School Choice, School Quality and Postsecondary Attainment
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.
This project was funded through grant number R305E50052 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. We would like to thank Lawrence Katz, Susan Dynarski, Brian Jacob and Christopher Jencks for reading early drafts of this paper and for providing essential guidance and feedback. We benefited from the helpful comments of Josh Angrist, Amitabh Chandra, Caroline Hoxby, Brian Kovak, Bridget Long, Erzo Luttmer, Dick Murnane, Seth Richards-Shubik, Lowell Taylor and seminar participants at the NBER Summer Institute, Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, RAND and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) and Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) meetings. Special thanks to Andrew Baxter at CMS and Sarah Cohodes and Eric Taylor at CEPR for help with matching the student files to the NSC. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“School Choice, School Quality and Postsecondary Attainment” (with Tom Kane, Justine Hastings and Doug Staiger). 2014. American Economic Review, 104(3): 991-1014. citation courtesy of