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Song Ma – Yale School of Management
4 November 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
The Education-Innovation Gap
Barbara Biasi and Song Ma
May 17, 2022
This paper documents differences across higher education courses in the coverage of frontier knowledge. Applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques to the text of 1.7M syllabi and 20M academic articles, we construct the “education-innovation gap,” a syllabus’s relative proximity to old and new knowledge. We show that courses differ greatly in the extent to which they cover frontier knowledge. Instructors play a big role in shaping course content; instructors who are active researchers teach more frontier knowledge. More selective and better funded schools, and those enrolling socio-economically advantaged students, teach more frontier knowledge. Students from these schools are more likely to complete a doctoral degree, produce more patents, and earn more after graduation.