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2010 Documento de Trabajo #269

Parental decisions in a choice based school system: Analyzing the transition between primary and secondary school

We study parental choice focusing on the transition between primary and secondary school, taking advantage of the fact that most Chilean students have to switch school at the end of the 8th grade, the last year of primary school. Using a recursive probit model we estimate jointly the probability of attending private voucher versus public school, taking explicitly into account the endogeneity of the school choice at primary level. We find that parents caring more about school academic performance are more likely to have their children enrolled in public schools at the secondary school level, while parents taking into account peers’ socioeconomic background and school values are more likely to select voucher schools. We also show that while private voucher schools “cream skim” the best students from the socioeconomic standpoint, this does not necessarily hold for high ability students.

JEL classification: I2.

Mattia Makovec
Alejandra Mizala
Andrés Barrera

Keywords: Chile., parental choice, primary-secondary school transition