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The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools

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Author Info

  • Abdulkadiroğlu, Atila

    ()
    (Duke University)

  • Angrist, Joshua

    ()
    (MIT)

  • Pathak, Parag A.

    ()
    (MIT)

Abstract

Parents gauge school quality in part by the level of student achievement and a school's racial mix. The importance of school characteristics in the housing market can be seen in the jump in house prices at school district boundaries where peer characteristics change. The question of whether schools with more attractive peers are really better in a value-added sense remains open, however. This paper uses a fuzzy regression-discontinuity design to evaluate the causal effects of peer characteristics. Our design exploits admissions cutoffs for Boston and New York City's heavily over-subscribed exam schools. Successful applicants near admissions cutoffs for the least selective of these schools move from schools with scores near the bottom of the state SAT score distribution to a school with scores near the median. Successful applicants near admissions cutoffs for the most selective of these schools move from above-average schools to schools with students drawn from the extreme upper tail. Exam school students can also expect to study with fewer nonwhite classmates than unsuccessful applicants. Our estimates suggest that the marked changes in peer characteristics at exam school admissions cutoffs have little causal effect on test scores or college quality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6790.

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Length: 70 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6790

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Keywords: human capital; peer effects; school quality;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/323 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Kalena Cortes & Joshua Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2014. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," NBER Working Papers 20211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Justine S. Hastings & Christopher A. Neilson & Seth D. Zimmerman, 2013. "Are Some Degrees Worth More than Others? Evidence from college admission cutoffs in Chile," NBER Working Papers 19241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2012. "Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," NBER Working Papers 18277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Simon Burgess & Matt Dickson & Lindsey Macmillan, 2014. "Selective Schooling Systems Increase Inequality," DoQSS Working Papers 14-09, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  6. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, 01.
  7. Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2014. "Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya," Working Papers 14-03, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  8. Wiswall, Matthew & Stiefel, Leanna & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Boccardo, Jessica, 2014. "Does attending a STEM high school improve student performance? Evidence from New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 93-105.
  9. Cohodes, Sarah & Goodman, Joshua, 2013. "Merit Aid, College Quality and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," Working Paper Series rwp13-005, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  10. S. Pelin Akyol & Verónica Frisancho & Kala M. Krishna & Cemile Yavas, 2013. "Preferences, Selection, and Value Added: A Structural Approach Applied to Turkish Exam High Schools," CESifo Working Paper Series 4302, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Dustmann, Christian & Puhani, Patrick A. & Schönberg, Uta, 2014. "The Long-Term Effects of Early Track Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 7897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Christian Dustmann & Patrick A. Puhani & Uta Schönberg, 2012. "The Long-term Effects of School Quality on Labor Market Outcomes and Educational Attainment," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1208, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  13. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt & Erin Robertson & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "What Can Be Done to Improve Struggling High Schools?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 133-52, Spring.

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