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Ranking the Schools: How Quality Information Affects School Choice in the Netherlands

  • Koning, Pierre

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • van der Wiel, Karen

    ()

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

This paper analyzes whether information on high school quality published by a national newspaper affects school choice in the Netherlands. For this purpose, we use both school level and individual student level data. First, we study the causal effect of quality scores on the influx of new high school students using a longitudinal school dataset. We find that negative (positive) school quality scores decrease (increase) the number of students choosing a school after the year of publication. The positive effects are particularly large for the academic school track. An academic school track receiving the most positive score sees its inflow of students rise by 15 to 20 students. Second, we study individual school choice behaviour to address the relative importance of the quality scores, as well as potential differences in the quality response between socio-economic groups. Although the probability of attending a school is affected by its quality score, it is mainly driven by the travelling distance. Students are only willing to travel about 200 meters more in order to attend a well-performing rather than an average school. In contrast to equity concerns that are often raised, we cannot find differences in information responses between socio-economic groups.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4984.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4984
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  1. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2008. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1373-1414, November.
  2. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2004. "What's in a Grade? School Report Cards and the Housing Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 591-604, June.
  3. Pierre Koning, 2010. "School responsiveness to quality ranking: An empirical analysis of secondary education in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 149, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  4. Justine S. Hastings & Richard Van Weelden & Jeffrey Weinstein, 2007. "Preferences, Information, and Parental Choice Behavior in Public School Choice," NBER Working Papers 12995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2005. "Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program," NBER Working Papers 11805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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