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Barbara Biasi Publications

Publish Date
Discussion Paper

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 syl- labi and 20M academic articles, we construct the “education-innovation gap,” a syllabus’s rel- ative 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 bet- ter 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.