NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Richard Van Weelden

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July 2015Elections and Divisiveness: Theory and Evidence
with Elliott Ash, Massimo Morelli: w21422
This paper analyzes the effort allocation choices of incumbent politicians when voters are uncertain about politician preferences. There is a pervasive incentive to "posture" by over-providing effort to pursue divisive policies, even if all voters would strictly prefer to have a consensus policy implemented. As such, the desire of politicians to convince voters that their preferences are aligned with the majority of the electorate can lead them to choose strictly pareto dominated effort allocations. Transparency over the politicians' effort choices can re-enforce the distortions, and for some parameters can be bad both for incentivizing politicians to focus on socially efficient tasks and for allowing voters to select congruent politicians. We take our theoretical results to the data wi...
March 2007Preferences, Information, and Parental Choice Behavior in Public School Choice
with Justine S. Hastings, Jeffrey Weinstein: w12995
The incentives and outcomes generated by public school choice depend to a large degree on parents' choice behavior. There is growing empirical evidence that low-income parents place lower weights on academics when choosing schools, but there is little evidence as to why. We use a field experiment in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School district (CMS) to examine the degree to which information costs impact parental choices and their revealed preferences for academic achievement. We provided simplified information sheets on school average test scores or test scores coupled with estimated odds of admission to students in randomly selected schools along with their CMS school choice forms. We find that receiving simplified information leads to a significant increase in the average test score...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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