The question of who attends school where has long been in the public eye, nowhere more so than Boston and New York City. School assignment in these districts came to national attention in the 1960s and 70s in the wake of court-mandated busing for racial balance. In Boston and New York today, centralized assignment with district-wide choice allows students to enroll far from home, perhaps enhancing integration. Urban school transportation is extraordinarily costly, however, and the social and educational consequences of this expenditure unclear. The paper presented in this ZEW Research Seminar estimates school distance and travel time effects using an identification strategy that exploits the Boston and New York City school matches. Instrumental variables estimates that exploit centralized assignment show that longer travel times indeed increase student exposure to other racial groups, especially for black students. But the same empirical strategy suggests that more distant enrollment does little to boost student achievement, high school graduation rates, or college enrollment. A shift towards assignment rules favoring walkable schools therefore seems unlikely to affect educational outcomes.


Parag Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA

If you would like to participate and to stay up to date about upcoming presentations, please join our mailing list. You will receive the Zoom link for each talk.

The seminar presentations are scheduled to last 60 minutes: 45 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes for both comments and questions.

We will experiment with various methods for questions: A moderator collects questions during the presentation. Speakers will be encouraged to pause every few slides to allow a gap for questions. The moderator will relay clarification questions or unmute selectively during the talk. Remaining questions will be collected and asked in the discussion period.

Just like with other initiated virtual seminars, these rules are subject to change as we gain experience with how to handle the seminar most efficiently.

The idea for this format was borrowed from the Chamberlain Seminar. Other online seminars can be found at the AEA website.

The Virtual Market Design Seminar is an open online alternative to seminars cancelled due to the COVID-19. Seminars will cover all fields from market design. The seminar presentations are scheduled to last 60 minutes, after 45 minutes of presentation, 15 minutes are for both comments and question.


01.03.2021 | 16:00 - 17:00 (CET)

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