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An Economic Analysis of Parental Choice of Primary School in England Centre for Market and Public Organisation Burgess, Greaves, Vignoles, Wilson June 2009 Introduction: School Choice in England Education Reform Act of 1988

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an economic analysis of parental choice of primary school in england

An Economic Analysis of Parental Choice of Primary School in England

Centre for Market and Public Organisation

Burgess, Greaves, Vignoles, Wilson

June 2009

introduction school choice in england
Introduction: School Choice in England
  • Education Reform Act of 1988
    • school choice mechanism by which parents can choose the school their child attends.
  • Funding follows the pupil.
    • Competitive pressure for schools to exert greater effort to improve their academic achievement levels.
  • Limited market
    • No indefinite expansion of good schools
    • Failing schools supported with additional resources
    • Not necessarily the case that academic standards are key determinant of school choice by parents
introduction school choice in england3
Introduction: School Choice in England
  • Parents’ preferences for schools matter for outcomes of “school choice”
    • In theory, schools compete according to parents’ preferences
    • This may lead to social stratification under some conditions
  • What constraints do parents face in school choice?
    • Small catchment areas for the best schools?
    • Transport?
    • Information?
introduction school choice in england4
Introduction: School Choice in England
  • We look at parents’ stated and revealed preferences for schools
    • Are stated and revealed preferences consistent?
    • What constraints matter in parents’ decisions?
literature
Literature
  • Markets in education and the role of school choice
      • Rothstein, 2005, Hoxby, 2005
  • Impact of competition minimal in England
      • Lavy, 2006, Gibbons et al., 2006, Burgess and Slater, 2006; Allen and Vignoles, 2009
      • For contrary early evidence see Bradley, Johnes and Millington, 2001
  • Competition potentially leads to greater sorting but no evidence it increased in UK post 1988
      • Söderström and Uusitalo, 2004, Burgess et al, 2006; Allen and Vignoles, 2007
literature6
Literature
  • Stated parental preferences vary by socio-economic background and ethnicity
      • Ball 2003; Gerwitz et al 1995; Hastings et al., 2005; Weekes-Bernard 2007; Reay, 2004; Butler and Robson 2003; West and Pennell 1999 and Coldon and Boulton 1991
  • BUT Stated preferences may differ from their true preferences
slide7
Data
  • Combine survey and administrative data
    • Millennium Cohort Study (MCS)
    • Pupil Level Annual Schools Census (PLASC)
    • EduBase
  • This is an excellent combination. We have:
    • Detailed family level survey responses and background controls
    • Detailed administrative information on all primary schools in England
    • We essentially have the local market/choice set
slide8
Data
  • MCS provides information on:
    • Up to 3 nominated schools on preference form (LA)
    • Other “truly preferred” schools not on form
    • Non-nominated schools that are feasible (more on this later)
    • Stated reasons for preferences (all; most important)
    • Rich set of controls for families
    • Rich set of data on all schools
    • Actual school attended
slide9
Data
  • MCS: Sample longitudinal survey
    • Random sample of electoral wards
    • Born 1st September 2000 – 31st August 2001
    • Over-sampled from deprived areas and areas with over 30% black or Asian families
  • Wave 3 – children are aged 5, primary school age
  • We look at England only
  • Final sample is 9,468 children
stated preferences problems
Stated Preferences: Problems
  • Actual behaviour (or revealed preference) is not observed
  • Revealed and stated preferences may diverge:
    • Only “socially desirable” responses may be given (Jacob and Lefgren, 2007)
    • Stated preferences do not require parents to make realistic trade-offs
    • Parents may conflate preferences:
      • Proximity (did they move to a desirable catchment area first?)
      • Older siblings (what was the initial choice based on?)
revealed preferences
Revealed Preferences
  • Use information from MCS wave 3
  • What school was put as the ‘first preference’ on the LA application form?
  • Look at characteristics of this school, in relation to other schools in the ‘feasible choice set’
  • What ‘type’ of school is chosen?

