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Tiebout Sorting, Social Multipliers and the Demand for School Quality

  • Patrick Bayer
  • Fernando Ferreira
  • Robert McMillan

In many theoretical public finance models, school quality plays a central role as a determinant of household location choices and in turn, of neighborhood stratification. In contrast, the recent empirical literature has almost universally concluded that the direct effect of school quality on housing demand is weak, a conclusion that is robust across a variety of research designs. Using an equilibrium model of residential sorting, this paper closes the gap between these literatures, providing clear evidence that the full effect of school quality on residential sorting is significantly larger than the direct effect -- four times as great for education stratification, twice for income stratification. This is due to a strong social multiplier associated with heterogeneous preferences for peers and neighbors; initial changes in school quality set in motion a process of re-sorting on the basis of neighborhood characteristics that reinforces itself, giving rise to substantially larger stratification effects.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10871.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10871
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  1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation Of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599, May.
  2. Epple, Dennis & Figlio, David & Romano, Richard, 2004. "Competition between private and public schools: testing stratification and pricing predictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1215-1245, July.
  3. Walsh, Randy, 2007. "Endogenous open space amenities in a locational equilibrium," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 319-344, March.
  4. Nechyba, Thomas J, 1999. " School Finance Induced Migration and Stratification Patterns: The Impact of Private School Vouchers," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 5-50.
  5. Ferreira, Fernando, 2010. "You can take it with you: Proposition 13 tax benefits, residential mobility, and willingness to pay for housing amenities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 661-673, October.
  6. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dennis Epple & Thomas Romer & Holger Sieg, 2001. "Interjurisdictional Sorting and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1437-1465, November.
  8. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Working Papers 07-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Holger Sieg & V. Kerry Smith & H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randy Walsh, . "Estimating the General Equilibrium Benefits of Large Changes in Spatially Delineated Public Goods," GSIA Working Papers 2003-07, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  11. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-64, February.
  12. Jesse M. Rothstein, 2006. "Good Principals or Good Peers? Parental Valuation of School Characteristics, Tiebout Equilibrium, and the Incentive Effects of Competition among Jurisdictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1333-1350, September.
  13. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  14. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
  16. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan & Kim Rueben, 2004. "An Equilibrium Model of Sorting in an Urban Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 10865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Daniel McFadden, 1977. "Modelling the Choice of Residential Location," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 477, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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