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School Quality, Neighborhoods and Housing Prices: The Impacts of school Desegregation


  • Thomas J. Kane
  • Douglas O. Staiger
  • Stephanie K. Riegg


We study the relationship between school characteristics and housing prices in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina between 1994 and 2001. During this period, the school district was operating under a court-imposed desegregation order and redrew a number of school boundaries. We use two different sources of variation to disentangle the effect of schools and other neighborhood characteristics: differences in housing prices along assignment zone boundaries and changes in housing prices following the change in school assignments. We find systematic differences in house prices along school boundaries, although the impact of schools is only one-quarter as large as the naive cross-sectional estimates would imply. Moreover, house prices seem to react to changes in school assignments. Part of the impact of school assignments is mediated by subsequent changes in the characteristics of the population living in the school zone.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger & Stephanie K. Riegg, 2005. "School Quality, Neighborhoods and Housing Prices: The Impacts of school Desegregation," NBER Working Papers 11347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11347
    Note: ED LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1975. "The Effect of School Desegregation on Housing Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(4), pages 446-451, November.
    2. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    3. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2002. "The Promise and Pitfalls of Using Imprecise School Accountability Measures," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
    4. 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.
    5. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan & Kim Rueben, 2004. "Residential Segregation in General Equilibrium," Working Papers 885, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    6. David N. Figlio & Maurice E. Lucas, 2000. "What's in a Grade? School Report Cards and House Prices," NBER Working Papers 8019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2003. "Introducing School Choice into Multidistrict Public School Systems," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 145-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Dennis N. Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Neighborhood Schools, Choice, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 227-286 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bogart, William T. & Cromwell, Brian A., 2000. "How Much Is a Neighborhood School Worth?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 280-305, 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 215-232, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlsen, Fredrik & Langset, Bjørg & Rattsø, Jørn & Stambøl, Lasse, 2009. "Using survey data to study capitalization of local public services," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 688-695, November.
    2. C. Kirabo Jackson & Elias Bruegmann, 2009. "Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 85-108, October.
    3. Stephen Machin & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2016. "Valuing School Quality via a School Choice Reform," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(1), pages 3-24, January.
    4. Paul Thorsnes & John W. Reifel, 2007. "Tiebout Dynamics: Neighborhood Response To A Central-City/Suburban House-Price Differential," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 693-719.
    5. Stephen B. Billings & David J. Deming & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2012. "School Segregation, Educational Attainment and Crime: Evidence from the end of busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg," NBER Working Papers 18487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Joëlle Noailly & SunÄica VujiÄ & Ali Aouragh, 2012. "The effects of competition on the quality of primary schools in the Netherlands," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(9), pages 2153-2170, September.
    7. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2013. "Valuing school quality using boundary discontinuities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 15-28.
    8. Theodore M. Crone, 2006. "Capitalization of the quality of local public schools: what do home buyers value?," Working Papers 06-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    9. Yadavalli, Anita P. & Florax, Raymond J.G.M., 2013. "The Effect of School Quality on House Prices: A Meta-Regression Analysis," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151291, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Stephen Gibbons & Stephen Machin, 2008. "Valuing school quality, better transport, and lower crime: evidence from house prices," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 99-119, spring.
    11. John Glen & Joseph G. Nellis, 2010. "“The Price You Pay”: The Impact of State-Funded Secondary School Performance on Residential Property Values in England," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(4), pages 405-428, December.
    12. Robert Bifulco & Helen F. Ladd & Stephen Ross, 2007. "Public School Choice and Integration: Evidence from Durham, North Carolina," Working papers 2007-41, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2008.

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    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General

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