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Working Paper, No. 2016-17, 2016
The Role of Selective High Schools in Equalizing Educational Outcomes: Using Place-Based Affirmative Action to Estimate Heterogeneous Effects by Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status (Revised September 2017)

We investigate whether elite Chicago public high schools differentially benefit high-achieving students from more and less affluent neighborhoods. Seats are allocated based on prior achievement and neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES). Using regression discontinuity design, we find no effects on traditional academic outcomes and generally positive effects on student experiences for all students. For students from low-SES neighborhoods, we estimate significant negative effects on relative rank in high school, grades, and the probability of attending a selective college. Further evidence suggests these effects may be a consequence of being lower-achieving on average relative to classmates admitted from higher SES neighborhoods.



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