Parental Preference, Heterogeneous Effects of School Choice on Student Outcomes, and Peer Effects under a Preference-based Randomization: Evidence from the Middle School Education Reform in Beijing’s Eastern City District
Fang Lai

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



New York University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Understanding the controversies surrounding school choice cannot be isolated from a thorough examination of parental preferences and abilities in school choice and important components of the effects of school choice such as peer effects resulting from school choice. Few existing datasets are adequate for such all-sided studies. The proposed project benefits from a unique natural experiment introduced by the education reform in Beijing, where students were randomly assigned to different middle schools conditioning on their school applications. Using a dataset containing unusually rich information of 7000 students and their friends entering middle schools in Beijing’s Eastern City District in 1999, this project examines patterns and heterogeneities of parental school choice and the resulting socioeconomic and academic stratification, identifies via random assignment both the net short-term and long-run effects of entering first-choice school on student academic and nonacademic outcomes and how these are distributed across different students. It also examines the net and distributional aspects of peer effects associated with school choice using students’ actual social peers and with careful examination of the peer group formation. Conclusions of this project will provide a more comprehensive and in-depth perspective of the consequences of school choice concerning the quality and equity of education.
About Fang Lai

Pin It on Pinterest