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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Public School Choice and Student Outcomes: Choices, Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in a School Choice Lottery

Presenter:
Thomas Kane, Harvard and NBER

Abstract: We use data from a public school choice lottery to estimate the effect of attending a 1st choice school on academic outcomes. On average, students do not have significant gain in test scores as a result of attending their first choice school. This is consistent with the results from prior studies of school choice lotteries and voucher experiments. However, using parental choices, we also estimate the implicit weight families attached to school test scores when choosing a school. (For instance, when a family was willing to bypass some lower test score schools to attend a slightly higher test score school far away, they provided us with information on the importance of test scores in their choice.) We find that students who placed high value on test scores in their choice experienced significant gains in test scores. Moreover, among those attaching low weights to school test scores, some subgroups experienced statistically significant declines in student performance.

The work has resulted in the following NBER working papers:

w12145
Apr 2006
Justine S. Hastings
Thomas J. Kane
Douglas O. Staiger
Preferences and Heterogeneous Treatment
Effects in a Public School Choice Lottery

(CH ED PE IO)
w11805
Nov 2005
Justine S. Hastings
Thomas J. Kane
Douglas O. Staiger
Parental Preferences and School Competition:
Evidence from a Public School Choice Program

(CH ED PE IO)
w11794
Nov 2005
Justine S. Hastings
Thomas J. Kane
Douglas O. Staiger
Jeffrey M. Weinstein
Economic Outcomes and the Decision to
Vote: The Effect of Randomized
School Admissions on Voter Participation

(CH ED LS PE IO POL)