Dennis A. Kramer II, Ph.D.
Dennis Kramer is an Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy and the Director of the Education Policy Research Center at the University of Florida. His research focuses on the use of behavioral insights to understand education-based decision-making, the antecedents and outcomes of federal, state, and local policies, and broadly the economics of education. His work have been featured in a number of top peer-reviewed journals within higher education, education policy, and public administration.
Recently, Kramer’s scholarly agenda has focused on conducting field-experiments on the default structures and information asymmetries associated with education-based decisions making. Specifically, Kramer is collaborating on a project to examine the role of fiscal incentives and information on the re-enrollment impacts of recent community college non-completers. He is also leading one of the first-known experiments on the impact of default choice structures within the student loan disbursement process to test to impact of institutionally-decided defaults on loan acceptance rates.
In addition to this academic role, Kramer is currently a Fellow with the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) within the General Services Administration (GSA) -- formerly the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST). With OES, Kramer is supporting a variety of large-scale education-based randomized evaluations within the Department of Education (ED), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Kramer earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy from the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia with a master’s degree from the University of Southern California and the bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. Prior to joining the faculty, Kramer served as the Senior Research and Policy Analyst for the Policy Division of the Georgia Department of Education. In this role, Kramer managed the agency’s policy research agenda. served in a leadership capacity for the development of the state’s next generation state accountability system, and served as the agency’s federal policy liaison.
RECENTLY PUBLISHED WORK
GROWING THE PIE? THE EFFECT OF RESPONSIBILITY CENTER MANAGEMENT ON TUITION REVENUE
with Ozan Jaquette (UCLA) & Bradley Curs (Missouri)
Published in Journal of Higher Education
Responsibility center management (RCM) budgeting systems devolve budget responsibility while creating funding formulas that provide incentives for academic units to generate revenues and decrease costs. A growing number of public universities have adopted RCM. The desire to grow tuition revenue has often been cited as a rationale for adoption. Previous research has not assessed the effect of RCM on institution-level tuition revenue. Traditional regression methods that calculate “average treatment effects” are inappropriate because RCM policies differ across universities. This study employed a synthetic control method (SCM) approach. The SCM approximates the counterfactual for an RCM adopter by creating a synthetic control institution composed of a weighted average of nonadopters. The SCM estimates the effect of RCM separately for each adopter rather than estimating the average effect across multiple adopters. We used SCM to analyze the effect of RCM adoption on tuition revenue at 4 public research universities that adopted RCM during 2008 to 2010. We found a positive relationship between RCM and tuition revenue at Iowa State University, Kent State University, and the University of Cincinnati. The magnitude of this relationship was moderately large relative to placebo adopters. We found no relationship between RCM and tuition revenue at the University of Florida.
TUITION-SETTING AUTHORITY AND BROAD-BASED MERIT AID: THE EFFECT OF POLICY INTERSECTION ON PRICING STRATEGIES
with Justin Ortagus ( Florida) & T. Austin Lacy (RTI)
Published in Research in Higher Education
The notion of merit-aid is not a new development in higher education. Although previous researchers have demonstrated the impact of state-adopted merit-aid funding on student decision-making, fewer studies have examined institutional pricing responses to broad-based merit-aid policies. Using a generalized difference-in-difference approach, we extend previous empirical work by examining the impact of merit-aid on institutional pricing strategies while considering both the institution’s tuition-setting authority and the relative strength of the merit-aid program. In this study, we find that colleges and universities with the authority to set their own tuition increased their in-state tuition and fees following broad-based merit-aid policy adoption; however, institutions with state-controlled tuition-setting authority respond to broad-based merit-aid policies by lowering their in-state tuition and fees. Our findings suggest that the incentives and dynamics of each state’s policy environment are significant determinants of institutional responses to state level policy adoptions.
INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATION POLICY
This course is an introduction to education policy and analysis. In considering contemporary education policy in the U.S., we will pay attention to: current debates, policy designs and their assumptions, and findings on implementation and (intended and unintended) outcomes. In addition, unlike many courses in policy analysis, we will turn a critical eye to the act of policy analysis itself, considering what it means to be a policy analyst and what kind of policy analysis students might engage in as part of their practice.
HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY
Fall 2015; Spring 2015; Fall 2017
This course is designed to introduce students to the debates, research, and frameworks that shape public policy in higher education. This course is crafted to provide students with foundational tools to study or work in higher education public policy through the combination of the assigned readings, lectures, classroom discussion, and writing assignments. Students will increase their understanding of the various tensions and tradeoffs made in order to craft policy; and use the models that describe those processes; and the various structures and actors. Moreover, students will gain an understanding of not only the background of some of the most important higher education policies, but they will be conversant in policy discourse, while clearly articulating the current policy challenges and proposed solutions from a variety of perspectives. Students will also become aware of the variety of sources used to discuss, debate, evaluate, and influence higher education policy. Finally, students will be able to succinctly articulate commentary on a variety of pressing higher education issues and gain experience presenting and defending their ideas.
ECONOMICS AND FINANCING OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Spring 2016; Fall 2016; Summer 2018; Fall 2018
This course provides an overview of the economics and finance of higher education in the United States, with an emphasis on the analysis of economics principals. The purpose of this course is to apply concepts, models, and methods of economic theory in the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of issues, problems, programs, policies, and behaviors related to the finance of higher education.
BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS AND EDUCATION
This course exposes students to the field of behavioral economics and provides a hands-on opportunity to implement a study using behavioral economic principals to solve an educational problem. Students also gain experience in working collaboratively in a team-based setting on solving problems and implementing rigorous evaluations. Topics will be engaged through the New York Times’ bestselling book by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow.