NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Jeffrey M. Weinstein

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

November 2007Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments
with Justine S. Hastings: w13623
We analyze two experiments that provided direct information on school test scores to lower-income families in a public school choice plan. We find that 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 evidence 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 have good options to choose from.
April 2007No Child Left Behind: Estimating the Impact on Choices and Student Outcomes
with Justine S. Hastings: w13009
Several recent education reform measures, including the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), couple school choice with accountability measures to allow parents of children in under-performing schools the opportunity to choose higher-performing schools. We use the introduction of NCLB in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District to determine if the choice component had an impact on the schools parents chose and if those changed choices led to academic gains. We find that 16% of parents responded to NCLB notification by choosing schools that had on average 1 standard deviation higher average test scores than their current NCLB school. We then use the lottery assignment of students to chosen schools to test if changed choices led to improved academic outcomes. On average, lottery winners ...
March 2007Preferences, Information, and Parental Choice Behavior in Public School Choice
with Justine S. Hastings, Richard Van Weelden: 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...
November 2005The Effect of Randomized School Admissions on Voter Participation
with Justine S. Hastings, Thomas J. Kane, Douglas O. Staiger: w11794
There is little causal evidence on the effect of economic and policy outcomes on voting behavior. This paper uses randomized outcomes from a school choice lottery to examine if lottery outcomes affect voting behavior in a school board election. We show that losing the lottery has no significant impact on overall voting behavior; however, among white families, those with above median income and prior voting history, lottery losers were significantly more likely to vote than lottery winners. Using propensity score methods, we compare the voting of lottery participants to similar families who did not participate in the lottery. We find that losing the school choice lottery caused an increase in voter turnout among whites, while winning the lottery had no effect relative to non-participants. ...

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