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School Choice, School Quality, and Postsecondary Attainment

  • David J. Deming
  • Justine S. Hastings
  • Thomas J. Kane
  • Douglas O. Staiger

We study the impact of a public school choice lottery in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools on college enrollment and degree completion. We find a significant overall increase in college attainment among lottery winners who attend their first choice school. Using rich administrative data on peers, teachers, course offerings and other inputs, we show that the impacts of choice are strongly predicted by gains on several measures of school quality. Gains in attainment are concentrated among girls. Girls respond to attending a better school with higher grades and increases in college-preparatory course-taking, while boys do not.

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

Volume (Year): 104 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 991-1013

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:3:p:991-1013
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.3.991
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  1. Susan Dynarski, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," NBER Working Papers 11604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Tayfun Sönmez, 2003. "School Choice: A Mechanism Design Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 729-747, June.
  3. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Joshua Angrist & Susan Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag Pathak, 2009. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters and Pilots," NBER Working Papers 15549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Can Higher-Achieving Peers Explain the Benefits to Attending Selective Schools?: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," NBER Working Papers 16598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2007. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," NBER Working Papers 13670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Justine S. Hastings & Christopher A. Neilson & Seth D. Zimmerman, 2012. "The Effect of School Choice on Intrinsic Motivation and Academic Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jonathan Gruber, 2009. "The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub07-2, October.
  9. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
  11. Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Goodman, Joshua Samuel, 2012. "The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory Math Coursework," Scholarly Articles 9403178, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  13. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob, 2007. "Is Gaining Access to Selective Elementary Schools Gaining Ground? Evidence From Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 13443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Caroline M. Hoxby & Sonali Murarka, 2009. "Charter Schools in New York City: Who Enrolls and How They Affect Their Students' Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2000. "Neighborhood Schools, Choice, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
  17. David J. Deming, 2011. "Better Schools, Less Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 2063-2115.
  18. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2009. "The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools," NBER Working Papers 15600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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