Jessica Boccardo


320 East 42nd Street
Apt 1012
New York, NY

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I am primarily interested in incorporating knowledge and methodologies in other disciplines, particularly Econometrics and Economic models to the understanding of education and health policies. In my current research, I am focusing primarily on the links between academic and nonacademic skills. I have explored whether small schools, a crucial component of recent reforms to improve school quality in the USA, foster a more positive learning environment in NYC. I have also been able to use a nationally representative sample of Mexican students and schools to further explore this question. And finally, I have been trying to better understand the link between academic skills and fitness, exploring the particular way in which academic and fitness/obesity outputs are formed and how they affect each other. By zooming in on what is going on inside high schools, I hope policymakers will be better equipped to understand the mechanisms driving student outcomes and behavior.

Ley, Eduardo, and Boccardo, Jessica. 2010. "The Taxation of Motor Fuel: International Comparison (February 1, 2010)." World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series.
Abstract: This paper assesses whether the level of taxation of motor fuel is broadly appropriate in a group of countries (OECD, BRICs and South Africa) accounting for more than 80 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis deals with emissions from oil combustion in transport, which account for about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. In the benchmark specification, six countries (responsible, in turn, for more than 40 percent of worldwide motor-fuel greenhouse gas world emissions) would be undertaxing motor fuel. The authors evaluate the sensitivity of the results to the values of the elasticities and externalities that used in the analysis. They find that varying the values of these parameters (within the level of uncertainty reasonably associated with them) significantly affects the results. This implies that, while informative, the results must be taken as indicative. Further analysis for a particular country must rely on a well-informed choice for the values of the country-specific parameters.
Wolf, P.J., and Boccardo, J. 2011. Vouchers Escolares y Justicia Social: Evidencia de Washington, DC. Revista Iberoamericana de Evaluación Educativa 4 (1): 109-134.
Abstract: The District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program provides scholarships or vouchers to the neediest students in the U.S. capital. The vouchers, worth up to U.S. $ 7,500 per year, are granted through a lottery to students with family incomes, near or below the federal poverty line. Students can use their vouchers to attend any of 60 participating private schools in DC. The question that emerges is: Is this program fair? From the perspective of Rawlsian liberalism, an education program is fair if it can enlarge an equitable manner, the opportunities for all or at least improved prospects for affected groups, "disadvantaged". rnrnBecause OSP is a program for a particular group of students and not universally available for all students, in order to be considered fair, it must comply with the second condition in Rawls called "the difference principle". The evidence from rigorous experimental evaluation of the program, suggest that the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program promotes the cause from social justice but has some limitations.rn
Schwartz A., Stiefel L., Wiswall M., Boccardo Jessica. Forthcoming. "STEMming the (Out) Flow? "Are STEM High Schools Helpful for Girls?"
Abstract: Abstract: We investigate the role of specialized science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) high schools in New York City (NYC) in closing the gender gap in science and mathematics. Using administrative data covering several recent cohorts of public school students and rich variety of specialized high schools including over 30 STEM high schools, we estimate the effect of attending a STEM high school on a variety of student outcomes, including test taking and performance on specialized science and mathematics examinations. While STEM high school attendance is associated with higher rates of STEM test taking and performance for boys and girls, the effect of these high schools is greatly reduced when we control for a variety of student background characteristics and high school preparation measures from 8th grade. Using distance between student residence and the nearest STEM high school as an instrument for STEM high school attendance, we cannot reject the hypothesis at standard significance levels that there is no causal STEM effect on high school outcomes. We conclude that selection of high performing students into STEM high schools is the main reason for the positive association between STEM attendance and STEM achievement.rn

Substantive Focus:
Economic Policy
Education Policy PRIMARY
Health Policy
Social Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY