Panel Paper: Commuting to Educational Opportunity? School Choice Effects of Mass Transit Expansion in Mexico City

Friday, July 14, 2017 : 11:30 AM
Evasion (Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Andrew Dustan, Vanderbilt University and Diana KL Ngo, Occidental College, Department of Economics
School choice policies aim to increase educational access by weakening the link between a student's place of residence and his choice set, but long commutes may constrain families from selecting otherwise-desirable schools. Leveraging a large mass transit expansion in Mexico City as a natural experiment, we find that increased transit accessibility raises demand for elite schools and more distant schools for high-achieving students with highly-educated parents.  We find no effect for other student types or for assigned school outcomes for any type.  Thus, barriers to access vary across socioeconomic groups, and commuting concerns represent one of multiple, interacting factors.