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The Treatment Effect of Attending a High-Quality School and the Influence of Unobservables

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  • Ronny Freier
  • Johanna Storck
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the effect of attending a high-quality secondary school on subsequent educational outcomes. The analysis is based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study in which we observe children when they make their secondary school choice (between ages 10-12) and later when they self-report on their intentions with regard to their further educational path (between ages 16-17). To identify the treatment effect, we use a regression-control framework as well as an instrumental variable approach (based on local supply of schools). In a second step, we carefully examine the influence of unobservable characteristics, using the new technique proposed by Altonji, Elder, and Taber (2005b). Our findings suggest that unobservable characteristics are indeed crucial to the validity of the research design. While we find large positive and significant effects of attending a high-quality school, we cannot rule out that the estimates are not in fact driven by selection on unobservables.

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.412043.de/dp1256.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1256.

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    Length: 38 p.
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1256

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    Related research

    Keywords: secondary school choice; school quality instrumental variable estimation; selection on unobservables;

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    1. Gould, Eric D. & Lavy, Victor & Paserman, Daniele, 2005. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1883, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation Of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599, May.
    3. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2006. "Does educational tracking affect performance and inequality? differences-in-differences evidence across countries," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20457, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Bjarne Strøm & Torberg Falch & Päivi Lujala, 2011. "Geographical constraints and educational attainment," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology 11811, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    5. Denzler, Stefan & Wolter, Stefan C., 2011. "Too Far to Go? Does Distance Determine Study Choices?," IZA Discussion Papers 5712, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. C. Katharina Spieß & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Does Distance Determine Who Attends a University in Germany?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 118, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Vardardottir, Arna, 2013. "Peer effects and academic achievement: a regression discontinuity approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 108-121.
    8. Schneeweis, Nicole & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2005. "Peer Effects in Austrian Schools," Economics Series, Institute for Advanced Studies 170, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    9. Marc Frenette, 2006. "Too Far to Go On? Distance to School and University Participation," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 31-58.
    10. Robert Bifulco & Jason M. Fletcher & Stephen L. Ross, 2011. "The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Post-secondary Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 25-53, February.
    11. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, 07.
    12. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2012. "The Good, the Bad, and the Average: Evidence on Ability Peer Effects in Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 367 - 414.
    13. Frenette, Marc, 2009. "Do universities benefit local youth? Evidence from the creation of new universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 318-328, June.
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