What Do Parents Value in Education? An Empirical Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers

64 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2005

See all articles by Brian Jacob

Brian Jacob

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lars John Lefgren

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

This paper examines revealed parent preferences for their children's education using a unique data set that includes the number of parent requests for individual elementary school teachers along with information on teacher attributes including principal reports of teacher characteristics that are typically unobservable. We find that, on average, parents strongly prefer teachers that principals describe as good at promoting student satisfaction and place relatively less value on a teacher's ability to raise standardized math or reading achievement. These aggregate effects, however, mask striking differences across family demographics. Families in higher poverty schools strongly value student achievement and are essentially indifferent to the principal's report of a teacher's ability to promote student satisfaction. The results are reversed for families in higher-income schools.

Suggested Citation

Jacob, Brian and Lefgren, Lars John, What Do Parents Value in Education? An Empirical Investigation of Parents' Revealed Preferences for Teachers (July 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11494. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=762772

Brian Jacob (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-7968 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lars John Lefgren

Brigham Young University - Department of Economics ( email )

130 Faculty Office Bldg.
Provo, UT 84602-2363
United States

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