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Sarah Turner

Professor of Economics and Education, University of Virginia

Sarah Turner is University Professor of Economics and Education at the University of Virginia and a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Turner's research focuses on both the supply and demand sides of the education market and the link with the labor market, with particular attention to how public policies affect outcomes. Recent research projects include the "Aid and Application Awareness" survey of how high school seniors and their parents perceive the costs of different collegiate options, expectations about the likelihood of admission, general knowledge of financial aid, and sources of guidance and information in the college application process. Turner’s research also examines scientific labor markets and the internationalization of doctorate education with a focus on understanding the distribution of students by country of origin and program quality at U.S. institutions, the domestic and home-country factors affecting the persistence of foreign-born Ph.D.s in the U.S. labor market, and how the influx of foreign Ph.D.s affects wages and future decisions to enter science and engineering fields. Turner received her B.A. from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Professor Turner has written extensively on the economics of higher education, including work on obstacles to college completion, why college completion rates have declined over time, divergence in college outcomes across different types of institutions, and federal financial aid and loan policies. Some of her most recent work speaks directly to the current (and future) financial challenges faced by public universities and their likely effects on student outcomes.

Professor Turner has a current research project that examines the impact of the recent financial crisis on faculty hiring, wages , and retention in public and private universities in the United States. Her work shows that the most-recent fiscal crisis has resulted in dramatic contractions in faculty hiring at the same time the weak economy has increased student enrollment and demand. She goes on to illustrate that the fiscal conditions generating such contractions among public universities are likely to be long-lasting, while private universities have recovered quickly from recession-related downturns in endowment funds. The project also considers what this might mean for future levels of resources per student (student-faculty ratios), student attainment, and research output at public universities.

Related Forums

Forum 7:

Faculty Labor Markets: Structural Challenges and Cyclical Shocks

Sarah Turner

Held June 5, 2013

Includes video