achievement. However, additional information also changes parents' beliefs about their child's effort, which spurs further parental monitoring. Relative to other interventions, additional information to parents potentially produces gains in achievement at a low cost.

Research in Progress

The Impact of High-Performing Schools on Risky Health Behaviors Among Low-Income Adolescents: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries

(forthingcoming, Pediatrics. with Mitchell Wong, Karen Coller, Rebecca Dudovitz, David Kennedy, Richard Buddin, Martin Shapiro, Sheryl Kataoka, Arleen Brown, Chi Hong Tseng, and Paul Chung)

Peer Effects, Educational Attainment and School Desegregation: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries

Abstract: This paper studies peer effects and the long-run impact of a court-ordered desegregation ruling on education outcomes. This ruling mandates that seven school districts, which serve higher-income, predominantly-white families, accept a fixed number of minority elementary school students each year who apply to transfer from a nearby, predominantly minority school district. The fixed number of slots are allocated to families via lottery. The offer to transfer increases the number of students who enroll in college by seven percentage points. This result is driven by greater attendance to two-year and public colleges, though there are heterogeneous effects overall. A secondary analysis provides suggestive evidence that peer enrollment matters. Increases in the share of Black or Hispanic students who receive an offer to transfer impacts the likelihood of college attendance among other students who receive the same offer.

The Impact of Tax Credit and Financial Aid Information on College Outcomes: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

(with Day Manoli, Jeff Denning, and Nick Turner)

Does Information on School Quality Impact Residential Choice? Evidence from a Field Experiment

(with Matt Hill and Heather Schwartz)

Nudges and Persistence: Evidence from a Field Experiment to Engage Parents

Engaging Parents as a Means to Address Educational and Health Behavioral Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment

(with Rebecca Dudovitz and Mitchell Wong)

The Effects of Making Performance Information Public: Evidence from Los Angeles Teachers and a Regression Discontinuity Design

(with Matt Hill)

Teachers' Value Added and Specification Error: Semi-parametric Estimations of the Education-Production Function

(with Matt Baird)



Contact Information

Email: bergman [at] tc [dot] columbia [dot] edu

Phone: (212) 678-3932

Office: 429 Thorndike

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)