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Ability Tracking, School and Parental Effort, and Student Achievement: A Structural Model and Estimation

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  • Chao Fu
  • Nirav Mehta

Abstract

We develop and estimate an equilibrium model of ability tracking in which schools decide how to allocate students into ability tracks and choose track-specific teacher effort; parents choose effort in response. The model is estimated using Early Childhood Longitudinal Study data. Our model suggests that a counterfactual ban on tracking would benefit low-ability students but hurt high-ability students. Ignoring effort adjustments would significantly overstate the impacts. We then illustrate the trade-offs involved when considering policies that affect schools’ tracking decisions. Setting proficiency standards to maximize average achievement would lead schools to redistribute their inputs from low- to high-ability students.

Suggested Citation

  • Chao Fu & Nirav Mehta, 2018. "Ability Tracking, School and Parental Effort, and Student Achievement: A Structural Model and Estimation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(4), pages 923-979.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/697559
    DOI: 10.1086/697559
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    Cited by:

    1. Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse & Pia Pinger, 2020. "Mentoring and Schooling Decisions: Causal Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 8382, CESifo.
    2. Tim Conley & Nirav Mehta & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2018. "Social Interactions, Mechanisms, and Equilibrium: Evidence from a Model of Study Time and Academic Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 6896, CESifo.
    3. Tim Conley & Nirav Mehta & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2015. "Social Interactions, Mechanisms, and Equilibrium: Evidence from a Model of Study Time and Academic Achievement," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20154, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    4. De Groote, Olivier, 2019. "A dynamic model of effort choice in high school," TSE Working Papers 19-1002, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jun 2020.
    5. Roller, Marcus & Steinberg, Daniel, 2020. "The distributional effects of early school stratification - non-parametric evidence from Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    6. Fruehwirth, Jane Cooley & Gagete-Miranda, Jessica, 2019. "Your peers’ parents: Spillovers from parental education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    7. de Gendre, Alexandra & Salamanca, Nicolás, 2020. "On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 13938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Chang, Simon & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Salamanca, Nicolás, 2020. "Parents' Responses to Teacher Qualifications," IZA Discussion Papers 13065, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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