Research Journal of Economics

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The Effects of Place-Based Affirmative Action on Access to Selective High Schools: Unintended Consequences

We look into whether high-achieving pupils from more and less affluent neighborhoods benefit differently from elite Chicago public high schools. The city of Chicago's place-based affirmative action program assigns seats based on academic accomplishment and Socio Economic Level of the surrounding community (SES). We discovered that while these institutions do not enhance overall test scores, pupils are happier about their high school experiences when using Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD). We estimate negative effects on grades and the likelihood of attending a selective college for students from low-SES communities. We show evidence that the detrimental effect of relative achievement ranking is driving these findings for kids from low-SES neighborhoods

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