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Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery

  • Justine S. Hastings
  • Thomas J. Kane
  • Douglas O. Staiger

This paper combines a model of parental school choice with randomized school lotteries in order to understand the effects of being assigned to a first-choice school on academic outcomes. We outline a simple framework in which those who place the highest weight on academics when choosing a school benefit the most academically when admitted. Although the average student does not improve academically when winning a school lottery, this average impact conceals a range of impacts for identifiable subgroups of students. Children of parents whose choices revealed a strong preference for academic quality experienced significant gains in test scores as a result of attending their chosen school, while children whose parents weighted academic characteristics less heavily experienced academic losses. This differential effect is largest for children of parents who forfeit the most in terms of utility gains from proximity and racial match to choose a school with stronger academics. Depending on one's own race and neighborhood, a preference for academic quality can either conflict with or be reinforced by other objectives, such as a desire for proximity and same-race peers.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12145.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12145.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12145
Note: CH ED PE IO
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  1. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers And Student Achievement: An Evaluation Of The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602, May.
  2. James Heckman, 1997. "Instrumental Variables: A Study of Implicit Behavioral Assumptions Used in Making Program Evaluations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 441-462.
  3. Krueger, Alan B. & Zhu, Pei, 2002. "Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. David Revelt & Kenneth Train, 1998. "Mixed Logit With Repeated Choices: Households' Choices Of Appliance Efficiency Level," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 647-657, November.
  5. Levinsohn, James & Berry, Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 2004. "Differentiated Products Demand Systems from a Combination of Micro and Macro Data: The New Car Market," Scholarly Articles 3436404, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
  8. repec:mpr:mprres:3180 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2.
  10. Daniel P. Mayer & Paul E. Peterson & David E. Myers & Christina Clark Tuttle & William G. Howell, 2002. "School Choice in New York City After Three Years: An Evaluation of the School Choice Scholarships Program," Mathematica Policy Research Reports bd29adb569094778a5981be0e, Mathematica Policy Research.
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