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Parental decisions in a choice based school system: Analyzing the transition between primary and secondary school

  • Mattia Makovec
  • Alejandra Mizala
  • Andrés Barrera


We study parental choice focusing on the transition between primary and secondary school, taking advantage of the fact that most Chilean students have to switch school at the end of the 8th grade, the last year of primary school. Using a recursive probit model we estimate jointly the probability of attending private voucher versus public school, taking explicitly into account the endogeneity of the school choice at primary level. We find that parents caring more about school academic performance are more likely to have their children enrolled in public schools at the secondary school level, while parents taking into account peers’ socioeconomic background and school values are more likely to select voucher schools. We also show that while private voucher schools “cream skim” the best students from the socioeconomic standpoint, this does not necessarily hold for high ability students. JEL classification: I2. Key words: parental choice, primary-secondary school transition, cream skimming, Chile.

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Paper provided by Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 269.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:269
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  1. Thomas A. Downes & Jeffrey E. Zabel, 1997. "The Impact of School Quality on House Prices: Chicago 1987-1991," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9704, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. Dills, Angela K., 2005. "Does cream-skimming curdle the milk? A study of peer effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 19-28, February.
  3. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 177-218.
  4. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," NBER Working Papers 13236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mark Schneider & Gregory Elacqua & Jack Buckley, 2006. "School choice in Chile: Is it class or the classroom?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 577-601.
  6. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 7888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan, 2005. "Racial Sorting and Neighborhood Quality," NBER Working Papers 11813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  11. 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.
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