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Cullen, Julie Berry, Brian Jacob, and Steven Levitt. 2006. "The effect of school choice on participants: Evidence from randomized lotteries." Econometrica, 74(5): 1191-1230.
School choice has become an increasingly prominent strategy for enhancing academic achievement. To evaluate the impact on participants, we exploit randomized lotteries that determine high school admission in the Chicago Public Schools. Compared to those students who lose lotteries, students who win attend high schools that are better in a number of dimensions, including peer achievement and attainment levels. Nonetheless, we find little evidence that winning a lottery provides any systematic benefit across a wide variety of traditional academic measures. Lottery winners do, however, experience improvements on a subset of nontraditional outcome measures, such as self-reported disciplinary incidents and arrest rates.