Research

Kalena's research interests are in the areas of the Economics of Education, Labor Economics, and Economic Demography. Her research focuses on issues of equity and access, in particular, identifying educational policies that help disadvantaged students at the PK-12 and postsecondary levels. She has worked on three key areas: improving academic performance of urban students, increasing access to postsecondary education, and raising educational attainment of immigrant students.

Journal Articles

Are Refugees Different from Economic Immigrants? Some Empirical Evidence on the Heterogeneity of Immigrant Groups in the United States. Review of Economics and Statistics. Volume 82, Issue 2, May 2004.

The Effects of Age at Arrival and Enclave Schools on the Academic Performance of Immigrant Children. Economics of Education Review. Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2006.

College Selectivity and the Texas Top 10% Law: How Constrained Are the Options? Economics of Education Review. Volume 25, Issue 3, June 2006. (Joint with Marta Tienda and Sunny Niu).

Race-Ethnicity and Nativity Differences in Alcohol and Tobacco Use During Pregnancy. American Journal of Public Health. Volume 96, Issue 9, September 2006. (Joint with Krista Perreira).

Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan. Economics of Education Review. Volume 29, Issue 6, December 2010.

The Role of Specific Subjects in Education Production Functions: Evidence from Morning Classes in Chicago Public High Schools. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy. Volume 12, Issue 1, June 2012. (Joint with Jesse Bricker and Christopher Rohlfs).

A Double Dose of Algebra. Education Next. Volume 13, Issue 1, Winter 2013. (Joint with Joshua Goodman and Takako Nomi).

Achieving the DREAM: The Effect of IRCA on Immigrant Youth Postsecondary Educational Access. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings. Volume 103, Issue 3, May 2013.

Educating Bright Students in Urban Schools. Economics of Education Review. Volume 37, December 2013. (Joint with Wael Moussa and Jeffrey Weinstein).

Ranking Up by Moving Out: The Effect of the Texas Top 10% Plan on Property Values. National Tax Journal. Volume 67, Issue 1, March 2014. (Joint with Andrew Friedson). Winner of the 2014 Richard Musgrave Prize for best article.

Ability-Tracking, Instructional Time and Better Pedagogy: The Effect of Double-Dose Algebra on Student Achievement. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings. Volume 104, Issue 5, May 2014. (Joint with Joshua Goodman).

Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra. The Journal of Human Resources. Volume 50, Issue 1, Winter 2015. (Joint with Joshua Goodman and Takako Nomi). Also available: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 20211.

Academic Undermatching of High-Achieving Minority Students: Evidence from Race-Neutral and Holistic Admissions Policies. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings. Volume 105, Issue 5, May 2015. (Joint with Sandra Black and Jane Lincove).

Can Admissions Percent Plans Lead to Better Collegiate Fit for Minority Students? American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings. Volume 106, Issue 5, May 2016. (Joint with Jane Lincove).

Efficacy vs. Equity: What Happens When States Tinker with College Admissions in a Race-Blind Era? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Volume 38, Issue 2, June 2016. (Joint with Sandra Black and Jane Lincove). Also available: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 20804.

Match or Mismatch? Automatic Admissions and College Preferences of Low- and High-Income Students. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Volume 41, Issue 1, March 2019. (Joint with Jane Lincove). Also available: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 22559.

Apply Yourself: Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application. Forthcoming Education Finance and Policy. (Joint Paper with Sandra Black and Jane Lincove). Also available: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 21368.

Too Little or Too Much? Actionable Advice in an Early-Childhood Text Messaging Experiment. Education Finance and Policy. (Joint with Hans Fricke, Susanna Loeb, David Song, and Benjamin York). Also available: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 24827.

Other Publications

College Attendance and the Texas Top 10 Percent Law: Permanent Contagion or Transitory Promise? Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Policy Brief, November 2003. (Joint with Marta Tienda and Sunny Niu).

The Refugee/Asylum Seeker. Chapter in the Handbook of the Economics of International Immigration, Barry Chiswick and Paul Miller (eds.), 2014. (Joint with Aimee Chin).

Too Little or too Much? Actionable Advice in an Early Childhood Text Messaging Experiment. Annenberg Brown University, Paper in Brief, July 2018. (Joint with Hans Fricke, Susanna Loeb, David S. Song).

Text Messages to Parents Can Help Boost Children's Reading Skills. The Conversation, August 2018. (Joint with Hans Fricke).

When Behavioral Barriers Are Too High or Low: How Timing Matters for Parenting Interventions. Annenberg Brown University, Paper in Brief, June 2019. (Joint with Hans Fricke, Susanna Loeb, David Song, Benjamin York).

EFP Takeaways: Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application Behavior. Education Finance and Policy, 2020.

EFP Takeaways: Too Little or Too Much? Actionable Advice in an Early-Childhood Text Messaging Experiment. Education Finance and Policy, 2021.

Working Papers

Work in Progress

Texts4Teens: Middle School Parent Engagement Text Messaging Study. (Joint with Brian Holzman, Macarena Santana, and Susanna Loeb).

Why Does Mentoring Matter? The Effect of Non-Financial Support on College Enrollment and Persistence. (Joint with Celest K. Carruthers and Carolyn J. Heinrich).

Affirmative Action, Mismatch, and STEM: The Effect of the Texas Top 10% Plan on STEM Major Outcomes. (Joint with Anthony Lising Antonio and Oded Gurantz).

Encouraging Students to Take Risks: Differential Effects by Race and Gender of a First Year Grade Exclusion Policy. (Joint with Rachel B. Baker).

The Effect of Newcomer Schools on Immigrant Students Educational Attainment. (Joint with Aimee Chin, Brian Holzman, and Stephanie Potochnick).

The Long-Run Impacts of Mexican American School Desegregation in the United States. (Joint with Francisca Antman).

College Admission Tournament and High School Student Achievement: Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan. (Joint with Lei Zhang).