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School Markets: The Impact of Information Approximating Schools' Effectiveness

  • Alejandra Mizala
  • Miguel Urquiola

The impact of competition on academic outcomes is likely to depend on whether parents are informed about schools' effectiveness or valued added (which may or may not be correlated with absolute measures of their quality), and on whether this information influences their school choices, thereby affecting schools' market outcomes. To explore these issues, this paper considers Chile's SNED program, which seeks to identify effective schools, selecting them from within "homogeneous groups" of arguably comparable institutions. Its results are widely disseminated, and the information it generates is quite different from that conveyed by a simple test-based ranking of schools (which in Chile, turns out to largely resemble a ranking based on socioeconomic status). We rely on a sharp regression discontinuity to estimate the effect that being identified as a SNED winner has on schools' enrollment, tuition levels, and socioeconomic composition. Through five applications of the program, we find no consistent evidence that winning a SNED award affects these outcomes. This suggests that information on school effectiveness -- at least as it is calculated and delivered by the SNED -- might not much affect school markets.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13676.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13676.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Publication status: published as Mizala, Alejandra & Urquiola, Miguel, 2013. "School markets: The impact of information approximating schools' effectiveness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 313-335.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13676
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  1. Dante Contreras & Tomás Rau, 2012. "Tournament Incentives for Teachers: Evidence from a Scaled-Up Intervention in Chile," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 219 - 246.
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  8. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  9. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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  12. Mizala, Alejandra & Romaguera, Pilar & Urquiola, Miguel, 2007. "Socioeconomic status or noise? Tradeoffs in the generation of school quality information," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 61-75, September.
  13. Brunner, Eric & Sonstelie, Jon & Thayer, Mark, 2001. "Capitalization and the Voucher: An Analysis of Precinct Returns from California's Proposition 174," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 517-536, November.
  14. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1237-1258, September.
  15. 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.
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  17. 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.
  18. W. Bentley MacLeod & Miguel Urquiola, 2009. "Anti-Lemons: School Reputation and Educational Quality," NBER Working Papers 15112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Brian A. Jacob, 2007. "Test-Based Accountability and Student Achievement: An Investigation of Differential Performance on NAEP and State Assessments," NBER Working Papers 12817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Derek Neal & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Left Behind By Design: Proficiency Counts and Test-Based Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Urquiola, Miguel, 2006. "The effects of generalized school choice on achievement and stratification: Evidence from Chile's voucher program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1477-1503, September.
  22. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2007. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," NBER Working Papers 13623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. Justin McCrary, 2007. "Manipulation of the Running Variable in the Regression Discontinuity Design: A Density Test," NBER Technical Working Papers 0334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Patrick Bayer & Robert McMillan, 2005. "Racial Sorting and Neighborhood Quality," NBER Working Papers 11813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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