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Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses

  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Miguel Urquiola

This paper applies a regression discontinuity design to the Romanian secondary school system, generating two findings. First, students who have access to higher achievement schools perform better in a (high stakes) graduation test. Second, the stratification of schools by quality in general, and the opportunity to attend a better school in particular, result in significant behavioral responses: (i) teachers sort in a manner consistent with a preference for higher achieving students; (ii) children who make it into more selective schools realize they are relatively weaker and feel marginalized; (iii) parents reduce effort when their children attend a better school.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (June)
Pages: 1289-1324

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:4:p:1289-1324
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.4.1289
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  1. Behrman, Jere R. & Khan, Shahrukh & Ross, David & Sabot, Richard, 1997. "School quality and cognitive achievement production: A case study for rural Pakistan," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 127-142, April.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ofer Malamud & Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2010. "General Education versus Vocational Training: Evidence from an Economy in Transition," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 43-60, February.
  5. Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-61, September.
  6. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  7. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  8. Yona Rubinstein & Sheetal Sekhri, 2011. "Do Public Colleges in Developing Countries Provide Better Education than Private ones? Evidence from General Education Sector in India," CEE Discussion Papers 0130, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  9. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  11. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2011. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," NBER Working Papers 16886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Brown, Philip H, 2006. "Parental Education and Investment in Children's Human Capital in Rural China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 759-89, July.
  15. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
  16. Hanan G. Jacoby, 2002. "Is There an Intrahousehold "Flypaper Effect"? Evidence From a School Feeding Programme," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 196-221, January.
  17. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, June.
  18. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
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