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Distance to Schools and Equal Access in School Choice Systems

Mariana Laverde ()
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Mariana Laverde: Yale University

No 2022-002, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: This paper studies the limits of school choice policies in the presence of residential segregation. Using data from the Boston Public Schools choice system, I show that white prekindergarteners are assigned to higher-achieving schools than minority students, and that cross-race school achievement gaps under choice are no lower than would be generated by a neighborhood assignment rule. To understand why choicebased assignments do not reduce gaps in school achievement, I use data on applicants' rank-order choices to estimate preferences over schools, and consider a series of counterfactual assignments. I find that half of the gap in school achievement between white and Black or Hispanic students is explained by minorities' longer travel distance to high-performing schools. Differences in demand parameters explain a smaller fraction of the gap, while algorithm rules have no effect.

Keywords: Boston Public Schools; residential segregation; school achievement; achievement gaps (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 J15 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dcm, nep-des and nep-ure
Note: MIP
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http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Laverd ... ols-equal-access.pdf First version, January 3, 2022 (application/pdf)

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