Darren Page

Darren Page

PhD candidate in Economics

The University of Iowa

Biography

I am a doctoral candidate in economics at The University of Iowa. I am available for interviews for the 2020-2021 job market.

Interests

  • Behavioral economics
  • Economics of education
  • Labor economics
  • Applied microeconomics

Education

  • PhD in Economics, 2021 (Expected)

    The University of Iowa

  • MA in Economics, 2017

    The University of Iowa

  • BA in Economics, 2016

    Minnesota State University, Mankato

Job Market Paper

Effects of the Common Application on Individual Application and Enrollment Decisions

College applicants are highly sensitive to small changes to the costs incurred in the application process. The Common Application (CA) reduces the non-monetary costs of additional applications by allowing students to send the same application to any member school with the click of a button. Using survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics and administrative ACT microdata, I show that appliers induced to using the CA by membership changes in local public universities send 1.4 additional applications (a 39% increase) and 2.3 additional ACT score reports (a 47% increase). CA usage has no effect on the probability of enrolling in any four-year institution but increases the probability of enrolling in a CA member school by 15 percentage points. The effects of CA usage are strongest for low-income appliers, who send 2.3 additional applications and enroll in private schools and out-of-state schools at higher rates. Further estimates, while imprecise, suggest that induced CA users are more likely to enroll in more selective, higher-quality schools. The estimated changes in enrollment decisions are too large to be explained solely by small decreases in the time costs of additional applications. College-going students' enrollment decisions are sensitive to changes in application methods for behavioral reasons. Applicants are oversensitive to small, short-run costs relative to the long-run investment of college attendance and lack information about costs of attendance. Centralized application systems that lower application costs may be beneficial because applicants respond by expanding their college search, and universities are able to provide information directly through acceptance letters.

Works in Progress

Choice Architecture and the Common Application: Ordering Effects in Online Settings

The proliferation of online college applications paired with application aggregation services such as the Common Application (CA) dramatically increases the scope for choice architects to affect application behavior. Choice architects provide information that allows students to make choices about where to apply. I provide evidence for two settings in which students are affected by the way in which choices are ordered. First, when local schools join the CA, the increased college search undertaken by ACT-takers depends on the options presented on the local school’s website. If the CA is the only way to apply to the local school or the CA option is listed first, applicants send more than two additional ACT score reports (a 44% increase in volume). Applicants don’t increase score report volume when the local school lists the CA option second. In the second part of the paper, I show that CA usage induced by a local CA school joining its membership makes ACT takers more likely to send score reports to schools higher in the alphabet. The CA website’s search functionality returns alphabetized lists, which drives this behavior. These results imply that college applicant behavior deviates from rational choice theory in obvious ways. The results also indicate that applicant decision-making is sensitive not only to the amount of information provided but also how the information is provided.

Teaching

Instructor

Principles of Microeconomics: Summer 2018

Head Teaching Assistant

Principles of Macroeconomics: Fall 2017 - Spring 2019, Spring 2020

Teaching Assistant

Principles of Macroeconomics: Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Grader

Economic Growth and Development: Fall 2016

Contact