IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Do Households Prefer Small School Districts? A Natural Experiment

Listed author(s):
  • H. Spencer Banzhaf


    (Department of Economics, Georgia State University, and National Bureau of Economic Research, P.O. Box 3992, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA)

  • Garima Bhalla


    (†PhD Candidate, University of North Carolina, Department of Public Policy, Abernathy Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA)

Some education reformers have proposed breaking up large urban school districts, thereby moving to a more efficient scale, increasing school choices, and promoting school competition. This article tests whether households expect these effects and whether they value them. It considers the effect on real estate prices of the surprise breakup of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) into 11 minidistricts in April 2000. We estimate households' reaction to this reform in a difference-in-differences setting that controls for any unobserved spatial effects unaffected by the announcement. We find that households valued this decentralization, with a 2–3 percentage point increase in housing values in the LAUSD area over pre-existing trends, compared with control districts. The effect is highest in wealthier neighborhoods but otherwise homogenous within the LAUSD area. The results suggest that households believe that decentralization would make schools more effective and that they respond to signals about schools' future.

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.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 78 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 819-841

in new window

Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:78:3:y:2012:p:515-542
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:78:3:y:2012:p:515-542. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Laura Razzolini)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.