→ need to define feasible choice set

feasible choice set
Feasible choice set
  • All schools for which:
    • The pupil lives within 3km of the school
    • The pupil lives in the same LA as the school
    • Ignores geography within this boundary
feasible choice set15
Feasible choice set
  • All schools for which
    • The pupil lives within the schools’ catchment area, defined by the straight line distance in which 80% of pupils live
      • The pupil lives within 20km of the school
      • The pupil lives in the same LA as the school
  • Useful to compare results from each
type of school
‘Type’ of school
  • 8 ‘types’ of school
  • Defined relative to the median in the feasible choice set
    • Above/below median %FSM
    • Above/below median average KS2 score
    • Faith/non-faith
  • So we have:
    • ‘Low FSM, high scoring, non-faith’ schools
    • ‘High FSM, low scoring non-faith’ schools….
slide17

Not all pupils have each type of school in their feasible choice set but most have common types

stated vs revealed
Stated vs. Revealed
  • But different proportion of schools chosen…
stated vs revealed19
Stated vs. Revealed
  • Interesting similarities/differences
    • Parents that state academic standards are more likely to choose the ‘rich, high scoring non-faith’ school
    • Parents that state proximity are more likely to choose the ‘poor, low scoring non-faith’ school
    • Parents who claim to want high academic standards are much more likely to choose rich high scoring schools than poor high scoring schools.
    • Parents that state religious grounds are much more likely to choose the ‘rich, high scoring faith’ school but much less likely to choose the ‘poor, high scoring faith’ school than the ‘rich, high scoring faith’ school
      • So more than religious considerations
revealed preferences model
Revealed preferences: Model
  • What school ‘type’ is chosen?
    • Discrete choice modelling
    • Random utility framework
  • How do school characteristics affect this choice?
  • How do parental characteristics affect this choice?
revealed preferences model21
Revealed preferences: Model
  • We use a conditional/multinomial logit:
  • Where schools indexed s=1,…,n , x varying characteristics of the schools, w represent the alternative invariant characteristics of the parent.
revealed preferences specification
Revealed preferences: specification
  • What family characteristics affect the ‘type’ of school chosen?
    • Parents’ SES
    • Parents’ education
    • Parents’ religion
    • Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) of area
    • Child characteristics
revealed preferences specification23
Revealed preferences: specification
  • What school characteristics affect the ‘type’ of school chosen?
    • % of pupils with FSM
    • % of pupils with SEN
    • % of pupils with EAL
    • % of pupils that are White British
    • Proportion of school that achieves all level 5 (highest level) at KS2
    • Rank of distance from the home (closest, 2nd closest…, furthest)
revealed preferences role of parental characteristics
Revealed preferences: Role of Parental Characteristics

1. Rich, low scoring non-faith school

2. Rich, high scoring non-faith school

3. Poor, low scoring non-faith school

4. Poor, high scoring non-faith school

5. Rich, low scoring faith school

6. Rich, high scoring faith school

revealed preferences role of parental characteristics27
Revealed preferences: Role of Parental Characteristics

1. Rich, low scoring non-faith school

2. Rich, high scoring non-faith school

3. Poor, low scoring non-faith school

4. Poor, high scoring non-faith school

5. Rich, low scoring faith school

6. Rich, high scoring faith school

importance of distance feasible choice
Importance of distance/feasible choice

1. Rich, low scoring non-faith school

2. Rich, high scoring non-faith school

3. Poor, low scoring non-faith school

4. Poor, high scoring non-faith school

5. Rich, low scoring faith school

6. Rich, high scoring faith school

ongoing work
Ongoing work
  • A more accurate definition of catchment areas
  • Catchment area in which 80% of pupils live
  • Define the feasible choice set as all schools for which the pupil lives inside the catchment area
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Stated and revealed preferences vary
  • Parents’ socio-economic status and education do play a role in their preferences
    • rich and poor do not have same preferences for school factors
  • High scoring advantaged schools are more likely to be ‘chosen’ by high SES individuals
    • Limit market forces in some areas
    • Increase social sorting
conclusions34
Conclusions
  • Geography is crucial
    • are we really capturing genuine choice or constrained choice
  • We know that school de facto catchment areas have a big effect on the feasible choice set
    • Disproportionately for low SES families

 more work needed