School Quality, Neighborhoods and Housing Prices: The Impacts of School Desegregation
56 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2005 Last revised: 5 Jul 2010
Date Written: May 2005
We study the relationship between school characteristics and housing prices in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina between 1994 and 2001. During this period, the school district was operating under a court-imposed desegregation order and redrew a number of school boundaries. We use two different sources of variation to disentangle the effect of schools and other neighborhood characteristics: differences in housing prices along assignment zone boundaries and changes in housing prices following the change in school assignments. We find systematic differences in house prices along school boundaries, although the impact of schools is only one-quarter as large as the naive cross-sectional estimates would imply. Moreover, house prices seem to react to changes in school assignments. Part of the impact of school assignments is mediated by subsequent changes in the characteristics of the population living in the school zone.
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