American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 3 (March 2014)


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School Choice, School Quality, and Postsecondary Attainment

Article Citation

Deming, David J., Justine S. Hastings, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger. 2014. "School Choice, School Quality, and Postsecondary Attainment." American Economic Review, 104(3): 991-1013.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.3.991


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.

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Online Appendix (353.68 KB) | Download Data Set (70.09 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (128.22 KB)


Deming, David J. (Harvard U)
Hastings, Justine S. (Brown U)
Kane, Thomas J. (Harvard U)
Staiger, Douglas O. (Dartmouth College)

JEL Classifications

D44: Auctions
H75: State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions
I21: Analysis of Education
I23: Higher Education; Research Institutions
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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