On the Determinants and Implications of School Choice: Semi-Structural Simulations for Chile
This paper studies the implications of school choice in the context of the Chilean quasivoucher system. We use information of school choices of about 80,000 students that lived in the Metropolitan Area of Santiago in Chile in 2002 and the results of the discrete choice model estimated in Gallego and Hernando (2008) to perform a number of exercises aimed at quantifying what we call the "value of choice" (i.e. how much do households gain from a school choice system?) against a number of counterfactuals that restrict school choice in several dimensions (geographic choice, the existence of top ups, and the supply of voucher schools). We also (i) analyze the effects on socioeconomic segregation of students and (ii) study the potential effects of introducing a non-flat voucher that is decreasing in students’ SES. Our results suggest that overall, school choice seems to be valuable to households, but there is a lot of heterogeneity in its value. In some simulations, school choice is regressive (as when lotteries are used to allocate students to current schools; or when we consider the effects of the increase in the supply of voucher schools) and in other progressive (when students are allowed to choose outside the county in which they live). Interestingly, policies that restrict the use of top ups to the voucher do not seem to reduce segregation in a significant way. This contrasts with the introduction of a differentiated voucher, which would mostly benefit the poor and even compensate them for loses from some dimensions of school choice observed in particular groups.
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