George Zuo (pronounced "zō") is a fourth year doctoral student in economics, and is currently studying under a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF GRFP). His research is in public and labor economics, with a focus on poverty and education. As a recipient of the Abell Award in Urban Policy, George's work on cognitive behavioral therapy and youth crime in Baltimore was featured in the Baltimore Sun. Prior to Maryland, he worked as a senior associate in economic consulting at Deloitte.
"Wired and Hired: Employment Effects of Subsidized Broadband Internet for Low-Income Americans" (with Daniel Kolliner; revise and resubmit @ American Economic Journal: Economic Policy)
We present evidence on the relationship between broadband pricing and labor market outcomes for low-income individuals. Specifically, we estimate the effects of a Comcast service providing discounted broadband to qualifying low-income families. We use a triple differences strategy exploiting geographic variation in Comcast coverage, individual variation in eligibility, and temporal variation pre- and post-launch. Program enrollment increases the probability that an eligible low-income individual is employed by 4.4 percentage points (7.8%), driven by greater labor force participation and decreased probability of unemployment. Internet use increased substantially where the program was available, narrowing the income-broadband gap by at least 40 percent.
"Who Do School Suspension Policies Benefit? Evidence from Los Angeles" (with Nolan Pope)
Suspensions are a common but controversial way to discipline misbehaving students. In this paper, we present evidence on the effects of school suspension rates on short-term student achievement. We use administrative data from the Los Angeles Unified School District, where suspension rates fell by over 90% from 2003 to 2013. Our empirical approach leverages district-wide suspension trends and school-grade exposure to these trends to instrument for school suspension rates. The results indicate that a 10 percentage point decline in suspension rates slightly decreases average math and English test scores by 0.03 to 0.04 standard deviations. GPAs fall, absences increase, and teacher attrition increases. While lowering suspension rates produces concentrated benefits for a small number of students at the margin of suspension, the overall net effect of fewer suspensions is driven by small, negative spillovers experienced by all students.
Degree TypeBADegree DetailsEconomics, Harvard University Class of 2013