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Ranking the schools: How quality information affects school choice in the Netherlands

  • Pierre Koning


  • Karen van der Wiel


Both school level and individual student level data indicate that information on highschool quality published by a national newspaper affects school choice in the Netherlands. The positive effects are particularly large for the academic school track. First, we study the causal effect of quality scores on the influx of new highschool students using a longitudinal school dataset. We find that negative (positive) school quality scores decrease (increase) the number of students choosing a school after the year of publication. An academic school track receiving the most positive score sees its inflow of students rise by 15 to 20 students. Second, we study individual school choice behavior to address the relative importance of the quality scores, as well as potential differences in the quality response between socio-economic groups. Although the probability of attending a school is affected by its quality score, it is mainly driven by the traveling distance. Students are willing to travel only about 200 meters more to attend a well-performing rather than an average school. In contrast to equity concerns that are often raised, we cannot find differences in information responses between socio-economic groups.

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Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 150.

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Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:150
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  1. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," NBER Working Papers 13623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hastings, Justine S. & Kane, Thomas J. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2005. "Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program," Working Papers 10, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  3. Pierre Koning, 2010. "School responsiveness to quality ranking: An empirical analysis of secondary education in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 149, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  4. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2004. "What's in a Grade? School Report Cards and the Housing Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 591-604, June.
  5. Justine S. Hastings & Richard Van Weelden & Jeffrey Weinstein, 2007. "Preferences, Information, and Parental Choice Behavior in Public School Choice," NBER Working Papers 12995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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