Do Parents Value School Effectiveness?

70 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017

See all articles by Atila Abdulkadiroglu

Atila Abdulkadiroglu

Duke University - Department of Economics

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Jonathan Schellenberg

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Christopher Walters

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

School choice may lead to improvements in school productivity if parents’ choices reward effective schools and punish ineffective ones. This mechanism requires parents to choose schools based on causal effectiveness rather than peer characteristics. We study relationships among parent preferences, peer quality, and causal effects on outcomes for applicants to New York City’s centralized high school assignment mechanism. We use applicants’ rank-ordered choice lists to measure preferences and to construct selection-corrected estimates of treatment effects on test scores, high school graduation, college attendance, and college quality. Parents prefer schools that enroll high-achieving peers, and these schools generate larger improvements in short- and long-run student outcomes. Preferences are unrelated to school effectiveness and academic match quality after controlling for peer quality.

Suggested Citation

Abdulkadiroglu, Atila and Pathak, Parag A. and Schellenberg, Jonathan and Walters, Christopher, Do Parents Value School Effectiveness? (October 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23912. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3049736

Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Jonathan Schellenberg

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

Christopher Walters

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

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