The Effects of Publicizing School Climate Information on School and Neighborhood Choice
Rene Armando Crespin

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Cornell University

Primary Discipline

Recently, an increasing number of states, school districts, colleges, and universities have begun to focus on the social, learning, and working conditions experienced by students, families, and teachers as a component for school improvement—making this one of the biggest current issues in education policy. Although a growing number of educational institutions seem to value their institutional climate, causal research on how much stakeholders value this is limited. In this project, I study how an initial public release of school climate ratings in Chicago, Illinois affected families’ willingness to pay for homes zoned to better-climate schools, and how student and teacher sorting patterns reacted to the information. I use two natural experiments in a difference-in-differences framework and in a regression discontinuity design to isolate the causal effects of school climate information. Furthermore, I discuss the heterogeneity of effects by race, ethnicity, income, and neighborhood/school characteristics, as well as the potential mechanisms of my findings. This research has strong implications on school choice including both school and neighborhood sorting, which have potential impacts on districts’ tax bases.
About Rene Armando Crespin
Rene Crespin is an applied microeconomist and Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University. His research applies econometric methods to examine topics at the intersection of education, immigration, and housing. Rene’s dissertation focuses on the causal effects of education and immigration policies on residential and school choices and access. In addition to drawing from relevant theoretical and empirical research, Rene’s work is inspired by his own experiences as the son of immigrants growing up in the South Side of Chicago. During his academic career, Rene has also worked to improve diversity in academia through various initiatives. He is a co-founder of Diversity in Cornell Economics (DICE) and he was a teaching fellow with the American Economic Association’s Summer Program (AEASP), which aim to prepare undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds for doctoral programs in economics and related fields. Prior to attending Cornell, Rene was a research assistant at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Before that, he was a research analyst at the University of Chicago’s Consortium on School Research. Rene graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a M.S. in Applied Statistics and from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Economics.

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