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Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery," NBER Working Papers 12145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12145
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Nancy Clements, 1997. "Making The Most Out Of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting For Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535.
    2. Steven Berry & James Levinsohn & Ariel Pakes, 2004. "Differentiated Products Demand Systems from a Combination of Micro and Macro Data: The New Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 68-105, February.
    3. Hastings, Justine S. & Kane, Thomas J. & Staiger, Douglas O., 2005. "Parental Preferences and School Competition: Evidence from a Public School Choice Program," Working Papers 10, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:mpr:mprres:3180 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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).
    6. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, October.
    7. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602.
    8. 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.
    9. Alan Krueger & Pei Zhu, 2002. "Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 849, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. 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.
    11. 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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Justine S. Hastings & Christopher A. Neilson & Seth D. Zimmerman, 2012. "The Effect of School Choice on Intrinsic Motivation and Academic Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob, 2007. "Is Gaining Access to Selective Elementary Schools Gaining Ground? Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Chapters,in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 43-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Levon Barseghyan & Damon Clark & Stephen Coate, 2014. "Public School Choice: An Economic Analysis," NBER Working Papers 20701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Singleton, John, 2017. "Incentives and the Supply of Effective Charter Schools," MPRA Paper 83532, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2006. "Gender and Performance: Evidence from School Assignment by Randomized Lottery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 232-236, May.
    6. Horn, Keren Mertens & Ellen, Ingrid Gould & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 2014. "Do Housing Choice Voucher holders live near good schools?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 28-40.
    7. Pope, Devin G., 2009. "Reacting to rankings: Evidence from "America's Best Hospitals"," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1154-1165, December.
    8. Akyol, Pelin & Krishna, Kala, 2017. "Preferences, selection, and value added: A structural approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 89-117.
    9. Hastings, Justine S. & Kane, Thomas J. & Staiger, Douglas O. & Weinstein, Jeffrey M., 2007. "The effect of randomized school admissions on voter participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 915-937, June.
    10. Fang Lai & Elisabeth Sadoulet & Alain de Janvry, 2011. "The Contributions of School Quality and Teacher Qualifications to Student Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Beijing Middle Schools," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 123-153.
    11. Hugh Macartney & John D. Singleton, 2017. "School Boards and Student Segregation," NBER Working Papers 23619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "No Child Left Behind: Estimating the Impact on Choices and Student Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Horn, Keren Mertens & Ellen, Ingrid Gould & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 2014. "Reprint of “Do Housing Choice Voucher Holders Live Near Good Schools?”," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 109-121.
    14. Lamarche, Carlos, 2011. "Measuring the incentives to learn in Colombia using new quantile regression approaches," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 278-288, November.
    15. Yan Dong & Li Gan & Yingning Wang, 2015. "Residential Mobility, Neighborhood Effects, and Educational Attainment of Blacks and Whites," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(6-10), pages 763-798, December.
    16. Clark Damon, 2010. "Selective Schools and Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, February.
    17. Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Stiefel, Leanna & Wiswall, Matthew, 2016. "Are all schools created equal? Learning environments in small and large public high schools in New York City," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 272-290.
    18. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 16850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Lamarche, Carlos, 2008. "Private school vouchers and student achievement: A fixed effects quantile regression evaluation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 575-590, August.
    20. Poeschel, Friedrich, 2014. "Assignment vs. choice: lessons from training vouchers," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100606, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. Hastings, Justine S. & Kane, Thomas J. & Staiger, Douglas O. & Weinstein, Jeffrey M., 2006. "The Political Economy of School Choice: Randomized School Admissions and Voter Participation," Working Papers 11, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    22. Claudia Schuchart & Kerstin Schneider & Horst Weishaupt & Andrea Riedel, 2011. "Welchen Einfluss hat die Wohnumgebung auf die Grundschulwahl von Eltern? Analysen zur Bedeutung von kontextuellen und familiären Merkmalen auf das Wahlverhalten," Schumpeter Discussion Papers sdp11009, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.

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    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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