School choice through relocation: evidence from the Washington, D.C. area
In this paper I show how the monetary value that parents place on school quality may be inferred from their choice of residential location. The method identifies the valuation that parents place on school quality from the differential effect that measures of school quality have on the residential choices of households with and without children. I implement the method with data from the U.S. Census for Washington, D.C. using residential location decisions in 1990. For whites I find that school quality is an important determinant of residential choices and that households with children in the top income quintile are willing to pay $3,300 for schools that generate a 100 SAT point advantage. The evidence does not indicate that the choices of African Americans are influenced by school quality, which suggests that this group may be constrained in their location choices.
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