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What do parents value in education? An empirical investigation of parents' revealed preferences for teachers

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Jacob, Brian, and Lars L. Lefgren. 2007. "What do parents value in education? An empirical investigation of parents' revealed preferences for teachers." Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(4): 1603-1637.

This paper examines revealed preferences of parents for their children's education, using parent requests for individual elementary school teachers and information on teacher attributes, including principal reports of teacher characteristics that are typically unobservable. On average, parents strongly prefer teachers whom principals describe as good at promoting student satisfaction, though they also value teacher ability to raise academic achievement. These aggregate effects mask striking differences across schools. Families in higher poverty schools strongly value student achievement and appear indifferent to the principal's report of a teacher's ability to promote student satisfaction. The results are reversed for families in wealthier schools.

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