Full Circle: Assessing the Changing Link Between Education and Housing
Cora Wigger

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Northwestern University

Primary Discipline

My work examines how policies change the persistent relationship between education and housing. In this study, I focus on a popular and ever-changing topic: school choice. I examine how replacing neighborhood schools with a system of school choice changes the demographics and housing costs of neighborhoods. I use a quantitative research design exploiting the multi-year rollout of a policy in Denver, Colorado that decoupled homes from schools by creating a set of ``School Enrollment Zones`` in place of neighborhood school boundaries. Students residing in Zones were no longer guaranteed admission to their local neighborhood school and were instead directed to rank their choices from a bundle of nearby schools. Most studies examining the effect of school choice on housing markets and neighborhood demographics have examined policies that offer school choice as a means for families to opt out of their residentially assigned school. My study is unique in that it empirically examines the effects of school choice on its own, absent a residential assignment mechanism. Results of my study will help educational researchers and policymakers alike to understand similar school choice policies and to gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms by which school choice operates in all contexts.
About Cora Wigger
Cora Wigger is a PhD Candidate in Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the intersection of education and housing and currently centers on issues of school finance and student assignment/school choice. She primarily uses quasi-experimental quantitative methods to identify the effects of policy and economic shifts on individual, group, and market outcomes. Her work has been supported by Northwestern University's Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (funded by the Institute for Education Sciences) and Institute for Policy Research. Prior to beginning a PhD, Cora worked in a variety of non-profit and government settings, including a Domestic Violence service agency in Louisville, Kentucky and the Tennessee Department of Education. She has previously worked on research projects in conjunction with public school districts in Evanston (IL), Louisville (KY), and Nashville (TN). Cora holds a Master's in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College and a BA in International Economics from the College of Wooster.

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