Valuing School Quality Via a School Choice Reform

31 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010

See all articles by Stephen J. Machin

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

Among policymakers, educators and economists there remains a strong, sometimes heated, debate on the extent to which good schools matter. This is seen, for instance, in the strong trend towards establishing accountability systems in education in many countries across the world. In this paper, in line with some recent studies, we value school quality using house prices. We, however, adopt a rather different approach to other work, using a policy experiment regarding pupils' choice to attend high schools to identify the relationship between house prices and school performance. We exploit a change in school choice policy that took place in Oslo county in 1997, where the school authorities opened up the possibility for every pupil to apply to any of the high schools in the county without having to live in the school's catchment area (the rule that applied before 1997). Our estimates show evidence that parents substantially value better performing schools since the sensitivity of housing valuations to school performance falls significantly by over 50% following the school choice reform.

Keywords: house prices, school performance, school reform

JEL Classification: I2

Suggested Citation

Machin, Stephen J. and Salvanes, Kjell G., Valuing School Quality Via a School Choice Reform. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4719. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1545146

Stephen J. Machin (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway
+47 5 595 9315 (Phone)
+47 5 595 9543 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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