The Short and Long-Run Effects of Attending the Schools that Parents Prefer

50 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018

See all articles by Diether W. Beuermann

Diether W. Beuermann

University of Maryland - College Park; Durham Business School; Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); Universidad de Lima - Facultad de Economia

C. Kirabo Jackson

Northwestern University

Date Written: August 2018


Using meta-analysis we find that, on average, sought-after schools do not improve student test scores. A potential explanation for this result is that parents value schools that improve outcomes not well-measured by test scores. We explore this notion using both administrative and survey data from Barbados. Using a regression discontinuity design, preferred schools have better peers but do not improve short-run test scores. Consistent with the proposed explanation, the same students at the same schools have more post-secondary school completion and improved adult well-being (based on an index of educational attainment, occupational rank, earnings, and health). These long-run benefits are larger for females who also experience reduced teen motherhood. Mechanisms are explored.

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Suggested Citation

Beuermann, Diether Wolfgang and Kirabo Jackson, C., The Short and Long-Run Effects of Attending the Schools that Parents Prefer (August 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24920. Available at SSRN:

Diether Wolfgang Beuermann (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
240-838-9376 (Phone)


Durham Business School ( email )

Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3LB
United Kingdom


Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States
202-623-2172 (Phone)


Universidad de Lima - Facultad de Economia ( email )

Av. Javier Prado Este s/n
Lima, Lima 33


C. Kirabo Jackson

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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