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Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses

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  • Cristian Pop-Eleches
  • Miguel Urquiola

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2013. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1289-1324, June.
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2013. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1289-1324, June.
    3. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, June.
    5. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
    6. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    7. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    8. 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 3-33, February.
    9. 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.
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    11. Sheetal Sekhri & Yona Rubinstein, "undated". "Do Public Colleges in Developing Countries Provide Better Education than Private ones? Evidence from General Education Sector in India," Virginia Economics Online Papers 375, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
    12. 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.
    13. 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 759-789, July.
    14. 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.
    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. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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 201-209, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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