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Valuing School Quality Via School Choice Reform

  • Stephen Machin
  • Kjell Salvanes

Among policymakers, educators and economists there remains a strong, sometimes heated, debate on the extent to which good schools matter. This is seen, for instance, in the strong trend towards establishing accountability systems in education in many countries across the world. In this paper, in line with some recent studies, we value school quality using house prices. We, however, adopt a rather different approach to other work, using a policy experiment regarding pupils' choice to attend high schools to identify the relationship between house prices and school performance. We exploit a change in school choice policy that took place in Oslo county in 1997, where the school authorities opened up the possibility for every pupil to apply to any of the high schools in the county without having to live in the school's catchment area (the rule that applied before 1997). Our estimates show evidence that parents substantially value better performing schools since the sensitivity of housing valuations to school performance falls significantly by over 50% following the school choice reform.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0113.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0113
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  1. Bogart, William T. & Cromwell, Brian A., 2000. "How Much Is a Neighborhood School Worth?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 280-305, March.
  2. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Working Papers 07-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. John Ries & Tsur Somerville, 2010. "School Quality and Residential Property Values: Evidence from Vancouver Rezoning," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 928-944, November.
  4. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2013. "Valuing school quality using boundary discontinuities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 15-28.
  5. Bogart, William T. & Cromwell, Brian A., 1997. "How Much More is a Good School District Worth?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 215-32, June.
  6. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger & Stephanie K. Riegg, 2005. "School Quality, Neighborhoods and Housing Prices: The Impacts of school Desegregation," NBER Working Papers 11347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stephen Gibbons & Stephen Machin, 2008. "Valuing school quality, better transport, and lower crime: evidence from house prices," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 99-119, spring.
  8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  9. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Gibbons, Steve & Machin, Stephen, 2003. "Valuing English primary schools," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 197-219, March.
  11. Black, Sandra E. & Machin, Stephen, 2011. "Housing Valuations of School Performance," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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