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School Choice, School Quality and Postsecondary Attainment

Outcomes, Quality, School Choice

David J. Deming, Justine S. Hastings, Thomas J. Kane, Douglas O. Staiger

National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series

Working Paper 17438

September 2011

Abstract: We study the impact of a public school choice lottery in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools on college enrollment and degree completion. We find a significant overall increase in college attainment among lottery winners who attend their first choice school. Using rich administrative data on peers, teachers, course offerings and other inputs, we show that the impacts of choice are strongly predicted by gains on several measures of school quality. Gains in attainment are concentrated among girls. Girls respond to attending a better school with higher grades and increases in college-preparatory course-taking, while boys do not.

The working paper can be accessed here.

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