Jockeying for Position: Strategic High School Choice Under Texas' Top Ten Percent Plan
AbstractBeginning in 1998, all students in the state of Texas who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school classes were guaranteed admission to any in-state public higher education institution, including the flagships. While the goal of this policy is to improve college access for disadvantaged and minority students, the use of a school-specific standard to determine eligibility could have unintended consequences. Students may increase their chances of being in the top ten percent by choosing a high school with lower-achieving peers. Our analysis of students’ school transitions between 8th and 10th grade three years before and after the policy change reveals that this incentive influences enrollment choices in the anticipated direction. Among the subset of students with both motive and opportunity for strategic high school choice, as many as 25 percent enroll in a different high school to improve the chances of being in the top ten percent. Strategic students tend to choose the neighborhood high school in lieu of more competitive magnet schools and, regardless of own race, typically displace minority students from the top ten percent pool. The net effect of strategic behavior is to slightly decrease minority students’ representation in the pool.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16663.
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Cullen, Julie Berry & Long, Mark C. & Reback, Randall, 2013. "Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 32-48.
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Other versions of this item:
- Cullen, Julie Berry & Long, Mark C. & Reback, Randall, 2013. "Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 32-48.
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
- H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
- I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
- J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
- J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-01-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2011-01-16 (Education)
- NEP-LAB-2011-01-16 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-URE-2011-01-16 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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