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What parents want: school preferences and school choice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1289
Number of pages28
JournalEconomic Journal
Early online date21 Aug 2014
DateE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2014
DatePublished (current) - 1 Sep 2015


We investigate parents’ preferences for school attributes in a unique dataset of survey, administrative, census and spatial data. Using a conditional logit, incorporating characteristics of households, schools, and home-school distance, we show that most families have strong preferences for schools’ academic performance. Parents also value schools’ socio-economic composition and distance, which may limit the potential of school choice to improve academic standards. Most of the variation in preferences for school quality across socio-economic groups arises from differences in the quality of accessible schools rather than differences in parents’ preferences, although more advantaged parents have stronger preferences for academic performance.



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