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What Do Parents Value in Education? An Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers

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  • Jacob, Brian A.

    (Harvard U)

  • Lefgren, Lars

    (Brigham Young U)

Abstract

This paper examines revealed parent preferences for their children’s education using a unique data set that includes the number of parent requests for individual elementary school teachers along with information on teacher attributes including principal reports of teacher characteristics that are typically unobservable. We find that, on average, parents strongly prefer teachers that principals describe as good at promoting student satisfaction and place relatively less value on a teacher’s ability to raise standardized math or reading achievement. These aggregate effects, however, mask striking differences across family demographics. Families in higher poverty schools strongly value student achievement and are essentially indifferent to the principal’s report of a teacher’s ability to promote student satisfaction. The results are reversed for families in higher-income schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob, Brian A. & Lefgren, Lars, 2005. "What Do Parents Value in Education? An Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers," Working Paper Series rwp05-043, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp05-043
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    File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=3039&type=WPN
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    2. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
    3. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
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