Unequal Assignments to Public Schools and the Limits of Schools Choice [link]
This paper studies the limits of school choice policies in the presence of residential sorting. Using data from the Boston Public Schools choice system, I show that white pre-kindergarteners are assigned to higher-achieving schools than minority students, and that cross-race school achievement gaps under choice are no lower than would be generated by a neighborhood assignment rule. To understand why choice-based assignments do not reduce gaps in school achievement, I use rich data on applicants' rank-order choices to estimate their preferences over schools and consider a series of counterfactual assignments. I find that between 60% and 70% of the gap in school achievement between black and Hispanic students relative to white students is explained by travel costs to high performing schools. Differences in preferences for schools explain about 30% of the gap, while algorithm rules have no significant effect.
Work in Progress
School District Wage Structure and Teacher Mobility: Assessing Teacher Preferences from Inter-School Mobility in Minnesota, with Aaron Sojourner and Aradhya Sood
Civilian Collaboration and Violence in Civil Wars, with Austin Wright