Biden’s Pick to Head Economic Advisors Seen as Sympathetic to Loan Borrowers

Kery Murakami:

While President-elect Biden’s choice to chair his Council of Economic Advisors, Cecilia Rouse, didn’t call for canceling student debt, she expressed awareness of the impact debt has on borrowers in a 2007 research paper.

Rouse, in a paper co-authored with Jesse Rothstein, now a public policy and economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, found that holding student debt made it more likely for students to choose high-paying careers and eschew lower-paying ones like teaching.

In the study, Rothstein and Rouse, who is now dean of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, examined students at an anonymous university that had stopped giving out loans and only gave students financial aid through grants.

They found that every $10,000 in debt reduces by 5 to 6 percent the chances that a student at the university would take a job at a nonprofit, in the government or in education.

“Overall, it appears that college debt affects post-graduation employment decisions: students with more debt are less likely to accept jobs in low-paying industries and accept higher paying jobs more generally,” the study found.