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Parental choice and school markets: The impact of information approximating school effectiveness

  • Alejandra Mizala
  • Miguel Urquiola


The impact of competition on academic outcomes is likely to depend on whether parents are informed about schools’ effectiveness or valued added (which may or may not be correlated with absolute measures of their quality), and on whether this information influences their school choices. To explore these issues, this paper considers Chile’s SNED program, which seeks to identify effective schools, selecting them from within “homogeneous groups” of arguably comparable institutions. Its results are widely disseminated and the information it generates is quite different from that conveyed by a simple test-based ranking of schools (which in Chile, turns out to largely resemble a ranking based on socioeconomic status). We rely on a sharp regression discontinuity to estimate the effect that being identified as a SNED winner has on schools’ enrollment, tuition levels, and socioeconomic composition. Through five applications of the program, we find no consistent evidence that winning a SNED award affects these outcomes. This suggests that information on school effectiveness—at least as it is calculated and delivered by the SNED—might not much affect school markets.

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Paper provided by Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 239.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:239
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  8. Mizala, Alejandra & Romaguera, Pilar & Urquiola, Miguel, 2007. "Socioeconomic status or noise? Tradeoffs in the generation of school quality information," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 61-75, September.
  9. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  11. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1237-1258, September.
  12. Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "Does School Choice Lead to Sorting? Evidence from Tiebout Variation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1310-1326, September.
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  23. Brunner, Eric & Sonstelie, Jon & Thayer, Mark, 2001. "Capitalization and the Voucher: An Analysis of Precinct Returns from California's Proposition 174," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 517-536, November.
  24. Francisco Gallego & Andrés Hernando, 2009. "School Choice in Chile: Looking at the Demand Side," Documentos de Trabajo 356, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
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