Na'ama Shenhav

How Women’s Suffrage Improved Education for a Whole Generation of Children

While a growing literature has shown that women prefer investments in child welfare and increased redistribution, little is known about the long-term effect of empowering women. Exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in U.S. suffrage laws, we show that children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who were exposed to women’s political empowerment during childhood experienced large increases in educational attainment, especially blacks and Southern whites. We also find improvements in earnings among whites and blacks that experienced educational gains. We employ newly digitized data to map these long-term effects to contemporaneous increases in local education spending and childhood health, showing that educational gains were linked to improvements in the policy environment.

Assistant Professor Na’ama Shenhav's research "Who Benefited from Women's Suffrage?" was featured in the Atlantic.

Study: DACA increased immigrants’ education, labor force participation, and productivity

Professor Na'ama Shenhav (with Elira Kuka and Kevin Shih)'s working paper “Do Human Capital Decisions Respond to the Returns to Education? Evidence from DACA,” was released in February by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper studies the human capital responses of undocumented youth to a salient shock in the returns to schooling provided by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Tracking the outcomes of undocumented youth before and after DACA, the authors provide compelling evidence that an important share of the gap in the high school graduation, college attendance and teenage pregnancy of undocumented students and their peers is attributable to the uncertain and limited returns to schooling. The study found that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program under fire by the Trump Administration has significantly changed the lives of young people who came to the United States illegally as children.