Market Signals: Evidence on the Determinants and Consequences of School Choice from a Citywide Lottery (Journal Article)
The Walton Family Foundation
The authors estimate school-choice preferences revealed by the rank-ordered lists submitted by more than 22,000 applicants to a citywide lottery for more than 200 traditional and charter public schools in Washington, D.C. The results confirm previously reported findings that commuting distance, school demographics, and academic indicators play important roles in school choice and that there is considerable heterogeneity of preferences. Higher and lower income choosers respond to academic quality measures, but respond to different indicators of quality. Simulations suggest segregation by race and income would be reduced and enrollment in high-performing schools increased if policymakers were to relax school capacity constraints in individual campuses. The simulations also suggest that removing the lowest performing schools as choice options could further reduce segregation and increase enrollment in high-performing schools.