NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Richard Van Weelden

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Working Papers

March 2007Preferences, Information, and Parental Choice Behavior in Public School Choice
with Justine S. Hastings, Richard Van Weelden, 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...

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