Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan
Beginning in 1998, all students in the state of Texas who graduated in the top 10% 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 10% 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, at least 5% enroll in a different high school to improve the chances of being in the top 10%. These students tend to choose the neighborhood high school in lieu of transferring to more competitive schools and, regardless of own race, typically displace minority students from the top 10% pool. Relatively few students have both the motive and opportunity to behave strategically in the short run, so systemic effects are inherently slight. Our finding of sizable take-up in the face of costly strategizing, however, suggests that endogenous group membership may be important in the longer run and in other settings where individuals can select their peers and are then “graded on a curve.”
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Hanushek, Eric A & Rivkin, Steven G & Taylor, Lori L, 1996.
"Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 611-627, November.
- Hanushek, E-A & Rivkin, S-G & Taylor, L-L, 1995. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," RCER Working Papers 397, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin & Lori L. Taylor, 1996. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," NBER Working Papers 5548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 416-434, April.
- David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," NBER Working Papers 10366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1333-1350, September.
- Jesse M. Rothstein, 2003. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," Working Papers 3, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
- Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Economic Effects of Means-Tested Transfers in the U.S," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 1-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert Moffitt, 2001. "Economic Effects of Means-Tested Transfers in the US," Economics Working Paper Archive 464, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
- Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Economic Effects of Means-Tested Transfers in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 8730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alan Krueger & Jesse Rothstein & Sarah Turner, 2006. "Race, Income, and College in 25 Years: Evaluating Justice O'Connor's Conjecture," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 282-311.
- Krueger, Alan & Rothstein, Jesse M & Turner, Sarah, 2006. "Race, Income, and College in 25 Years: Evaluating Justice O'Connor's Conjecture," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt9bn6m1hs, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
- Mark C. Long, 2004. "Race and College Admissions: An Alternative to Affirmative Action?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1020-1033, November.
- Jessica S. Howell, 2010. "Assessing the Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 113-166, 01.
- Dickson, Lisa M., 2006. "Does ending affirmative action in college admissions lower the percent of minority students applying to college?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 109-119, February.
- Cortes, Kalena E. & Friedson, Andrew I., 2010. "Ranking Up by Moving Out: The Effect of the Texas Top 10% Plan on Property Values," IZA Discussion Papers 5026, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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.
- Long, M.C.Mark C., 2004. "College applications and the effect of affirmative action," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 319-342. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)