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What’s in a name? Expectations, heuristics and choice during a period of radical school reform

Bertoni, Marco and Gibbons, Stephen and Silva, Olmo (2017) What’s in a name? Expectations, heuristics and choice during a period of radical school reform. CEP Discussion Papers, CEPDP1477. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: CEPDP1477

Abstract

Education policy worldwide has sought to incentivize school improvement and facilitate pupil-school matching by introducing reforms that promote autonomy and choice. Understanding the way in which families form preferences during these periods of reform is crucial for evaluating the impact of such policies. We study the effects on choice of a recent shock to the English school system – the academy programme – which gave existing state schools greater autonomy, but provided limited information on possible expected benefits. We use administrative data on school applications for three cohorts of students to estimate whether academy conversion changes schools’ popularity. We find that families – particularly non-poor, White British ones – rank converted schools higher on average. Expected changes in composition, effectiveness and other school policies cannot explain this updating of preferences. Instead, the patterns suggest that families combine the signal of conversion with prior information on quality, popularity and proximity as a heuristic for assessing a school’s expected future performance.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Research centres and groups > Spatial Economics Research Centre
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 09:54
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2017 09:54
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/83611

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