Elisabet Olme, School Choice, Admission Rules and Segregation in Primary Schools

Job talk. Elisabet Olme is a PhD student at the Department of Economics at Stockholm University. She will present a paper entitled "Admission Rules and Segregation in Primary Schools".

Photo of Elisabet Olme

Photo: Elisabet Olme.


We study school segregation under different admission rules in a setting with centralized school choice and assignment by deferred acceptance. Using Swedish administrative data on primary school choices, household characteristics and school attributes, we simulate counterfactual student allocations using proximity, lottery and afirmative action to determine priorities to oversubscribed schools. We estimate households' preferences to predict school choices under these three counterfactual priority structures. While school choice is often hailed as a way to cut the ties between residential and school segregation, our results suggest that strong preferences for proximity to the school consolidates this relationship, especially when combined with proximity-based priorities. Admission based on lottery or afirmative action may, however, weaken this link. 18.5 percent of the variance in students' socioeconomic status (SES) can be explained by the school when assignment is based on proximity, but decreases by 8.5 percent (1.6 ppt) with lottery-based priorities and by 20 percent (3.7 ppt) when implementing afirmative action. In welfare terms, the reduced segregation stemming from abandoning proximity-based priorities comes at a low cost: our results suggest that the effects on utility for the average household is small and that almost 90 percent of all children are assigned to a top-three choice under all priority structures.

Read the paper [pdf]

Host: Edwin Leuven

Published Jan. 15, 2019 10:55 AM - Last modified Jan. 15, 2019 10:55 AM