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Group Decision Making with Uncertain Outcomes: Unpacking Child-Parent Choices of High School Tracks

  • Pamela Giustinelli


    (University of Michigan)

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    Predicting group decisions with uncertain outcomes involves the empirically difficult task of disentangling individual decision makers' beliefs and preferences over outcomes' states from the group's decision rule. This paper addresses the problem within the context of a consequential family decision concerning the high school track of adolescent children in presence of curricular strati cation. The paper combines novel data on children's and parents' probabilistic beliefs, their stated choice preferences, and families' decision rules with standard data on actual choices to estimate a simple model of curriculum choice featuring both uncertainty and heterogeneous cooperative-type decisions. The model's estimates are used to quantify the impact on curriculum enrollment of policies affecting family members' expectations via awareness campaigns, publication of education statistics, and changes in curricular specialization and standards. The latter exercise reveals that identity of policy recipients--whether children, parents, or both--matters for enrollment response, and underlines the importance of incorporating information on decision makers' beliefs and decision rules when evaluating policies.

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    Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2011-030.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-030
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