Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments.


Justine S. Hastings, Jeffrey M. Weinstein

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Hastings, Justine S., Jeffrey M. Weinstein (2008) "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments." Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(4): 1373-1414. doi:10.1162/qjec.2008.123.4.1373
We examine a natural experiment and a field experiment that provided direct information on school test scores to lower-income families in a public school choice plan. Receiving information significantly increases the fraction of parents choosing higher-performing schools. Parents with high-scoring alternatives nearby were more likely to choose non-guaranteed schools with higher test scores. Using random variation from each experiment, we find that attending a higher-scoring school increases student test scores. The results imply that school choice will most effectively increase academic achievement for disadvantaged students when parents have easy access to test score information and good options to choose from.
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