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Working Papers

Distance to Schools and Equal Access in School Choice Systems - under review   [paper]

This paper studies the impact of geography on cross-racial access to schools under school choice systems. Using data from Boston Public Schools, I show that white prekindergarteners are assigned to schools that are rated higher using measures of test-score levels, test-score growth, and race-balanced growth, than Black students; and that cross-race school-rating gaps under choice are no lower than would be generated by a neighborhood assignment rule. I find that longer commutes to high-rated schools reduce access for Black students. Consistent with a more favorable geography; Hispanic students, on the other hand, sort toward high-growth and race-balanced growth schools under choice.

Gains from Reassignment: Evidence from a Two-Sided Teacher Market, with Elton Mykerezi, Aaron Sojourner, and Aradhya Sood [paper]

Although the literature on assignment mechanisms emphasizes the importance of efficiency based on agents' preferences, policymakers may want to achieve different goals. For instance, school districts may want to affect student learning outcomes but must take teacher welfare into account when assigning teachers to students in classrooms and schools. This paper studies both the potential efficiency and equity test-score gains from within-district reassignment of teachers to classrooms using novel data that allows us to observe decisions of both teachers and principals in the teacher internal-transfer process, and test-scores of students from the observed assignments. We jointly model student achievement and teacher and school principal decisions to account for potential selection on test-score gains and to predict teacher effectiveness in unobserved matches. Teachers, but not principals, are averse to assignment based on the teachers' comparative advantage. Estimates from counterfactual assignments of teachers to classrooms imply that, under a constraint not to reduce any retained teacher's welfare, average student test scores could rise by 7% of a standard deviation. Although both high and low achievers would experience average gains under this counterfactual, gains would be larger for high-achieving students.

Selected Work in Progress

Targeting and Efficiency in the Allocation of Childcare Subsidies, with Esperanza Johnson

How much choice subsidy recipients exercise when selecting childcare providers impacts the efficiency of the allocation of childcare seats, as well as the ability of the subsidy system to target those in greatest need. Expanding parental choice also impacts the supply of subsidized care. In this paper, we use data on the universe of childcare subsidy applicants in Massachusetts to study the equilibrium effects of expanding choice to childcare subsidy recipients in the state.

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