Are More Options Always a Good Thing for Citizens? An Experimental Study of School Choice, Performance and Satisfaction
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
To evaluate these hypotheses we conduct a survey experiment in which we vary choice sets composed of short descriptions of hypothetical schools presented to respondents, including a limited choice set, a large choice set, and a no-choice control condition. We subsequently vary the level of reported performance of the school (presenting either high or low performance report cards) and then measure perceptions of performance and overall satisfaction with the school. The aim is to mimic the often limited information and actual structure of choice typically presented to parents in jurisdictions offering school choice. We will run our experiment on an internet sample of approximately 800 US citizens that is broadly representative of the general population, with data collection occurring in July 2015.
Analytically, we will test whether having choice leads to more satisfaction, when reported performance is high, and less satisfaction when reported performance is low. In addition, we will examine whether the number of choices presented to respondents influences subsequent evaluations of performance and satisfaction judgments. We expect our findings to have implications for theory of choice in public services and the behavioural consequences for citizens.