David J. Deming


David Deming. Professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

David J. Deming is a professor of economics and higher education at The Harvard Kennedy School. Deming researches and does experiments; he uses tables and graphs of information to justify his statements in his pieces of works. He writes about how the school systems affects the students. In doing so, he magnifies the importance of higher education. He does this by looking at colleges and high school systems and analyze its effects on not only college students but the economy. So, Deming is important because he does a great job educating readers about the relationship between the higher education and their students society.

In 2009, Deming and his colleague wrote the article, Into college, out of poverty? Policies to increase the postsecondary attainment of the poor, which analyzed and questioned the relationship between money and college. From an economic point of view the authors talk about how decreasing the cost of college increases the student enrollment rates. This statement is backed up by tests that show how decreasing 1,000 dollars in tuition increased enrollers rate (Deming, Dynarski). The authors made this article to educate the effects of expensive colleges and the benefits of more financially considerate colleges.

In Deming’s 2011 article, School Choice, School Quality, and Postsecondary Attainment, it shows the impact of choice lottery enrollments in Charlotte-Mecklenburg High Schools have on college admission and degree accomplishments rates (Deming et al). The lottery enrollment procedures are when the school allow random parents to have the ability to choose where their children could go to school. He concludes that this lottery process results in an increase of college enrollees and encourages students to go to college. The authors summarize the article saying, “Our findings imply that school choice can lead to long-run gains in educational attainment, but only when applicants gain access to higher quality schools. Our results also show that high school quality exerts an important influence on some students’ life chances, suggesting that later life interventions may have a high social return on investment, if we can uncover the correct mechanisms” (Deming et al). Deming is suggesting that this practice can benefit students because it encourages them to get a post-secondary education. However, it also implies that high schools and college need to do a better job at creating an equal opportunity giving environment so that lottery enrollments will not have to be a necessity.

One year later, Deming co-wrote an article about the effects for-profit colleges have on students and what it is. He looks at different schools and statistics that show how students are affected. He observes the financial impact it created. The author says the issue is that students at for-profit colleges pay more student loans rates, larger debt rates, and are more likely to suffer unemployment (Deming et al). This indicates that in the long run, For-profit schools are not the best options. From a completion point of view, student in a for-profit school seeking an Associate degree are more likely to succeed than community college students. However, those same students are less likely to continue seeking a bachelor’s degree (Deming et al). Though this may be the case, it is better for them not to continue because they will be deeper in debt. I this case the institution is not only wasting peoples time but also their dreams of a better future. In an economic perspective, For-profit colleges are targeting minorities and are causing a separation between the middle class and the upper class. Because the minorities are being targeted, they have a harder time rising above their current statuses. Plus, because of the rate these schools are growing, it only makes it harder to escape and ignore them. In the article, The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators, Deming shows how the for-profit institutions mostly negatively impact the economy.

In 2015, Deming, with the help of his Harvard colleagues, wrote an article that shows the effects online learning programs have on the students. The summary of this article would be that online colleges classes could possibly be affecting the level of learning and how well students internalize the information they “learned”. The premise of the article is also how beneficial it is to students because of its undeniably low price. The question is whether it is worth it. If people do not hold on to the information being taught how can they use it in real life situations? This is something to consider because more and more people are choosing this option of education. On the bright side, Deming says in, Can Online Learning Bend the Higher Education Cost Curve? there is evidence that the online learning could potentially encourage Post-secondary systems to lower the prices of online teaching and increase its efficiency (Deming et al).

Two years later Deming writes another journal called Increasing College Completion with a Federal Higher Education Matching Grant. He addresses an important problem in the college education society, which is the low completion rate. Deming says the bachelor’s degree completion rates are low and are not getting better even if colleges decrease their costs (Deming). The high costs of these schools are not only negatively impacting the school but the education economy. To fix this problem, Deming proposes a federal matching grant plan which advertises free tuition for students in community colleges and an increase in affordable mentoring sessions. Deming says, “The purpose of the proposed program is to provide states with an incentive to rein in college costs, while maintaining or increasing spending levels so that quality does not suffer” (Deming). The program Deming is suggesting gives equal opportunity to everyone by making schools more affordable. Doing this would encourage students to finish their degrees and help the economy.

In 2018, Deming received the David N. Kershaw award. The APPAM say that his analyzation and research are important to the public and that he is changing a big social challenge for the better. They also say Deming not only educates the public but that he shows them how important and impacting research is. (Harvard’s David Deming Earns Prestigious David N. Kershaw Award)

Deming is a cognitive thinker and writer and does a great job at proving his points. His continual use of data and research grabs readers attention. This skill is very important for readers of this generation because it is harder to grab their attention. Deming has always looked at things from and economic perspective and luckily, he has included higher education. A point that he touches on each of his article is that higher education is to educate the minds of certain individuals. Colleges need to improve and clear the path for these learners so that this is possible. As time continues, more people will understand how higher education affects its students and that thanks to one of the best influencers; David J. Deming.



Deming’s Websites for Harvard University
About David Deming 
David Deming Professor of Education and Economics

Deming’s Social Media
Twitter Account (@ProfDavidDeming)

Deming’s Video
Why It Matters: David Deming

Deming’s Public Work
David Deming NBER

David Deming Photo

Deming, David, et al. “Can Online Learning Bend the Higher Education Cost Curve?” American Economic Association, 2015, search.proquest.com/openview/29a3a07defa95a99de989a0db157f318/1.pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=42182.

“Harvard’s David Deming Earns Prestigious David N. Kershaw Award.” Mathematica Policy Research, 2018, www.mathematica-mpr.com/news/harvards-david-deming-earns-prestigious-david-n-kershaw-award.

Deming, David. “Increasing College Completion with a Federal Higher Education Matching Grant.” The Hamilton Project, 2017, nshe.nevada.edu/tasks/sites/Nshe/assets/File/BoardOfRegents/Agendas/2017/jun-mtgs/bor-refs/supp-mat/BOR-7.pdf

Deming, David, and Susan Dynarski. “Into College, Out of Poverty? Policies to Increase the Postsecondary Attainment of the Poor” NBER Working Papers Series, 2009, www.nber.org/papers/w15387.pdf.

Deming, David, et al. “School Choice, School Quality, and Postsecondary Attainment.” NBER Working Papers, 2011, www.nber.org/papers/w17438.pdf

Deming, David J, et al. “The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?” The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?, 2012, www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41348810.pdf.