Essays in Educational Economics and Industry Structure


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Virginia Tech


My dissertation contains two separate components. One part is a theoretical examination of the effect of ownership structure on format choice in the radio industry. I use a Hotelling type location model to study the effects of mergers in the radio industry. I find that common ownership of two radio stations results in format choices that are more similar than under competitive ownership, and also that the stations will advertise more if they are operated under common ownership. Welfare results are ambiguous, but there is evidence that total welfare might decrease as the result of a merger, with obvious policy implications for the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice who evaluate and regulate mergers in all industries.

The second component is an empirical study designed to assess the effectiveness of a mathematical tutorial that I authored in conjunction with colleagues in the Math department here at Virginia Tech. I taught four large sections of Principles of Macroeconomics in the spring and fall of 2001. Each class met on MWF; two sections at 8 AM, one at 10:10 AM, and one at 1:25 PM. I required one of the sections (8 AM Spring) to review the module and take a proficiency quiz to demonstrate their skill level in basic math that is used in the Economics Principles course. Final average in the course is the dependant variable in a regression designed to discover which variables have explanatory power in determining performance in introductory economics. Besides exposure to the math module, I include other independent variables describing class time, semester, demographics and effort. In addition, I collected qualitative information about the students' perceptions of the module's effectiveness and administration.

I find that exposure to the Math module does not have a significant effect on performance in the course. However, within the treatment group, there is a positive significant effect of time spent using the module on performance. Also, being registered for an 8 AM section has a significant negative effect. Overall, student comments indicate a dislike for the module. Students report that they prefer learning math skills through lectures by the professor and use of textbooks.



program choice, principles, advertiser supported markets, radio, instructional technology, teaching