Public School Quality Valuation Over the Business Cycle
38 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2016 Last revised: 10 Dec 2021
Date Written: September 2016
Over the years 2000 to 2013, the Los Angeles real estate market featured a boom, a bust, and then another boom. We use this variation to test how the hedonic valuation of school quality varies over the business cycle. Following Black (1999), we exploit a regression discontinuity design at elementary school attendance boundaries to test for how the implicit price of school quality changes. We find that the capitalization of school quality is counter-cyclical. While good schools always command a price premium, this premium grows during the bust. Possible mechanisms for these findings include consumers "trading down" from private to public schools during contractions as well as the effects of reduced household mobility during downturns in raising the value of the public school option.
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